As a dietitian, some of the most common questions I get are “what are some easy on-the-go snacks that are healthy?” and “what are the best snack bars out there?” Both answers to these questions can go hand in hand.
I know to skip right past the ever-popular Special K and the Chewy Oatmeal Granola bars, which are really just glorified cookies advertised to look healthy. They are low on fiber, protein and nutrients and not at all what you’re looking for when searching for an energizing snack. The bars I’ve rated here were bought in a quest to find something healthy that my clients and I can grab on the go.
For snack bars, I’m looking for something with around 150 calories or less, at least 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. And as always, I’m looking for the least processed, most natural ingredients possible. For a heftier bar with more than 150 calories, check out my The Best (and Worst) Protein Bars.
I’ve rated the following based on taste, nutrient content, ingredients and price.
I tried three different flavors: the Chocolate Coconut Bliss, Spirulina Dream, and Chocolate Crave. The Chocolate Crave honestly tasted like a rich brownie filled with nuts and the Chocolate Coconut Bliss was just as good. That being said, I’d stay far away from the Spirulina Dream.
These bars are non-GMO, certified USDA organic, raw, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free. And they still taste good?! Well, so far, the chocolate ones do! The creator of Raw Rev bars is an RN and natural food chef who was looking to make a healthy wholesome snack she could feel good about feeding to her kids. You can read and pronounce every single ingredient.
Cons- The full size bars are easy to find in stores, but the minis are not. I ordered some 24-pack mini bars for a health fair that I’m doing for $20 per pack, so not only are they hard to find in-store, they are also not cheap.
All Raw Rev minis have 100 calories or less and around 7 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. Some other flavors on my to-try list are the Almond Butter Cup and Cherry Chocolate Chunk. A
The first thing I noticed about these bars was that I recognized all of the ingredients, the first 7 being whole grains. They are easy to find in almost every grocery store (even Walmart, in the cereal aisle) and they’re non-GMO.
They’ve got about 150 calories, 8 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein per bar. AND all of the flavors are good! The Oats & Honey with Toasted Coconut is my favorite with the Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate in a close second. They are significantly bigger than the Raw Revolution bars and they’re a lot cheaper. A-
For a quick breakfast on-the-go, grab a KIND bar, an apple and a hard-boiled egg and I’d give your breakfast an A+.
UPDATE 01/2016: Unfortunately, Luna has stopped selling their mini versions.
These bars come in a two flavor variety pack of 18 snack-size bars. The first flavor I tried was Chocolate Dipped Coconut. Holy yum, I felt like I was eating an Almond Joy! They are about the size of half an almond joy as well, but unlike an Almond Joy, this bar has 90 calories, 6 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein and has about 12 added vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, folate and calcium. Not too shabby for a teeny bar.
The Luna Minis are made with 70% organic ingredients. The ingredient list is not as impressive as the Raw Revolution bars and there’s a few things I don’t love seeing like organic dried cane syrup (just a fancy way to say sugar) and vegetable glycerin (your guess is as good as mine) but this bar is good for a quick pre-workout snack and it definitely satisfies my sweet tooth. The other flavor in the variety pack, Chocolate Peppermint stick, was almost as delicious as the first. I found them in the “natural” section of the grocery store. B
CAUTION: I was all ready to write about how good these Nature’s Bakery Blueberry Fig Bar s are for the 110 calories and 10 grams of sugar, but no, the label tricked even me! Until I looked closer, I didn’t realize that there are TWO servings per package, so instead of the 110 calories you think you’re getting, it’s double. They are really sweet and taste good, but no wonder with 20 grams of sugar. I can pronounce all of the ingredients and I like that the first ingredient is stone ground whole wheat flour, but next up is dried cane syrup and brown rice syrup (sugar). They taste a lot like a thicker, heartier Nutrigrain bar and they’re non-GMO project verified. Unfortunately, 220 calories is not worth it and I hate that they try to trick to consumer (and me)! I give them an overall F!
What are your favorite go-to bars? Have you checked out the ingredient labels lately? You might be surprised by the “healthy looking” bars and find that it’s time for a switch! Leave me a comment if you’ve got a bar you’d like me to grade or one you think that could top this list.