Un-fancy Guide to Granola Bars

Disclaimer: I realize everyone has different granola bar preferences. Health food stores carry awesome selections of perfect specialty granola bars and motivated home cooks can whip up truly fantastic DIY granola bars. This isn’t intended to be a guide for bars like that.

tips for buying a normal yet healthy snack bar

tips for buying a normal yet healthy snack bar

This is a guide for your standard grocery store granola bar selection- I’m talking Walmart status here.

When I founded ‘peeled’, my intent was to write posts for your average person trying to make little adjustments to improve their health. My test before publishing tips on this blog is my mother. My mom is a perfect example of someone who is open to improvement but refuses to do ‘weird health food things.’

Example: Switch to natural peanut butter available at the local grocery store? Sure. Seek out a farmer to obtain organic locally produced grass fed beef? Absolutely not.

Granola bars are great to have on hand for when hunger strikes. Many will give you a decent dose of sugar [energy burst] accompanied by some protein [long lasting energy]. I’m guilty of stashing them in everything from desk drawers to handbags (along with many other things…as my Instagram followers recently learned). Where we run into a problem is when certain granola bars carry a nutrition label more similar to a candy bar than a health food. Word to the wise: if it looks and tastes like a candy bar, it is a candy bar.

My un-fancy list of things I would encourage my mom to look for when buying granola bars:

  • PRICE: I refuse to pay more than $1 per bar. I’m really not even happy paying $1 a bar… its a snack, not a meal replacement. Don’t let companies rip you off.
  • CALORIES: Calories = energy for your body. I like granola bars to be under 200 calories. Again, its intended to just be a snack.
  • CALORIES FROM FAT: You don’t want this to be high- you want your calories to be from quality sources like protein. The lower the better here, no more than 30% of your total calories.
  • SODIUM: This is salt, watch out for this- sometimes companies dump in salt to make up for poor flavor.
  • DIETARY FIBER: Fiber is good, it keeps you full and keeps things moving inside your digestive system.
  • SUGAR: I’d stay below 6g. You won’t see a % daily value listed on the label, but that’s another story.
  • PROTEIN: A good bar should have at least 3g, 6 or 7 is even better!
  • INGREDIENTS: Keep these as recognizable as possible. They’re listed in order of weight, so the first thing you read is what makes up most of the bar. Watch out for multiple forms of sugar (honey, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, cane syrup, etc.). Also look out for processed sources of protein (whey isolate) or fiber (chicory root extract). You want fiber and protein, but you want it coming from real sources like oats, nuts or seeds.

My 2 favorite bars at the moment are KIND brand ‘Maple Pumpkin Seeds’ and Kashi brand TLC bar in ‘Cherry Dark Chocolate’. I think they’re a reasonable blend of hunger-fighting-health-warriors and tasty yumminess. (Yes, lots of made up words this post) Neither of these companies know I exist, it’s just an honest recommendation.

KIND & Kashi brand top my favorites list

KIND & Kashi brand top my favorites list

Remember, the point of a snack is to keep you feeling your best and prevent overeating at meal time. I’m definitely guilty of snacking until I feel full, rather than until I’m no longer hungry. Granola bars can be a perfect [forced] portion control to keep your hunger at bay!

What are your favorite granola bar brands? Have you tried making your own at home?


30 thoughts on “Un-fancy Guide to Granola Bars

  1. Great post! Granola bars are something I love for convenience, but I often feel overwhelmed when seeing them in the grocery store–so many options! It’s nice to know what to look for in a healthy bar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thank you! I totally agree, its impossible to not be overwhelmed when there’s half an aisle dedicated purely to snack bars! Once you finally narrow it down theres always a generic version that’s just a litttttle different that adds 2 minutes on to the decision as well! :)


  2. Fabulous tips and information given! Your mom must be very proud of the young, intelligent woman you’ve become!
    Personally, I prefer Nature Valley, crunchy Oats n Honey granola bars. 190 calories, 4 grams protein…delicious! Eat them every day!
    Love, your mom😘

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yep, I’ve made my own although I find I usually need to keep them chilled cause they are so moist. I’m not a huge “bar” eater but I agree there’s to much hype and they are often over priced and to many calories.
    I love this post… I do similar product reviews on my Facebook page for people when I’ve tested products. Just my little humble opinions but sometimes, that’s all people want to try something new =)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Laughing at your Kudos reference! Those were my absolute fave as a kid! And yes, they were totally candy bars. One of my “mmmMonday” posts on my blog is about my love for Luna bars!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Some great tips. I think I spend the most amount of my grocery shopping time staring at the boxes of granola bars looking for one that I find acceptable, with no nuts and that my kids will actually eat. I usually end up making healthy muffins and sending those to school instead.


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