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. Diane says:

    Kashi GoLean bars are high calorie, but have a good mix of fiber, protein and fat – more of a meal replacement than a hold-me-until-the-next-meal bar… but really good. Also LOVE Gnu bars with their all-nat ingredients 130-140 cals and 12g fiber per bar.

  2. Angie C says:

    I wish you had included price in your comparisons since cost is a big factor for most of us when choosing products. I posted a recipe for a make-it-yourself snack bar on my blog that uses all natural ingredients, costs very little per bar, and is easy to make.

  3. Betsy says:

    The best bars I have eaten are the Clif Nectar bars. They are organic, and for example, the cherry pomegranate bar, has only 150 calories, but equals 2 servings of fruit. The dark chocolate walnut is unreal!

  4. Dani says:

    I LOVE the Nature Valey Oats and Honey! I eat it alone or crush it and mix it into my yogurt every day as a snack!

  5. Vicki says:

    I eat all of the bars listed except Kellogs. I am also eating pure protien bar currently and soy joy with fresh fruit for lunch at work. High protien, low in sugar and enough calories to get by on.

  6. Eljay says:

    I just read your comment on the Nature Valley Oat & Honey bar. What you failed to mention was that the nutritional facts you quoted were for 2 bars not 1. Are the other brands' nutritional breakdown for 1 or for 2 bars?

  7. Candace says:

    I love Fiber One Bars! They have a higher sugar content then some, but are absolutely delicious, full of fiber, and very filling– ALL flavors are great!

  8. Adam says:

    Lara, Clif, and Kashi are my go-to bars, they’re all great.. all their spin offs are good as well, like the Lara Jocalat bars, Clif Mojo, and Clif Nectar.. Clif also just came out with Clif C bars, which are pretty much like Larabars, just a little smaller and with bigger pieces of fruit and nuts.. Luna bars are also a good bet

  9. GailA says:

    I love the Kashi Bars the most. But I buy the Nature's Valley, because they are so much cheaper. The Kashi bars with coconut & dark chocolate are soooo good as a snack. But they are a smaller bar.

  10. Shelly says:

    I love the Chex Mix Bars (turtle flavor). 130 calories, 3.5 g of fat, and 11 g sugar. Delicious

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