Granola bars are a sneaky food.
They have the reputation of being healthy, but in reality they can be total sugar bombs with very little actual nutrition. So rather than keeping you energized until your next meal like they should, they just leave you hungry and unsatisfied. Who wants that?
So when I’m buying granola bars, there are always a few things I keep in mind to help me choose a healthy granola bar:
- Short ingredient list comprised of whole foods: If I couldn’t make the granola bars with ingredients in my own kitchen, I tend to avoid them. My general perspective is that the more crap there is in a granola bar, the less actual nutrition it contains.
- Contains whole grains: If made with grains at all, I want it to be made with whole grains such as oats, quinoa, and millet. This will add fibre to the bars, which helps to slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream and keep you more satisfied.
- Sweetened naturally with dried fruits, or minimally with sugar: I don’t really have a hard and fast “rule” about sugar in granola bars because it can really depend. If a bar is made with a lot of dried fruit, it can be quite high in sugar – but still a very healthy choice. If it’s mostly a dried fruit bar, it shouldn’t really need any added sugar. But if it’s a grain based bar, it’s going to need some added sugar to make it taste good and to bind it together. For these bars I just try to make sure the sweetening ingredient isn’t at the very top of the ingredient list.
- Made with a source of protein: Protein in your granola bar, such as nuts, seeds, nut/seed butter, roasted beans, or a plant-based protein powder will give your bar some staying power. It also makes it a good post-workout snack, since you want to have a mixture of carbs and protein after you exercise.
- Contains healthy fats: Ingredients like nuts, seeds, nut/seed butter, coconut oil, coconut, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax will add healthy fats to your bar, which will help keep you satisfied until your next meal.
One of the granola bars on the market that definitely meets all my criteria are Nakd Bars, which are made with just dried fruit, nuts, and natural flavour – no funky additives, no added sugar, and no refined grains!
And the good news just keeps on coming – because Natural Balance Foods has offered to send one lucky winner a sample pack of their Nakd Bars.
Here’s how you can enter this giveaway:
- Leave a comment telling me your favourite brand of granola/energy bars
- Follow me on Twitter
- Tweet about the giveaway on Twitter: “Win a case of @Nakd bars from @healthychels! Enter here –> wp.me/p3QHsK-3BY”
- Follow me on Instagram
- Follow me on Pinterest
Make sure to leave me a separate comment for each entry.
This giveaway is restricted to readers in the US only (sorry to all my fellow Canadians!) and will be open to new entries until Friday May 2nd. Good luck!