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granola bars

We Tried It: New Snack Bars From Luna and Kind

Written on June 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm , by

How do some of the new bars stack up? (Photo by Claire Benoist)

New snack bars seem to pop up on supermarket shelves nearly every week. With so many options, it’s hard to know which are worth your money—and calories. Recently, readers and staff members chewed and scored for our best bar food awards, and since then a few new items have caught our eye. The FITNESS team did the tasty work of testing out the latest in the Luna Fiber and Kind lines. Read on for their honest feedback!

Luna Fiber Vanilla Blueberry

  • “I loved the rich blueberry taste and at 110 calories, it’s a great go-to snack for my 3 p.m. munchies.” — Kathy Green, managing editor

Luna Fiber Chocolate Raspberry

  • “For 110 calories, I think you might as well have a real cookie. I really like the crunchy Luna bars, so I was surprised at the over-syrupy, artificial taste.” — Betty Wong, editor in chief

Luna Fiber Peanut Butter Strawberry

  • “I immediately noticed the strawberry flavor, then the peanut butter hit my taste buds after. This would be a good on-the-go treat before hitting the gym.” — Samantha Shelton, editorial assistant

Kind Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt

  • “The first bite was so flavorful and had a lot of depth. It was crunchy and is truly one of the best bars I’ve ever had. I have to buy a crate and keep them in my fridge.” — Lapo Belmestieri, freelance designer

Kind Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan

  • “This tasted like French toast drizzled in dark chocolate!” — Colleen Moody, web editor

Kind Cashew & Ginger Spice

  • “It’s nice and crunchy, and since it’s mostly nuts, you could tell that it doesn’t have the filler junk that a lot of snack bars do. It wasn’t too sweet, which I like, but it was filling. Even half would be a good post-workout snack!” — Lisa Turner, editorial intern

Now tell us: What are your favorite snack/breakfast/energy bars?

Food Fight: Best and Worst Cereal Bars

Written on November 22, 2011 at 11:25 am , by

 

granola bar

Photo by iStock

By Maggie Badore for DietsInReview.com

Granola has become synonymous with healthy eating, so many granola bars and cereal bars enjoy this same health halo. However, it doesn’t take a lot of label reading to uncover the fact that many cereal bars are too high in sugar to be considered a nutritious choice.

But are all cereal bars out when it comes to grabbing a quick breakfast or snack? This round of Food Fight compares some of the most popular products and some general guidelines for what to look for in a bar.

“It’s important to read the ingredients list to see that a whole grain like oats is listed first,” says Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN, author of Nutrition At Your Fingertips. She recommends avoiding cereal bars that have sugar listed in the top three or four ingredients. “You may have to consider the granola bar as a little bit of a treat, since it likely provides at least a few grams of added sugar as well. Aliases for added sugar include corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, sucrose, and/or syrup.”

As a general rule of thumb, Zied says you should look for bars that have 100 to 150 calories, fewer than 10 grams of sugar, fewer than two grams of saturated fat, no trans fat and at least three grams of fiber.

Cereal Bar Breakdowns:

Special K

  • Example Flavor: Honey Nut
  • Per Bar: 90 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 6 grams sugar, 1 gram protein, 3 grams fiber

Fiber One

  • Example Flavor: Oats & Chocolate
  • Per Bar: 140 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 10 grams sugar, 2 grams protein, 9 grams fiber

Health Valley Organic

  • Example Flavor: Apple Cobbler
  • Per Bar: 130 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 16 grams sugar, 2 grams protein, 3 grams fiber

Quaker Fruit & Oatmeal Fiber & Omega-3

  • Example Flavor: Dark Chocolate Chunk
  • Per Bar: 150 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 7 grams sugar, 2 grams protein, 9 grams fiber

Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain

  • Example Flavor: Strawberry
  • Per Bar: 120 calories, 0.5 grams saturated fat, 11 grams sugar, 2 grams protein, 3 grams fiber

Winner: Special K

The Special K cereal bars win out for being the lowest in sugar and also in calories, and they also contain as much protein as the other competitors compared here.

Runner Up: Fiber One

You would think that fiber would be a major nutrient in a cereal bar, however Fiber One is the only bar that really has a serious serving. Keep in mind that the American Dietetic Association recommends that you eat 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day.

Overall, it’s important to keep in mind that cereal bars and granola bars are a highly processed food with additives you should avoid. For meal-replacement diets, like Nutrisystem, they are a staple. They may be a good source of quick energy when you’re going on a long hike or running long distances, but someone who’s looking to lose weight may do better to snack on fresh fruit or veggies for a biggest dose of nutrients and more filling fiber.

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