A recent trip to the supermarket revealed how often "fake" strawberries are used in breakfast and snack bars. Cereals have even added "strawberries" to many favorite choices. These are not products made from dried strawberries. The ingredient label reads: "strawberry flavored fruit pieces (sugar, cranberries, citric acid, natural and other flavors)." The fruit pieces are sweetened cranberry skins, a product that used to be sold as animal feed and offers no nutritional benefit except calories.
This fruit fraud is not unique to strawberries. Blueberries in a national brand bar are described as "blueberry flavored fruit pieces (sugar, cranberries, blueberry juice from concentrate, grape juice for color).'' The same brand cereal lists blueberry-flavored bits (sugar, corn syrup, corn cereal, modified wheat starch, modified corn starch ... cellulose gum, red #40, blue #2, green #3, blue #1). No blueberries are listed as an ingredient!
Snack and breakfast bars are convenient and can be made with healthy ingredients like spelt, hemp and coconut flours. A quick visit to the health section of the supermarket or local health food store can yield the ingredients for this quick and easy bar recipe. You can also double the recipe and store leftovers in the refrigerator for a week.
Calorie for calorie, strawberries have twice the potassium as a 7-inch banana and twice the iron as a serving of raisins. Though frozen strawberries are a good choice when you can't get fresh, you get twice the vitamin C and folate in fresh berries. So when they are abundant during strawberry season, enjoy them raw or in this bar recipe.
Betty Wedman-St Louis is a licensed nutritionist and environmental health specialist in Pinellas County who has written numerous books on health and nutrition. Visit her website at betty-wedman-stlouis.com.