Teacher’s Comments: Nutritionally sound, but could be tastier.
One thing I’ve noticed while attending PGA Tour events is that many pro golfers are grazers. They eat throughout a round, as their caddy pulls out one snack or another from the bag. Often it’s a piece of fruit, but other times it’s an unidentifiable candy or protein bar. The pros don’t generally eat a lot—just a bite or two before moving on with their round. It’s pretty obvious that what they’re doing is keeping their glycemic levels steady, making sure they don’t have a sugar crash when they’re trying to steady a putt.
Keeping up the energy levels also becomes an issue for us mere golfing mortals as rounds of golf increasingly become five hour affairs. I expend a lot of energy walking most of my rounds, but even when riding in a cart, I find that two thirds of the way through a round, I need something to eat.
Golf course food, however, isn’t exactly nutritionally sound, being composed primarily of hot dogs, candy bars, chips and beer. And except on courses with exceptionally well stocked beverage carts, it’s generally only available at the turn.
So in recent years, I too have stocked my bag with an apple or a banana. I’ve also tried a few Clif and other energy bars. Food high in protein and complex carbohydrates are my best options because they don’t cause an immediate sugar hit (and resulting crash), but rather, release their energy over a longer period of time.
The Par Bar is a product from Sun Valley Bar that’s supposed to be specially formulated for golfers. It contains all natural ingredients, eschews processed sugars and emphasizes complex carbohydrates. It’s rated as quite low on the glycemic index and contains Omega-3 oils, which are supposed to reduce inflammation. Taken together, these are supposed to provide sustained energy and avoid the spike-and-crash cycle which can potentially ruin a round.
Here’s the ingredient list from the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip: organic oats, brown rice syrup, peanut butter (peanuts, salt), semi-sweet chocolate (organic evaporated cane juice, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, ground vanilla beans), organic maple syrup, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, apples, brown rice flour, organic ground flaxseed, organic sesame seeds, soy protein, choline-enriched soy lecithin.
That’s a healthy mix. The Par Bars all have 28 – 29 carbs and 6-7 grams of protein. That’s more carbs than I like to consume, but Mrs. Golfblogger assures me that they’re good carbs.
The Par Bar was created by Sarah Walker, a sports nutritionist and registered dietitian, who also has created the parent company’s Sun Valley Bars.
The Par Bar comes in four flavors: Cranberry Almond, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chocolate Chip and Goji Lemon. Of the four, I liked the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip best. It was a little dry and chewy, but all of those types of bars tend to be so. The Chocolate Chocolate Chip ranked second on my list, while the Cranberry Almond and Goji Lemon just weren’t my cup of tea. Mrs. GolfBlogger shared the bars with me and commented that she didn’t like the Cranberry Almond at all on first taste, but came to like it by the end.
In taste and texture, I found them to be a lot like the more-well-known Clif Bars. They were, however, smaller, and less filling. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You don’t want to feel stuffed when you’re playing. Sometimes the Clif Bars leave me feeling like I’ve got a rock in my stomach.
If you see the Par Bar on the shelves of your grocery store or pro shop (I have no idea where they’re being sold), I suggest you pick up a couple. They are, at the very least, a huge step up nutritionally from the hot dog and beer diet.