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. Jennifer says:

    I used to eat snack bars all the time, or at least kept them handy. I would stick with something like the Lara Bars, they are pretty much as "natural" as a snack bar can be…. with the least amount of ingredients. I don't follow the calorie, sugar, fat intake on labels, I mostly concentrate on what the food contains then decide if I want to put that into my body.

  2. cooper says:

    18 rabbits is also a great one…they aren't 100% organic…but they use all local ingredients and are made here in the bay area and they have super yummy flavors, my favorite are haute diggity date and funky figs and cherries!! check them out at http://www.18rabbits.com/index.html

  3. laurak123 says:

    love the chocolate peanut butter kashi bar with high protein and fibre content!!!

  4. KatieC says:

    Luna and Clif bars! I like Luna Sunrise, regular old Luna, Clif, and Z bars. None of them leave the nasty aftertaste you get with some bars, and are made with 70% organic ingredients. I also like Odwalla bars, but if you want something a bit sweet, Luna or Z bars are the way to go.

  5. monk says:

    Uncle Rick's omg! bars, hands down the best!

  6. Jenne says:

    I can't believe I'm pointing this out but, with only "two ingredients – dates and cashews" held together? there has to be something holding the larabar together; otherwise it wouldn't be a bar but simply a handful of nuts and fruit… So there has to be some kind of sugar or SOMETHING holding the bar together; so I fail to trust that there are truly "only two ingredients."

  7. Jenne says:

    *how is it held together; sorry for the typo.

  8. DaveW says:

    I eat a Kashi Honey Almond Flax every morning, to me they taste more like pure ingredients than any of the others. Also, I'm partial to Almonds and they are chock full of whole and pieces of almonds. A couple of others I like are the South Beach Berries and the Fiber One Oats and Chocolate when I'm looking for something sweeter.

  9. Cait says:

    Clif and Luna are my go-to bars but I also enjoy all things Kashi as well as Larabars and Probars! Can you tell I eat a lot of energy bars!? Haha

  10. Linette says:

    I just tried the new Dark Mocha Almond bars from Kashi and they are fantastic!

    130 calories, 3.5g fat, 4 g fiber and 6g protein. Coffee, chocolate and almonds…what more could you ask for!

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