Seemingly healthy, granola bars can have hidden health facts that will leave your diet singing the blues.
- Look for granola bars with a whole grain, like oats, as the first ingredient. Limit your selection to bars with 200 calories or less.
- Watch the sugar. Granola can pack a lot of the sweet stuff, even if it's called brown rice syrup or organic evaporated cane juice. Keep your daily intake within 25 to 38g.
- Avoid bars that contain trans fat or hydrogenated oils.
BEST CHOCOLATE: Nature Valley Dark Chocolate & Nut Chewy Trail Mix Bar, $2.69 (1 box, 6 bars)
Chunks of rich, semisweet dark chocolate, chewy raisins, and roasted peanuts push this option toward candy bar territory. But don't worry; it's much better for you, with about half the sugar of a typical candy bar. (1 bar: 140 calories; 14g sugar; 1g fiber)
BEST FRUIT & NUT: Kashi TLC Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bar, $2.79 (1 box, 6 bars)
It's got everything—hunks of almonds, sunflower seeds, raisins, and tart dried cranberries—all wrapped up in a dense, chewy bar that'll satisfy any sweet and salty craving. And with 4g of fiber, it will keep you full till dinner. (1 bar: 140 calories; 6g sugar; 4g fiber)
BEST OATS & HONEY: Nature Valley Oats 'n Honey Crunchy Granola Bar, $3.19 (1 box, 6 packets with 2 bars each)
The classic bar. Nutty toasted oats with sweet honey and a bit of salt for balance made this bar a staff favorite. This is the gold standard for a light, crispy crunch (some brands were almost tooth-shattering). (2 bars: 190 calories; 12g sugar; 2g fiber)