Finding the Right Breakfast Bars
These types of food bars are often referred to as “cereal bars.” Instead of being packed with nuts, granola, or oodles of protein like snack or energy bars, they typically have a softer texture and may try to replicate some common American breakfast foods like pastries and cereal. Some varieties have fruit fillings or icing on top, which might be a sign of high amounts of sugar.
Any kind of food bar provides grab-and-go convenience and portion control; this definitely makes them handy for a fast breakfast or a between-meal snack. Just walk through your grocery store, and you'll see that there’s an astounding range of choices -- some healthy and some not so much!
Most breakfast bars range from 90 to 150 calories. This isn’t really enough calories for breakfast, so if you do choose a bar like this, eat it with some fresh fruit, non-fat or low-fat yogurt or a glass of milk to complete the meal.
When it comes to the ingredients, look for products that include items you can pronounce. I found a lot of these packaged bars are loaded with sweeteners and preservatives.
- Whole grains for nutrients and fiber
- Real fruit
What you DO want:
- Sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup or corn syrup
- Saturated fat from palm oil
What you DON’T want:
I did some research to find the highest quality bars out there; here are a few that I like:
- Kashi TLC Baked Apple Spice Cereal Bar – 100 calories, 3 grams fiber
- Health Valley Organic Blueberry Cobbler Bar – 140 calories, 1 gram fiber
- Trader Joe's "This Fig Walks into a Bar" Cereal Bar - 120 calories, 0.5 gram fiber
- Barbara’s Fruit & Yogurt Bar: Cherry Apple – 150 calories, 1 gram fiber
- Nature’s Choice Cereal Bar: Triple Berry - 150 calories, 3 grams fiber
When you do make them yourself, you get to control the quality of the ingredients (no high fructose corn syrup in these recipes!) and pick and choose your favorite flavors. You probably don’t have time to whip up a batch of these in the morning before you head out to work, so cook them ahead of time. Wrap them individually and store in the pantry, fridge or freezer. Or pop a few in a plastic baggie and keep them in your desk at work.