Taste Test: Snack Bars
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Thumbs down: Quaker Chewy 90 Calories – Low Fat Oatmeal Raisin