How Do I Choose the Best Healthy Granola Bar?

Lainie Petersen

Choosing a healthy granola bar can be a way of avoiding junk food and enjoying a nutritious and convenient snack. Keep in mind, however, that not all granola bars are necessarily healthy food. Many are sugar laden, high in calories, and may even contain numerous additives and preservatives. When trying to choose a healthy granola bar, be sure to read food labels and know your criteria for defining healthy. It's also a good idea to select a granola bar that you will actually enjoy, so pay attention to things like flavor and texture.

Granola bars loaded with sugars from ingredients like chocolate chips can diminish the healthy benefits.
Granola bars loaded with sugars from ingredients like chocolate chips can diminish the healthy benefits.

Granola bars are often perceived by many people as healthier than sugary candy bars, as they are typically made from things like rolled oats, dried fruits, and nuts. While this is often the case, it is not unusual for a supposedly healthy granola bar to contain high amounts of sugar and to also be high in calories. For individuals who are on sugar- or carbohydrate-restricted diets, a granola bar may not be a healthy alternative to candy or other sweet snacks. If you are on such a diet, you may need to look for a granola bar formulated with few or no sugars.

Sweetened granola bars may provide a low-sugar alternative to candy bars.
Sweetened granola bars may provide a low-sugar alternative to candy bars.

Another thing to consider when selecting a healthy granola bar is the actual amount of healthy ingredients in the bar. In some cases, a bar that contains fruit or whole grains may be touted as healthy when in fact it actually contains very little of either ingredient. By reading the label on the bar, you can find out just how much nutrition you will receive by consuming it. For example, don't assume that just because a bar supposedly has whole grains and nuts that it is high in fiber. Instead, read its label to determine if you are actually going to get the nutrients that you need.

Granola bars made with small amounts of honey may be a better alternative than sugar-laden bars.
Granola bars made with small amounts of honey may be a better alternative than sugar-laden bars.

It makes little sense to purchase a granola bar that you won't want to eat because it isn't tasty. In some cases, you will have the option of buying either a traditional, crunchy granola bar or a chewy granola bar. Both are reasonably popular, so it is really a matter of personal taste. You should also check the granola bar's packaging to find out if you like or dislike any of the ingredients or flavors used in the bar's formulation. If you don't like the flavor of one bar, check out other packages. There are many different types of granola bars on the market, and you are likely to find one that suits your tastes.

Oats, which are often included in granola bars.
Oats, which are often included in granola bars.

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Discussion Comments

Pippinwhite

You have to be a compulsive label reader to pick a healthy granola bar. A lot of them have more carbs and sugar than a candy bar! Until you start reading labels, you won't have any idea that the supposedly healthy granola bar you're scarfing is really just candy in disguise.

Look for lower sugar, higher protein bars to get a better product. That's a better buy, since a bar higher in protein will keep you full longer.

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