Taste Test: Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

by in Taste Test, November 2, 2012

granola bars
There are so many brands of this lunch-box classic. Which is best for snacking?

Nutrition
There’s a wide range of granola bar options and an even broader range of ingredients. Some brands do a much better job of making their bars with quality stuff. They all contain some form of sugar (they wouldn’t taste very good without it), but we looked at all the ingredients very carefully to evaluate the best options.

The Criteria
For this taste test, we rated chewy chocolate chip bars on taste, ingredients and nutritional information—focusing on calories, fat and sugar. We rated each on a 5-point scale (5 being the highest).

Cascadian Farms Organic Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bar
Rating: 4
Cost: $0.78 per bar
Nutrition Info (35 gram bar): 140 calories; 3.5 grams of fat; 12 grams of sugar
Our Take: A nice looking ingredient list, ample chocolate chips and a super chewy (almost too chewy) texture. Sweetened with brown rice syrup, sugar, dextrose and barely malt extract, there was plenty of sweet chewiness in this bar.

Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip
Rating: 3
Cost: $ 0.52 per bar
Nutrition Info (24 gram bar): 100 calories; 3 grams of fat; 7 grams of sugar
Our Take: Honestly, these taste good, but the quality of ingredients leaves a lot to be desired. They had nice texture, but were VERY sweet and contain lots of highly processed ingredients.

Annie’s Organic Chocolate Chipper
Rating: 2
Cost: $ 0.77 per bar
Nutrition Info (28 gram bar): 120 calories; 3.5 grams of fat; 6 grams of sugar
Our Take: These bars tasted flat and stale with virtually no chocolate chips to be found. Made with healthy oils and ingredients that looked good on paper; I love many Annie’s products but this bar was disappointing.

Nature’s Path Chococonut Chewy Dark Chocolate Granola Bar
Rating: 3.5
Cost: $0.96 per bar
Nutrition Info (35 gram bar): 140 calories; 4.5 grams of fat; 11 grams of sugar
Our Take: These babies were highest in fat thanks to the addition of dried coconut and coconut flour, but there was no outward coconut flavor. Coconut is actually a common ingredient in granola, so it’s often found in granola bars. This was the priciest bar tested and they were sweetened with mostly evaporated cane juice, invert cane syrup and molasses. They had nice chew but not enough chips.

Sunbelt Bakery Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bar
Rating: 4.5
Cost: $0.27 per bar
Nutrition Info (30 gram bar): 140 calories; 5 grams of fat; 9 grams of sugar
Our Take: Perfectly sized for little hands, these bars were the yummiest of the bunch. They had wonderfully chewy texture and were filled with chocolate chips. No shortage of added sweeteners here (sugar, coconut, molasses and corn syrup), but they didn’t taste overly sweet.

Fiber One Chocolate Chewy Bar
Rating: 1
Cost: $0.60 per bar
Nutrition Info (28 grams bar): 100 calories;  3 grams of fat; 8 grams of sugar
Our Take: Not a fan of these overly sweet and highly processed bars. The first ingredient is chicory root, a “faux fiber” used to boost the fiber content. The markings on the box suggest “good for the whole family” but I wouldn’t give these to my kids.

Honorable Mention
Kashi Cherry Dark Chocolate
We left these guys out because the dried cherries made them too different from the others we tested, but they are yummy. A decent ingredient list, great texture, and lots of chocolate chips  – a delish choice.

Tell Us: What’s your favorite chewy chocolate chip granola bar?

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