You can find cereal bars on the counters of grocery stores, gas stations and even some coffee shops reminding us that breakfast is an important meal. The question is: Are they healthy? In short, they can be. Having breakfast is the key to having a good metabolism and energy level throughout the day. If you choose wisely a breakfast bar can be a good grab-and-go breakfast option.
Here are some tips on picking out a healthy bar
- Make sure that the cereal or granola bar you choose does not contain any trans fat.
- Choose a bar with whole grains as the first ingredients.
- Be aware of the amount of sugar in the cereal bar you choose. Try to avoid bars with a lot of added sugar as they can turn out to be more of a dessert than a breakfast (Note: Bars with fruit in them will have more sugar since fruit contains natural sugar. Look at the ingredient list to figure out the source of sugar.)
- Lastly, if you plan to have this be the only thing you eat for breakfast make sure to get one with some protein and probably 200 calories or more so it will keep you full for a longer time.
If you like to cook, try making your own variety. I usually don't post recipes I've never made but this one looked like a good option and since I've never made homemade breakfast bars I thought I would link it in case others wanted to try it too (I'll definitely let you know how they taste after I make them and please post any good recipes you have).
A Few Commercial Breakfast Bars & Granola Bars broken down
LaraBar –Peanut Butter Cookie (other flavors available)
- 220 calories, 18g sugar (32% calories from sugar) , 4g Fiber, 7g Protein
- All natural, no added sugar and only three ingredients (Dates, Peanuts and salt)
- Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Vegan, Kosher
- 1 bar = ½ serving of fruit
- My Vote: Good Natural Bar choice that has adequate calories and protein to keep you feeling full longer. Higher in fat and sugar but both from natural sources (the peanuts and dates). This is my absolute favorite as it is made from whole ingredients and keeps you satisfied.
Kashi TLC (Tasty Little Cereal) Cereal Bars- Ripe Strawberries (other flavors available)
- 110 calories, 9g Sugar (32.7% calories from sugar), 3g Fiber, 2g Protein
- Contains 7 whole grains
- Made with real fruit
- My Vote: Good option to have before work or in the car to get you started but likely isn't enough calories to sustain you until lunch. Try pairing it with a glass of milk, piece of fruit, yogurt or nuts if you plan to have it keep you full until lunch.
Quaker Oatmeal To Go Bars- Brown Sugar and Cinnamon (other flavors available)
- 220 calories, 19g Sugar (34.5% calories from sugar) 5g Fiber, 4g Protein
- 20% of your daily Vitamin A, B6, Calcium and Iron
- First ingredient is whole grain rolled oats (second ingredient is high fructose corn syrup)
- Also, available are Oatmeal To Go High Fiber Bars with 210 calories, 13g Sugar, 4g Protein, 10g Fiber
- My Vote: More substantial in calories so it will likely last you longer although the second and third ingredients are added sugars. They are a dense bar and feel more like a meal and they can be heated and taste good warm. If you are going to choose this one I'd recommend going with the High Fiber version since it contains less sugar and more fiber.
Nutri-Grain SuperFruit Fusion Flavored Cereal Bars-Cherry Pomegranate (other flavors available)
- 130 calories, 13g sugar (40% calories from sugar), 3g Fiber, 2g Protein
- First ingredient is whole grain oats then whole wheat flour
- Contains Antioxidant rich fruits
- My Vote: Good option before work or in the car to get your day started. Also, a great option for a mid morning or afternoon snack. Like the Kashi TCL Bar they likely will not supply enough calories or protein to keep you energized until your next meal. Try having some mixed nuts, a piece of fruit, glass of milk or a yogurt along with it.
Fiber One Bar- Oats &Chocolate (other flavors available)
- 140 calories, 10g sugar (28.5% calories from sugar), 9g Fiber, 2g Protein
- Great source of Fiber and made with whole grains
- Contains the least sugar compared to the other bars shown today but most has been added and is not from a natural source such as added fruit.
- ~140 calories, 2g Protein, 9g Fiber, 10g Sugar
- My Vote: A great option for people with a sweet tooth as it tastes like a candy bar or cookie. This bar also packs in a lot of fiber without a lot of calories and will keep you full longer than some other bars on the market. I will warn people that the fiber used makes some people feel gassy. Try half a bar first before consuming an entire bar in one sitting to see how you feel.