How Do Bars Measure Up?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005; 10:50 AM

You know them best as cereals. But these days, you can still enjoy All-Bran, Honey Nut Cheerios, Honey Bunches of Oats, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Special K, Nutri-Grain, Cocoa Puffs, Raisin Bran and Trix without a bowl, a spoon or pouring any milk. Learn how the cereal bar versions of these well-known products fared in a recent taste test conducted by the Lean Plate Club and how they stack up nutritionally.

Okay, so do you ever eat your breakfast on the run rather than as a sit-down meal? Tell us your experiences with cereal bars in today's Lean Plate Club Web chat from 1 to 2 p.m. EDT. Can't join live? No problem. Just leave your comments ahead of time. Or e-mail me anytime at

Nutrition Bites

The obesity epidemic continues to rage, but it turns out that Ruby Tuesday and some of the restaurants that once touted their low-calorie options are now offerning more high-calorie fare. So why the switch? The answer may surprise you.

Second Helpings

Time ran out before this message could be posted in a chat earlier this summer.

Western, Pa.: I loved your protein column. I never realized the appetite-reducing qualities of protein until I had gestational diabetes. When I was first diagnosed, I thought I would starve on the little amount of breakfast food I was "prescribed." However, the diabetic diet made me realize I was, in fact, a carb junkie. My breakfasts used to be heavy in carbs and low in protein. Last year, I went back on my gestational diabetes because I realized I had returned to some unhealthy habits. I am happy to say it assisted me in losing 18 pounds, which was my goal. And, I've stuck to the eating plan, because with the balance of protein/carbs/healthy fats I'm never hungry.

I make sure to have a good breakfast every morning. I have an egg, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, natural peanut butter, or if I'm on the run, a protein-containing snack bar, to make sure my breakfast is balanced. If I skip the protein and have only pancakes or toast and jelly, I'm hungry an hour later.

I'm glad that my children have learned the importance of a balanced breakfast too. I know that since I've been eating a better breakfast during the past year, I've been more productive in the mornings at work. And, my children have better mornings at school and preschool on the days they eat a good breakfast. It's really a shame that I wouldn't have learned any of this had it not been for the gestational diabetes.

Sally Squires: Or as the familiar saying goes, it was a blessing in disguise! Congratulations on what you have accomplished--and for setting a wonderful example for your children. And in case you missed it, check out this story about the rise of "double diabetes" in obese children. This disease is a combination of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

What's for Dinner Tonight?

Gazpacho With Pesto and Shrimp is just the thing to take the heat off the late days of summer. And it's hard to beat because it's ready in just 35 minutes and is infused with the wonderful flavors of basil and garlic. Because it clocks in at just 166 calories per serving, you may want it as a first course. Or add a hearty salad and a slice of whole wheat bread to make it a complete meal.

Also ready in just 35 minutes is Fennel and Chicken Flatbread from Eating Well magazine. The nutritional bonus? It's rich in vitamin C, A and calcium.

Got a few more minutes? Then take advantage of all the zucchini now in season with this recipe for a Zucchini-Ricotta Frittata With Warm Tomato Garnish from Deborah Madison, who is best known for her healthy and great-tasting vegetarian fare.

And don't miss the recipes from both the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Healthy Beat cookbook and the Five a Day program of the National Cancer Institute featured in last week's Food section. Also learn how to tweak the recipes for more flavor while still retaining their healthy attributes.

What do Early Girl, Cherokee Purple and Aunt Ruby have in common? They're just some of the heirloom tomatoes now hitting selected markets during the salad days of summer.

What heirloom produce have you discovered? Do you grow your own or buy it commercially? Tell us in today's Lean Plate Club Web chat from 1 to 2 p.m. EST. Or just share your sources of healthy, great tasting recipes. Can't join live? No problem. Send in your comments, tips or recipes ahead of time.

Joy of Motion

Who needs to travel to the gym? These days you can now create one at home. That's what Lean Plate Club Successful Loser Richard Morris has done, and as our Real Estate section reports, he's not alone. A home gym is one of the latest accoutrements to the well-equipped home.

You may have heard about former railway lines being converted to biking and hiking trails. Now discover how you can cruise former turnpikes that will take you well off the beaten path.

Or perhaps you prefer to get your workout on the links. Swing will help you find golf courses in the Washington area, while Golf magazine helps you search for courses throughout the country.

The daily fitness tip can help you hit long and straight, while yoga for golfers may help you perform better at the tees, fairways and greens.

And for those who wonder how to keep their resting metabolic rate revved even while they age, Rachel Johnson, dean of the University of Vermont's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has some tips for you, courtesy of Eating Well magazine.

How are you moving more these days? Tell us in today's Lean Plate Club Web chat from 1 to 2 p.m. Can't join live? No problem. Leave your comments, tips or questions ahead of time, or e-mail me anytime at

© 2005 The Washington Post Company