Energy Bars, Granola Bars, Breakfast Bars, Protein Bars, Bars that improve your rock climbing skills, or at least that’s what the package would have you believe. There is an almost unbelievable amount of Bar options at your disposal today and if you venture into the “snack” aisle of any grocery store, you will be faced with a wall of bar options. But choose carefully, because most of these bars will be sold to you as “healh food” but in most cases that is very far from the truth.
The Best of the Bars – My top pick is to obviously make your own, that’s why I’ve included my most favorite bar recipe below. Of course, we don’t always have the time to make our own snacks, so If you are going to set off down that snack food aisle try to investigate your fav bars, use the below tips to cut through the green washing and find the healthiest, most nutrient dense options.
- Does it have at least 4 grams of fibre? Fibre helps to slow down digestion, which will keep you fuller longer.
- Does the bar have at least 7 grams of protein? Again, this will help you stay fuller longer.
- Keep the sugar in check! Most snack bars are loaded with sugar. Take for example the chocolate Brownie clif bar, often toated as a “healthy” choice – it has 21g of sugar per bar (insert screaming emoji). Each gram of sugar= 4 calories, which means that in this 250 calorie bar, 84 calories or 34% of the bars total calories are coming directly from sugar. Tip- Compare the grams of sugar to the grams of fiber and aim for a ratio of no more than 3 to 1. For instance, this cliff bar has only 4g fibre, and so should have no more than 12g sugar. Keeping this 3:1 ratio will help to slow carbohydrate digestion and glucose absorpotion, keeping your blood sugar balanced and you out of that dreaded sugar crash mode.
- Investigate the Ingredients list! Can you pronounce all of the words? Are there fewer than 7 ingredients? Is sugar listed in the top 3 ingredients? (general rule of thumb for me – never buy something that has sugar in the first 3 ingredients) .
My absolute best advice is to make your own granola bars at home. This way, you can be sure of the ingredients that are going into making them, and tailor the nutritional content to your needs. I’ve included a recipe below that was originally inspired by amibitious kitchens “nut free granola bar recipe” but I’ve made a few substitutions. Its jam packed with whole grains, loaded with fibre and protein and let me tell you, they are the perfect combination of soft and crunchy.