If you know me, you probably know that I love breakfast—I would definitely consider my affinity for this genre of food one of my defining features. Throughout high school, my only motivation to drag myself out of bed in the morning was the promise of a heaping bowl of cereal waiting downstairs on the kitchen table. Whenever my friends and I go out to eat, I subtly suggest restaurants where I can order chocolate chip pancakes for dinner (and, unabashedly, take multiple photos of their glory before digging in). One of my go-to snacks is a personal-sized oatmeal, and I will eat this at literally any time of day. But, I recently went through a short-lived love affair with a totally different breakfast: Clif Bars.

Single and Ready to Mingle

It all started when a little something called college got in the way of my breakfast plans. I was warned against taking a 9 a.m. every day, but I asserted defiantly that I was a “morning person” and I could handle the early wakeup (after all, I could still sleep two hours later than I did in high school). I wish I could say that I proved everyone wrong, that I was the girl strutting around campus as the sun rose with a big smile on her face. Nope. I epitomized the college student struggling to make it to those early classes each day.

Sadly, when you’re sprinting to make it to class on time, one of the last things on your mind is breakfast. Yes, even me, the queen of breakfast, usually completely forgot about it until I was sitting in my 400-person econ lecture with an audibly growling stomach. Missing breakfast made early morning lessons seem to last an eternity. Plus, I wasn’t using my meal plan as often as I could be, making me feel wasteful.

The Love Affair Begins

Then, one day as I stopped to get a snack after my workout, I noticed an array of Clif Bars staring back at me. With many appealing flavors that looked both healthy and delicious, I decided to buy a few and stock up. I could stash them in my backpack and eat them during my first class. Quickly, my love affair with Clif Bars began—I could use my meal swipes to buy an easy breakfast to keep me satisfied throughout my busy morning.

Clif Bar Nutrition Energy Bars vitamin supplement health bars. pics by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube. #ClifBar #ClifBars #NutritionBars #EnergyBars

JeepersMedia on Flickr

Soon, however, I started to wonder just how good for me my new routine truly was. Yes, my Clif Bar satiated my ravenous hunger during my first 50-minute lecture, but I noticed my stomach rumbling only a few hours after eating. After perusing the label, what struck me most was the high amount of carbohydrates in the bar and, by extension, the extreme imbalance between carbohydrates and the other dietary groups like protein and fat.

Discovering the Truth

The thing is, Clif Bars are designed for hard-core endurance athletes to give them the fuel they need to conquer long hikes or haul heavy loads. Something about the image of a climber scaling a daunting boulder on the label doesn’t quite match up with the five-minute walk from my bed to my classroom that I encounter each morning. Although I work out regularly and consider myself active, I certainly am no outdoorswoman; what is a nutritious breakfast for someone like me isn’t the same as what an athlete needs after a grueling workout.

File:Two Clif Bars.jpg

Image from WikiCommons

Getting Over & Moving On

So, I experimented. I cheated on my Clif Bars. I tried to find other breakfast bars with healthy ratios of protein to carbs and substantial servings of fiber. I noticed myself feeling fuller longer and able to concentrate more clearly when I neared lunchtime. Although some of these bars might not be quite as tasty as my Clif Bars, I committed myself to making the switch and forgetting about my ex-love.

Then, a miracle happened—my friend suggested we wake up early and go to breakfast in the dining hall, and I said yes. It took every ounce of my self-control not to snooze my alarm that first morning, but, to my surprise, I actually enjoyed my breakfast. Yes, there are healthier options than Clif Bars for an on-the-go morning meal, but, after all, how healthy can something so processed really be? Nothing beats a fresh and wholesome breakfast you can get when you wake up just a little earlier than you have to.

So, that’s the story of my quick fling with Clif Bars. I’ve been staying away from them for a while now; there’s a noticeable change in the quality of my life when I eat a balanced breakfast, and I encourage you to experiment and learn what works for your busy college schedule. Hopefully, I’ll stay strong and resist the urge to run back to my Clif Bars the next time hunger calls (but, maybe it’s ok to cheat once in a while…).