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FITNESS 2012 Healthy Food Awards: Best Breakfast Bars

Craving an energy boost? We ate our way through dozens of contenders to bring you the best.

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breakfast bars
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
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Raise the Bar

When you're on the go, an energy bar is one of the handiest and healthiest snacks around. But it can be tough to tell the good ones from the candy bars in disguise. No worries -- we did the work for you, enlisting a team of nutritionists to find options with minimal added sugar, 200 or fewer calories, and at least three grams of both fiber and protein per full-size bar­. And then we taste-tested every one! Keep these winners in your purse, gym bag, or desk drawer for a satisfying bite wherever you are.

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Luna Bar Chocolate-Dipped Coconut

This 70-percent-organic bar "taste like a Samoa," the classic chocolate-drizzled Girl Scout cookie, testers told us. No need to pair it with a glass of milk, though: It contains 35 percent of the 1,000 milligrams of calcium you need in a day, plus vitamin D. (190 calories)

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Clif Crunch Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bar

The generous portion -- you get two bars in a serving -- and extra-crunchy texture make this bar a standout. Try crumbling it over low-fat plain Greek yogurt for a delicious, healthy breakfast. (190 calories)

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Balance Bar Bare Blueberry Acai

With 15 grams of protein -- more than any other contender -- this yogurt-coated bar is perfect for post-workout refueling. (200 calories)

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ThinkThin Crunch Fruit & Nut Cranberry Apple & Mixed Nuts

Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan of this gluten-free line of snacks, and it's no wonder: The variety we sampled has nearly half the sugar and about twice the protein of many fruit-and-nut bars. (170 calories)

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Corazonas Blueberry Oatmeal Squares

"Yum! This tastes more like a baked good than a bar," one tester said. Even better, each contains natural plant sterols and 17 grams of whole grains, both of which may help lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol. (180 calories)

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Pure Naturals Peanut-Raisin Crunch Bar

Kill two cravings with one of these salty-sweet snacks. They have a chewy texture that's "like a Snickers bar," testers said, but without the chocolate or the additional 21 grams of sugar. (200 calories)

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Rise Raspberry-Pomegranate Energy + Bar

Numerous testers likened the consistency and "fruity, but not too sweet" flavor of this date-based bar to the filling of a Fig Newton. It's ideal for those who don't eat gluten, dairy, soy, or peanuts. (200 calories)

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Kind Fruit & Nut Delight Mini

Four kinds of nuts give this petite pick a surprising amount of staying power. Eat one a couple of hours before a big meal, when you need to take the edge off your hunger. (108 calories)

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What Makes a Winner

Companies submitted more than 60 new bars to FITNESS. Our experts -- Anar Allidina, RD, a dietitian in private practice in Toronto; Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet; and Marissa Lippert, RD, author of The Cheater's Diet -- analyzed the nutrition facts and ingredients to help us determine which ones deserved to move to the next round of judging. Those finalists were sampled and voted on by dozens of staffers in a blind taste-test.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2012.

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What do you think? Review this slideshow!

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AlexSmith wrote:

I love energy bars and I especially love bluberries. I will certainly try these the next time that I see them. Bar wedding Singapore http://www.boulevard.sg/outlets/number-9

6/3/2014 12:13:58 AM Report Abuse
AlexSmith wrote:

Is this your only blog on this matter? If you have any more blogs or anything on this can you please let me know? I found this blog very enticing.

5/27/2014 06:41:33 AM Report Abuse
milligan1993 wrote:

Is there a reason they have to be sticky sweet? Peanuts and berries do not make for a savory energy bar. Please come up with one that has the rest of us in mind.

4/9/2014 12:57:14 AM Report Abuse
meredithcr wrote:

EXTEND bars (peanut butter chocolate delight): 150 calories, 30 from fat; total fat 3 g, 0 cholesterol, 180 mg NACL, 56 mg K, total carb: 21 g, fiber 5 g, 0 sugar, 11 g protein...made for diabetics, but: http://www.extendbar.com/

7/7/2013 09:09:22 PM Report Abuse
sykes.d1 wrote:

nancy, thanks for that tip

7/26/2012 04:41:07 PM Report Abuse
nancyferland wrote:

Another FYI - if you get tired of clicking on each slide, follow these simple steps. 1. Click on the little printer icon in the information bar above the title. 2. Now you will be on a "special offer" page - look down to the bottom - now click on the "print multiple slides". 3. You will be on another special offer page BUT scroll down - all the slides are available on one page.

7/26/2012 03:56:49 PM Report Abuse
lori.waters1 wrote:

Love the information....but this website drives me crazy. It's SO slow to advance to the next slide, waiting for all the pop-ups to pass! I don't think I ever get through a full article because I lose patience.

7/26/2012 10:32:33 AM Report Abuse
emilyd070 wrote:

happy*

5/26/2012 07:18:45 PM Report Abuse
emilyd070 wrote:

quit complaining about the clicking..no one is forcing you to look at the website...I'm just to have all the great information and recipes for free!

5/26/2012 07:18:14 PM Report Abuse
kdsbody wrote:

Totally agree with too much clicking! Why can't I see thumbnails & then pick the ones I want to view. argh.

5/15/2012 06:40:00 PM Report Abuse
jrh027 wrote:

Thank you for including so many gluten free options! I have celiac disease and must follow a strict gluten free diet. This list has so many bars for me to try for on-the-go (or lying around) snacking.

5/15/2012 06:19:24 PM Report Abuse
Simplyjill22 wrote:

there are better bars out there such as the Quest bars very yummy 20 protein, 19 fiber :)

5/14/2012 07:06:23 PM Report Abuse
stefaniaelise wrote:

Just an FYI: Be sure to check the grams of sugar in each these bars (not just the calories & protein count). I have found ALL bars (minus the Think Thin products) have some form of sugar (if not sugar & sugar alcohols) & there are a few with astronomical amounts of sugar.

5/9/2012 01:21:12 PM Report Abuse
Lucu wrote:

too much clicking

5/9/2012 10:42:31 AM Report Abuse

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