Taste Test: Snack Bars

by in Taste Test, January 19, 2010

We suggested some of our top snack bar picks before; now we’re testing out a few of your favorites. See which common snack bars came out on top.

For this taste test, we stuck to our usual 5-point scale (with 5 being the most yummy and nutritious). To keep things on an even playing field, we chose only nut and honey-flavored bars and paid closest attention to taste, calories, fat and added sugars. As for the cost, prices range from about $0.50 to $1.50 per bar. Some bars were sold in boxes of 6 or 8, and others were sold individually.

Kashi Honey Almond Flax Chewy Granola Bar
Rating: 4.5
Nutrition Info: 140 calories; 5 grams fat; 5 grams sugar
Our Take: A thumbs-up snack bar all around, this one is made with a variety of whole grains like brown rice, rye, wheat and barley and sweetened with brown rice syrup and evaporated cane juice. It’s a bit lacking in the “chewy” department, but that’s because it’s chock full of almonds.

Nature Valley – Oats n’ Honey Bar
Rating: 4
Nutrition Info: 180 calories; 6 grams fat; 11 grams sugar
Our Take: This is the classic go-to bar that you can find in almost any vending machine, grocery store, airport or gas station. It’s made with whole grain rolled oats (which provide 2 grams of fiber) and heart-healthy nuts and canola oil. While it’s a smart choice in the snack machine, this one did rank second highest in sugar as it’s sweetened with sugar, honey and brown sugar.

Bear Naked Fruit + Nut Grain-ola Bar

Rating: 3.5
Nutrition Info: 240 calories; 9 grams fat; 15 grams sugar
Our Take: Tasty but overly moist and sticky, this bar provides 15% of your daily fiber thanks to the oats, fruit and ground flax seeds; it’s sweetened with a combo of dates, maple syrup, honey and tapioca syrup. The Bear Fruit Bar is a bit high in calories and fat but like granola, a lot of this comes from good-for-you-ingredients such as nuts, coconut and other dried fruits. (If you can’t find this in your average grocery store, check out your health food store instead.)

LARABAR – Cashew Cookie
Rating: 4
Nutrition Info: 230 calories; 13 grams fat; 18 grams sugar
Our Take: Any time we talk about snack bars people go gaga for LARA. You’ve got to love a bar with only two ingredients — cashews and dates (all their flavors have impressively simple ingredient lists). Eighteen grams of sugar may seem high but every bit of it is coming from natural fruit sugar. NOTE: The calories may be too much for a snack for some folks; you could always eat half and save the rest for later.

Special K – Honey Nut Cereal Bar
Rating: 3
Nutrition Info: 90 calories; 2 grams fat; 7 grams sugar
Our Take: You can’t miss Special K at the supermarket or in those TV ads, but this bar has a laundry list of processed ingredients. With virtually no fiber to speak of and sweetened with corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, sugar and a tiny smidge of honey, it may be tasty but it will most certainly leave you hungry.

Here are some more you might consider trying:
Thumbs up: Cascadian Farms Almond Butter Crunchy Granola Bar
Thumbs down: Quaker Chewy 90 Calories – Low Fat Oatmeal Raisin

TELL US: What bar do you snack on?

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Comments (43)

  1. Clif and Luna have a new line of protein bars that are worth checking out. Watch out, though, because they aren't vegan, which is something that a lot of Clif's other products are. I've also been trying out Primal Strips instead of bars lately. They're low sugar, high protein, pocket soy or seitan jerky.

  2. @jbontrager says:

    I am currently eating the Cascadian Farms Almond Butter bar and I love it! It has the perfect hint of almond flavor which I love. It also is packed with fiber and organic, pricey though.

  3. katie b says:

    I have recently been looking for bars that are snack appropriate and not full of sugar. The kashi bars are always a good but I have also found the KIND bars and the Clif Mojo bars to be good picks!

  4. @Snack_Girl_ says:

    My favorite is the lara bar – but I don't really love snack bars as much as apples! Check out http://www.snack-girl.com/ for other great heatlhy snacks.

  5. Aly says:

    My favorites are the Kashi Dark Chocolate Almond and Kashi Peanut Butter with Chocolate. I think they have like 170 or 180 calories are called Kashi CRUNCH or something. I can't remember, its been awhile since I've purchased them due to a tighter budget!

  6. Erin says:

    One of my favorite snack bars is the Chocolate Peppermint Stick Luna bar – it totally sastifies that afternoon sweet craving!

  7. Diana H says:

    My favorite is the South Beach Caramel Peanut Crispy Meal Bar. They are SO good. 180 calories, 5g fat, 4g fiber, 5g sugar, 12g protein and no high fructose corn syrup.

  8. Julie says:

    Kashi's Trail Mix bar has all my love.

  9. kathi says:

    I love Shaklee's Cinch bars. they are deelish! 10 g protein, 3 g fiber, only 9 g carbs and no artificial sweeteners or anything! lemon cranberry, peanut butter, and chocolate flavors.

  10. julo says:

    I love love love the Kashi bars! Whole grains, good sugars, great taste. They're the whole package. I haven't tried the chewy ones, but the regular granola bars are fantastic.

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