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Three Tips to Choose a Healthy Granola Bar

Granola bars are easy “grab and go” snack options. They are ready to eat, easy to carry around, and don’t need any refrigeration, which makes them very convenient. However, not all cereal bars are created equally.

With the huge selection of cereal bars in grocery stores, it is becoming harder to make a good choice. Plus, marketing techniques can sometimes trick us! Here are three tips to help you make an informed choice:

  1. Pick your bar carefully

Don’t be taken away with the nutritional information marketed on the package. Think of what you are about to eat. Bars coated with chocolate or yogurt, and those with marshmallows, caramel, and fudge can be similar to candy bars. Even those marketed to contain fruits are not necessarily made with actual fruits; they might simply contain fruit concentrates or fruit purees.

Which brings us to number 2!

  1. Take a look at the list of ingredients

It tells you a lot about the nutritional quality of the bar. By law, companies are required to list ingredients in a certain order: the main ingredients come first in the list. If sugar is listed in the first few ingredients, then the bar you are about to buy contains a significant amount of sugar and is of poor nutritional value.

“Sugar” can also be “hidden” under other names: glucose, glucose-fructose, fructose, honey, molasses, brown syrup, agave syrup, inverted sugar, brown rice syrup, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, etc. Keep an eye out for those ingredients!

Taking this into consideration, we should look for bars whose first listed ingredients are whole and natural, such as: whole cereals (e.g.: whole oats or quinoa), nuts, dried fruits, etc.

  1. Check the nutrition facts table

Some important criteria to consider (per bar):

  • Fibre: at least 2 grams
  • Sugar: maximum of 8-10 grams
  • Total fat: maximum of 5 grams
  • Saturated fat: maximum of 2 grams
  • Protein: at least 2 grams

Tip: when you are comparing two bars, make sure similar serving sizes are used.

Here are some good choices that meet the criteria:

  • Kashi Dark Chocolate Almond and Sea Salt Chewy Granola Bar with Chia
  • Kashi Whole Grain Bars Trail Mix
  • Nature’s Path Flax Plus Granola Bars Pumkin-n-Spice

And you, do you really take the time to choose a nutritious bar?


Joelle Khairallah, P. Dt., M.Sc, nutritionist for Zero Diet

The Zero Diet brand is first and foremost the conviction that healthy eating is a primary factor to attaining a healthy weight and a balanced lifestyle. Thus, we offer nutrition counselling with nutritionists who are members of the OPDQ with our Zero Diet nutrition program in our centers and in companies. We have also developed a healthy frozen food product line that fulfills rigorous nutritional criteria as well as two healthy Zero Diet cookbooks.

Joelle Khairallah, Dt.P., M.Sc.

B.Sc. in Nutrition and Dietetics, Université Notre-Dame-de-Louaizé / M.Sc. in Human Nutrition, McGill University / Nutritionist at Nautilus Plus since October 2013

Three Tips to Choose a Healthy Granola Bar is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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