How to choose a healthy granola bar

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?

How to choose a healthy granola bar via chelseashealthykitchen.com

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.

nakdbarssamplecase

Here’s how you can enter this giveaway:

  1. Leave a comment telling me your favourite brand of granola/energy bars
  2. Follow me on Twitter
  3. Tweet about the giveaway on Twitter: “Win a case of @Nakd bars from @healthychels! Enter here –> wp.me/p3QHsK-3BY”
  4. Follow me on Instagram
  5. 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!

72 Comments

Filed under nutrition

72 Responses to How to choose a healthy granola bar

  1. My favorite are quest bars and chocolate peppermint stick luna bars!

  2. Holly

    I love Luna bars!

  3. Nakd is definitely one of my favorite brands for bars!!! As is larabar, thunderbird energetica, and krono bar!

  4. Renata S

    I love Larabars – so simple and pure!

  5. Renata S

    Following you on Twitter via @serene_streams!

  6. These were my snack of choice when I lived in Ireland! Pecan pie and cashew cookie were my favourites! Sad I’m not in the US or else I’d be all over this!

  7. Cassy

    I followed you on twitter!

  8. Cassy

    I followed you on Pinterest!

  9. Cassy

    I followed you on Instagram!

  10. april

    i love larabars :)

  11. I am the typical fitness blogger and I am going to have to go with Quest Bars! I am a fan of Luna bars too !

  12. Maeve

    Vega Bars! And Lara Bars.

  13. JessW

    I like luna bars!

  14. JessW

    I follow you on twitter @JesBWill

  15. JessW

    I follow you on Instagram as well

  16. Laura

    Lara Bars are my favorite!

  17. Jacklyn

    I don’t have a favourite granola bar because i rarely eat them. I grew up eating chewy granola bars ( with caramel and chocolate covered…) and now i’m torn between all the granola bars on the market today! I have tried the simply bar- but it tasted dried out to me. I would love to give these a try!

  18. Jacklyn

    i followed you on pinterest!

  19. Pingback: Fascinating Friday{ish} Links #33 | Daily Moves and Grooves

  20. lara bars but i’ve never tried nakd bars before!

  21. follow you on twitter

  22. follow you on pinterest!

  23. follow you on instagram

  24. Renata S

    Strawberry Cheesecake Quest Bars are my favorite!

  25. Ooooh good idea! I try to make my own granola bars when i can, but I have been curious about Nak’d. I have not yet seen them in stores, but would love to try. I enjoy Kind bars, Fiber Love, Rise, and Quest! I am a big lover of bars, my running volume means I eat a lot! Can I win please? :)

  26. kate

    Fiber plus protein bars taste really good (though I’m not sure how natural they are…oups)

  27. My favorite bar is QUEST BAR!!!

  28. Kelsey

    Follow you on twitter!

  29. Raymond

    KIND Bars with nuts and fruit are my tasty favorite! Thanks!

  30. theses sounds so good! I would love to try them! I am a huge fan of Larabar uber bars. The roasted nut bar is addicting! i also love what you say about sugar! I cannot wait until food labels have added sugars listed!

  31. US only?!?! Lady! My Canadian heart is broken! :P But I’m totally with you on how unhealthy store-bought granola bars can be. Actually, that’s probably one of the best parts about being allergic to nuts — it kind of forces us to avoid most bars and make our own or seek out the super simple ones since most of the others have peanuts or nuts. I’ve never tried a Nakd bar before, but they sound like good stuff.

  32. Gaby

    Lara Bars & Kind Bars are both great! I’d love to try Nakd though.

  33. Ashley P

    My favorite is lara bars, vega bars, and nugo bars!

  34. Pam

    I follow you on Pinterest

  35. I love Quest and KIND bars!

  36. I follow you on twitter (@BarrAndTable)

  37. I follow you on instagram (@BarrAndTable)

  38. I follow you on pinterest (@BarrAndTable)

  39. My favorite bars are Larabars and KindBars!

  40. Luna bars are definitely my favorite! I do not understand how people eat quest bars- they taste like chalk!

  41. followed on twitter :-)

  42. and I follow on instagram!

  43. My new favorite is the Goji-Cacao Power Bites from Nativas Naturals. I haven’t tried the Nak’d bars, thanks for the chance to win some!

  44. I follow you on Pinterest.

  45. Monasohal@mac.com

    I just tried the new Kind granola bars & I love them!

  46. Nicole G

    I’m into Clif bars, but like trying different ones whenever I have the chance.

  47. Elle

    I love Taste of Nature bars.

  48. Elle

    I tweeted for another entry.

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