Recently, there has been a huge rivalry on social media between Clif and KIND granola bars makers on the topic of whose product is healthier. To get a sense of how big it went, take a look at their latest Twitter and Facebook posts and read the comment section.
KIND bars contain only four or five grams of sugar while a Clif bar has twenty grams of sugar on average. It seems like the less sugar – the healthier but low sugar options have palm kernel oil which is considered unhealthy as well as alkalized cocoa that is basically cocoa without its health benefits.
Companies often confuse people by using different terms for the same product – granola bar, protein bar, snack bar. Out of these three, granola bar would be the least accurate because bars do not always contain oats, nuts and seeds – ingredients used to prepare granola. Indeed, there are some really nutritious bars but most of them contain added sugar and oil and turn out to be very high in calories.
Protein bar is a better definition of the snack as its main purpose is to provide a good amount of protein in a small bar. However, another issue comes up with protein bars. In fact, an average diet typically contains just enough protein in itself. If you’ve had a tough workout, then a protein bar would be a great option to snack on. But a half an hour walk doesn’t need to be finished with a hit of protein. When choosing a bar for a snack, do not regard protein as the deciding factor. There are bars with lower protein that have spectacular lists of ingredients and are very healthy.
Snack bar is probably the perfect name for this products as it is accurate – these bars are not intended to be eaten as a meal but rather a snack that you eat between meals to keep you energized.
Being a dietitian, a choice of snacks is very important to me. Basically, snacking allows you to add nutrition to the day and it can be pretty flavourful.
Plant-based bars rich in fibre
A study done in the US showed that an average person doesn’t get the recommended thirty grams of fibre daily receiving only fourteen. Being beneficial for heart and digestion, fibre is only present in plant-based foods. This is why my recommendation is to go for bars that are rich in fibre. Make sure that fibre in your bar is from whole foods such as oats or chia seeds. There are bars that have fibre but it comes from tapioca or glycerine – sweeteners without sugar. When in a grocery store, check the ingredient list and pick the bar that has the first two or three ingredients of actual foods. The bar you want would contain four grams of fibre and more.
Good options: NuGo Fiber D’Lish, Health Warrior Superfood Protein Bars, Bearded Brothers bars.
Bars with a low amount of added sugar
Every nutritionist dreams that manufacturers start to label the added sugar in their product. Usually, there is a sugar category that includes both whole fruits and added sugars. A packet of sugar is just sugar and the limit of it, according to WHO, should be twenty four grams daily. An orange, on the other hand, also has sugar but apart from that there is also fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Good options: Pro Bar LIVE probiotic bars, Dang plant-based keto bars, Zeno bars.
Bars with healthy fats
It’s good to aim for bars that have fats only from whole foods like nuts and seeds as those are healthy fats. On the other hand, fats that come from oils are just fats – there are no nutrients or fibre.
Good options: Only What You Need bars (first ingredient is pumpkin seeds), 88 Acres bars (first ingredient is a blend of pumpkin, sunflower, and flax seeds).
Bars made almost entirely from whole food ingredients
Vegetables and fruits, quinoa and oats, nuts and seeds are all whole food ingredients that you need to look for in a bar to receive maximum benefit from your snack.
Good options: Core bars, Lara bars (specifically these flavours: apple pie, banana bread, blueberry muffin, cashew cookie, cherry pie, key lime pie, peanut butter & jelly, peanut butter cookie, and pecan pie): Mediterra bars, Rx bars.