Healthy Snack Bar or Candy Bar?

The following is an archived post

Walk down the aisle of your grocery store and you will see a myriad of different snack bars to choose from: breakfast bars, granola bars, meal replacement bars, cereal bars, energy bars. Colorful packaging jumps out at you with the claims “tasty,” “healthy,” “nutritious,” or “high in fiber.”With the pace of life as busy as it is today, bars can be great to have on hand, whether rushing out the door without time for breakfast or reaching into your bag for a mid-day snack. They’re convenient, compact and readily available.

But how nutritious are they? Are we really getting a healthier form of energy than we would from a candy bar?

The answer? It depends. To truly judge just how nutritious a bar is, we need to examine the label critically.

-Does it have at least 3g of fiber? Fiber helps slow digestion so the energy from the bar lasts longer and is also great for heart and digestive health.

-Does it have at least 5g of protein? Protein also helps us to feel satisfied and is important for structure and function in the body.

-Does it contain less than 3g of saturated fat? Some fat is beneficial for both taste and satiety, but we want to focus on heart healthy mono- and poly-unsaturated fats.

-Does it contain less than a third of its calories from sugar? Many bars contain up to half of their calories from sugar, particularly added sugar.

-Is the ingredient list relatively brief? Look for less processed items with long lists of ingredients that are difficult to pronounce and look for whole grains, fruits and nuts.


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