Finding the Right Snack Bars

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, April 1, 2009

snack bars
We’ve talked about how to pick the right energy bars. On the flip side, there are snack bars to choose from, too. Here are some of our favorites.

Snack Bars vs. Energy Bars
Unlike energy bars, snack bars are for between meals. Energy bars tend to be higher in calories and are meant to give more active individuals extra calories and energy — too much for just a snack.

Many snack bars are made with granola mixes — that is, a combo of oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit and small amounts of sugar and fat. Some packaged granola bars also add in chocolate, fudge and pieces of candy (most of those wouldn’t make our approval list). Dozens of granola and fruit bars are available these days and some are better than others (see our faves below).

Remember, these shouldn’t be your go-to snack all the time. Non-fat yogurt, fruit or a handful of nuts are also easy and portable alternatives. It’s important to rotate your snacks — and all foods, really — to get a variety of nutrients.

What to Look For
If you’re looking to lose weight, choose a bar with less than 150 calories. If you’re just looking to maintain, then go for one with 200 calories or less. There are a few of my favorites (ones marked with an * are a good choice for those trying to lose weight):

Make Your Own
Of course, creating your own low-cal snack bars is often better. You get to pick your ingredients and flavor combos — plus, less packaging waste.

[Photo: Tom Censani]

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Comments (128)

  1. J says:

    My favorite are the kashi bars; they make a pumpkin pie bar that is simply divine. I also love their soft baked bars which are akin to a healthier and more delicious fig newton.

  2. Mark Chira says:

    This is great i can imagine the taste

  3. Kristine Brabson says:

    I bought some of Kashi's new pumpkin bars last week. I wasn't a huge fan of the topping, but do enjoy their chewy granola bars for an occasional snack.

  4. J. Patrick says:

    I like Fiber One oats and chocolate–140 calories and 9 grams of fiber.

  5. Cathy Weinberg says:

    Found a snack bar I ADORE — the Pure Bar, created by a mom in Michigan! 100% Organic, Raw, Vegan, 1 1/2 servings of fruit, and TOTALLY delicious! Comes in 6 flavors — my favs are Cherry Cashew and Wild Blueberry. website is http://www.thepurebar.com

  6. I love the Kashi pumpkin pie bars too. Special K just put out a 90 calorie pretzels & chocolate bar, not a go to all the time but nice when u need that sweet/salty mix. I also love the Fiber One bars. High fiber, low fat, lower cal.

  7. Abbey says:

    This looks REALLY good.

  8. Lady D says:

    "ThinkThin" white chocolate chip is really good bar too. Created by a working mom trying to manage weight. 20 g protein, 17 minerals and vitamins. Organic, sugar-free, also made from wheat and gluten free. Great choice for people with Celiac Disease and Diabetes.
    Get it @ Whole Foods.

  9. Kristin says:

    I like Fiber One bars….most are 140 calories butthey just came out with a 90 calorie bar…..very tasty!

  10. mlp says:

    Has anyone tried GNU bars??? They are fabulous… 130-140 calories with 12 grms of fiber. I love the Cinnamon Raisin, the Banana and the Espresso bars, but they have other flavors as well. I buy directly from them or on Amazon.

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