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A Guide to Healthy Granola Bars for Kids

healthy granola bars

One of the most popular snacks for kids are granola bars. But how do you find healthy granola bars for kids?

Snacks rule—on the field, and at home. While healthy snacking isn’t always easy–your kids care about how food tastes and you care about the quality of nutrition they’re eating–making thoughtful choices can prevent unhealthy snacks from taking over your child’s diet.

While granola bars can be both nutritious and taste-friendly, they also can be a fat and sugar trap.

Granola bars can be nutritious, but they can also be a sugar and fat trap. A Guide to Healthy Granola Bars. Click To Tweet

A Guide to Healthy Granola Bars

Let’s face it, not all granola bars are created equal. And if you’re like most parents, you need a granola bar guide that helps you make the best choice for your child.

Walk through the cereal aisle and you might be amazed at the variety and breadth of granola bar offerings. It’s quite a market!

You might even be overwhelmed by the many different granola bar offerings: crunchy, soft, chocolate- or peanut butter-dipped, high protein, high fiber and more.

The granola bar aisle can make your head spin! If not, it will at least make you question which one to buy.

I think it’s time to showcase a guide for healthy granola bars to help you choose the healthiest granola bars for your family. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

Sugar

It makes sense that granola bars covered in chocolate would be high in sugar. But others are more sublime. The truth is, some granola bars resemble the makings of a candy bar.

Healthy Rule: To keep the sugar in check, choose granola bars that have less than 10 grams of sugar per serving.

Calories

For the most part, families use granola bars as a snack, so the calories need to reflect the level of calories suitable for a child’s snack: about 100-200 calories per snack.

Some granola bars are just too high in calories to justify themselves as a child’s snack.

Healthy Rule: To keep the calories in check, chose a granola bar with less than 180 calories per bar.

Fat

If you’ve ever made homemade granola bars, you know a considerable amount of fat—oil or butter—goes into these gooey treats.

Naturally, granola bars will inch up in calories because of the fat content. Fat is a high calorie nutrient (9 calories per gram versus 4 calories per gram for protein and carbohydrate).

Granola bars made with nuts will also be higher in fat, even though they are the healthy fats (good for the heart, but still a significant calorie contributor).

There’s also the issue of trans-fats, the unhealthy solid fats that have been shown to contribute to heart disease and other chronic diseases—which, if included in a granola bar, significantly subtract from their health quality.

Healthy Rule: Choose low fat granola bars with 5 or less grams of fat per serving.

Fiber

Granola bars can be a good source of fiber for children, especially in light of their typical fiber intake, which is less than desired.

Healthy Rule: Look for granola bars with more than 3 grams of fiber per serving.

Bonus points

You get extra points for choosing granola bars with a good source of protein, those made from whole grains, and bars that are free from added chemical flavors and food colors or dyes.

Healthy granola bars that make the cut

Clif Z Bar Protein: Peanut Butter Chocolate

Calories: 140

Protein: 5 g

Fat: 4 g

Saturated Fat: 1.5 g

Trans Fat: 0 g

Carbohydrate: 22 g

Sugar: 8 g

Fiber: 3 g

Sodium: 95 mg

Cascadian Farms Organic:

Oatmeal Raisin Granola Bars

Calories: 70

Protein: 1g

Fat: 2g

Saturated Fat: 0g

Trans Fat: 0g

Carbohydrate: 17g

 

Sugar: 7g

Fiber: 3g

Sodium: 65mg

 

Nature’s Path Organic:

Trail Mixer Chewy Granola Bar

Calories: 140

Protein: 3g

Fat: 4g

Saturated Fat: 1g

Trans Fat: 0g

Carbohydrate: 23g

 

Sugar: 9g

Fiber: 3g

Sodium 90mg

 

Plum Organics:

Go Bar Snickerdoodle

Calories: 120

Protein 2g

Fat: 3g

Saturated Fat: 0.5g

Trans Fat: 0g

Carbohydrate: 23g

 

Sugar: 9g

Fiber: 3g

Sodium 105mg

 

Kashi:

Berry Lemonade Chewy Granola Bars

Calories: 130

Protein: 6g

Fat: 1.5g

Saturated Fat: 0g

Trans Fat: 0g

Carbohydrate: 23g

 

 

Sugar: 7g

Fiber: 4g

Sodium: 100mg

 

KIND Healthy Grains Bars:

Oats and Honey with Toasted Coconut

Calories: 150

Protein: 3g

Fat: 4g

Trans Fat: 0g

Saturated Fat: 1.5g

Carbohydrate: 25g

 

Sugar: 7g

Fiber: 3g

Sodium: 95mg

 

 

 

 

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