In today’s world, we’re constantly on the go. We’re always in a hurry, whether driving to work, running to appointments, catching a bus, walking to class, or rushing to the gym. Sometimes, we don’t have time to fit in a meal, so we reach for a quick snack we can eat on the go. Many times, we reach for a granola bar. But should we?
There’s nothing wrong with needing some convenience food once in a while, but we need to be extra careful of what kind of granola bars we’re buying. Almost all the kinds at my local Wal-Mart are loaded with sugar, preservatives, chemicals, additives, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and other things I don’t think I want to put in my body.
I made a trip to my Wal-Mart today to do some research on what kinds of granola bars are actually healthy. I knew it would be a challenge to find clean, healthy bars, but I never would have guessed how unhealthy most are! I took it upon myself to dig deep and uncover the secrets of the nutrition labels.
I decided to examine 10 different kinds of granola bars, nutrition bars, and fruit & nut bars that are supposedly healthy. They are all located in the “healthy” section in the cereal aisle at my Wal-Mart. Keep in mind that all the prices are based on Wal-Mart.
To find their healthiness scores, I graded each of the 10 brands of granola bars on four criteria: number of ingredients, fiber content, protein content, and number of essential nutrients. I weighted the grade for number of ingredients by three, since eating whole foods is most important when eating clean.
For example, Kind fruit & nut bars have 12 ingredients, earning an 81%. Kind bars have 3g of fiber, 4g of protein, and 16 essential nutrients. This earns it an 80%,70%, and 90% respectively. To find the final healthiness score, I multiplied .81(3) + .80 + .70 + .90 = 80.5 to get a grade of 81% (rounded).
Finally, the results are in! Here are the 10 “healthy” granola bars I researched, listed in order from highest to lowest healthiness score.
- 6 Ingredients
- 4g fiber, 4g protein, 3 essential nutrients
- $5.28 for a box of 5
- 7 Ingredients
- 3g fiber, 4g protein, 1 essential nutrient
- $2.98 for a box of 5
- 12 Ingredients
- 3g fiber, 4g protein, 16 essential nutrients
- $4.74 for a box of 4
- 28 Ingredients
- 5g fiber, 10g protein, 23 essential nutrients
- $5.58 for a box of 6
- 14 Ingredients
- 2g fiber, 4g protein, 2 essential nutrients
- $3.68 for a box of 5
- 15 Ingredients
- 2g fiber, 3g protein, 2 essential nutrients
- $2.68 for a box of 5
- 16 Ingredients
- 3g fiber, 3g protein, 2 essential nutrients
- $2.98 for a box of 5
63% (tie) – Kashi Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bar
- 36 Ingredients
- 4g fiber, 6g protein, 1 essential nutrient
- $2.98 for a box of 12
- 38 Ingredients
- 1g fiber, 15g protein, 19 essential nutrients
- $4.77 for a box of 5
- 53 Ingredients
- 5g fiber, 14g protein, 18 essential nutrients
- $ 3.68 for a box of 5
In short, the winner is… Larabar Apple Pie Fruit & Nut Bar! To be honest with all you readers, Larabars are probably the only granola bars I’d eat off this entire list. They’re the only bars I could find that didn’t have any added ingredients, added sugar, chemicals, or big words I couldn’t pronounce. Some of the others shouldn’t even be considered food.
The only problem is, Larabars aren’t cheap. $5.28 for a box of 5!? So, if you’re looking for a way to save money, try making your own! I stumbled upon a list of sites with recipes for homemade Larabars. I’ll try making some and let you know how it goes. Happy snacking!
If you liked this article, you’ll love reading Peanut Butter Exposed!