Granola bars are pretty much a back to school staple and with so many options out there, figuring out which one is best for your kid (or yourself) can be tricky. Do you just grab the grainiest one and assume it’s healthy? Do you grab the one with the chocolate because you know your kid’s going to love it? Do you really know what you’re looking for?
Don’t fret, you’ve got enough to worry about this time of year. So to make your life a little easier, we’ve done all the health research on the most popular brands of granola bars so you can see just what you’re buying. There’s a catch though: you’re not going to like what we found.
Allow us to explain. According to Insider research and analysis, a “healthy” granola bar would contain no more than 3g of sugar per serving, have 5g or less of fat, and have about 5g each of fibre and protein. Most of the granola bars we looked at don’t meet that criteria so we’ve given them grades to help you out when you’re cruising through the grocery store.
Because, healthy or not, sometimes a granola bar is the key to making your day just a little easier.
Which granola bars are actually good for you?
Kashi Chewy Granola Bars Trail MixCalories: 140 Sugar: 8g Fat: 4.5g Protein: 3g Fibre: 3g Grade: C+ Kashi has a good rep because of their all-natural ingredients (definitely a plus) and their sugar content is nowhere near as bad as some of the other ones on this list. That being said, we’re not grading on a curve here. They’re just fine health-wise. Kashi
President’s Choice Rich & ChewyCalories: 110 Sugar: 8g Fat: 3g Protein: 2g Fibre: 1g Grade: C These little guys’ saving grace is that they’re small. At a tight little 110 calories, they’re a little treat for the kiddos with a comparatively low amount of sugar. These could be a chocolate bar replacement, but don’t be deceived into thinking they’re “healthy.” President’s Choice
Quaker Oats Harvest Greek YogurtCalories: 150 Sugar: 10g Fat: 6g Protein: 5g Fibre: 2g Grade: C- Yogurt makes things healthy, right? Wrong. The yogurt dip is basically sweet milk powder. What sort of redeems this bar is that it’s got the most protein of anything on this list. But at what cost? Quaker Oats
Quaker Oats Dipps Chocolate Chip Granola BarsCalories: 140 Sugar: 13g Fat: 5g Protein: 2g Fibre: 1g Grade: D- Seriously? This is a chocolate bar with granola in it. It’s tied for highest sugar content on this list and has no redeeming features re: protein or fibre. We would suggest keeping this one out of your cart entirely. Quaker Oats
Nature Valley CrunchyCalories: 210 Sugar: 12g Fat: 1g Protein: 4g Fibre: 3g Grade: D Two bars per package should be the first red flag here. Eating just one might not be that bad, but what kid is going to save the other half of a package for later? It just means they’re eating the equivalent of about a bar and a half. Not good. Nature Valley
Nature Valley Chewy Trail MixCalories: 140 Sugar: 7g Fat: 4g Protein: 2g Fibre: 2g Grade: C+ With one of the lowest sugar and fat contents on here, this bar isn’t all that bad. Sure, it’s still higher in sugar than we want it to be, but in a world where the only way you can meet our standards is by making your own bars, it’s acceptable. Nature Valley
Special K Cranberry Almond Nourish BarCalories: 150 Sugar: 12g Fat: 6g Protein: 3g Fibre: 2g Grade: D Well, well, well, looks like Special K isn’t so special after all. With sugars clocking in at second-highest on this list and a fat over our max, it looks like the so-called healthy bar isn’t actually all that healthy. Special K
Nutri-Grain Soft Baked Breakfast Bars StrawberryCalories: 130 Sugar: 12g Fat: 3.5g Protein: 2g Fibre: 1g Grade: D Nutri-Grain is less of a granola bar and more of a piece of toast spread with jam. We won’t make the pie comparison – it’s not quite that bad – but it’s certainly not our first choice for nutrition. Nutri-Grain
Made Good Mixed Berry BarsCalories: 90 Sugar: 6g Fat: 2g Protein: 1g Fibre: 2g Grade: B- This is probably our favourite on this list. It’s got the lowest sugar and fat content and uses all-natural ingredients. Our biggest problem is that the protein and fibre counts are still so low (and that the sugar technically doesn’t meet our criteria). Made Good Foods
Kind Almond and CoconutCalories: 190 Sugar: 13g Fat: 12g Protein: 3g Fibre: 2g Grade: D- For a while everyone thought Kind Bars were the epitome of healthy because they advertise themselves as a “tasty, nutritious option.” The only problem is that they are all high in fat and sugar. This one in particular tops our list for fat content and ties with Quaker Dipps for highest sugar. Kind Snacks