Finding the Right Snack Bars

Snack bars are an easy choice for everyday munching, but which bars are the healthiest?
snack bars

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Several Granola Bars Isolated on White

Photo by: Andy Dean ©Andy Dean Photography

Andy Dean, Andy Dean Photography

We've talked about how to pick the right energy bars. On the flip side, there are snack bars to choose from, too. Here are some of our favorites.

Snack Bars vs. Energy Bars

Unlike energy bars, snack bars are for between meals. Energy bars tend to be higher in calories and are meant to give more active individuals extra calories and energy -- too much for just a snack.

Many snack bars are made with granola mixes -- that is, a combo of oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit and small amounts of sugar and fat. Some packaged granola bars also add in chocolate, fudge and pieces of candy (most of those wouldn't make our approval list). Dozens of granola and fruit bars are available these days and some are better than others (see our faves below).

Remember, these shouldn't be your go-to snack all the time. Non-fat yogurt, fruit or a handful of nuts are also easy and portable alternatives. It's important to rotate your snacks -- and all foods, really -- to get a variety of nutrients.

What to Look For

If you’re looking to lose weight, choose a bar with less than 150 calories. If you’re just looking to maintain, then go for one with 200 calories or less. There are a few of my favorites (ones marked with an * are a good choice for those trying to lose weight):

Make Your Own

Of course, creating your own low-cal snack bars is often better. You get to pick your ingredients and flavor combos -- plus, less packaging waste.

    Recipes to try:
[Photo: Tom Censani]

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