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Battle of the Nutrition Bars: Healthy Choice Cheat Sheet

January 20, 2014

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You’re running errands and all of the sudden hunger strikes. Ideally you’ve packed a healthy homemade snack, but in the case that you didn’t, you’re faced with pre-packaged convenience store products.

I’m grateful that convenience and drug stores have started supplying a wider variety of healthy snack options such as nutrition bars, but it can be overwhelming and confusing to try to find the ones that are satisfying and nutritious.

Caveat emptor – let the buyer beware! Not all nutrition bars are created equal. “Organic” and “raw” doesn’t always mean healthy, and one bar does not always equal one serving. When purchasing, be sure to always look at the ingredients and nutrition facts.

First, check how many servings are in your bar. If it’s two, enjoy half and save the rest for later. Refined sweeteners, trans-fats, and artificial ingredients including colors, flavors, and preservatives often find their way into these portable snacks. Hint: if you can’t pronounce it, it probably doesn’t belong in your body! 

Your lifestyle and preferences will influence the type of bar that’s best for you, but in general, try to find bars that contain heart healthy fats from nuts and seeds and slow-burning carbohydrates from whole grains and fruit. These whole ingredients will keep you fuller longer and are the next best thing to a homemade snack.

Here’s a cheat sheet of a few of my favorite nutrition bars.

Pure Cherry Cashew

Why I love it: This bar is the perfect combination of sweet and nutty.  I feel like I’m getting a dessert while I’m actually having a really healthy, nourishing snack.  There are only 7 ingredients, all of which I can pronounce. Pure’s bars are certified organic, non-GMO, gluten free, and vegan. I’m also a fan of Apple Cinnamon, Wild Blueberry, and Chocolate Brownie flavors.

Apricot Goji Rise Bar   

Why I love it: Rise Bars give me the burst of energy I need to finish up my errands and make it from lunch to dinner. I love the superfood addition of goji berries for a kick of antioxidants to keep me healthy. Rise Bars are gluten-free, 100% organic, vegan-friendly, and free of preservatives, GMOs, and sulfured fruit. Other flavors from Rise are Blueberry Coconut, Coconut Acai, and Raspberry Pomegranate. 

LÄRABAR

Why I love it: LÄRABAR has 20 varieties of their healthy bars made with unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices. None have more than nine ingredients.  My favorite flavors replicate my favorite desserts like carrot cake and blueberry muffins. LÄRABARs are ideal for a number of dietary preferences including gluten free, kosher, vegetarian. Most are soy free, too!

Amazing Almond Bumble Bar

Why I love it: I’m crazy about almonds, so the bits of my favorite nut combined with the sesame flavors make this chewy bar a go-to for me.  Not only are Bumble Bars certified, organic, vegan, and gluten free, but they’re also ethically sourced making it a feel good food. I also love the Classic Cashew, Chai Almond, and original Bumble Bar. 

Of course, the best option is to make your own bars before you leave the house. Try these grain-free homemade Lara bars from Dinner with Julie! 

What do you reach for when hunger strikes?