How to read granola bar labels
When shopping for a healthy granola bar, IGNORE front-label claims like “nature” “all-natural” because… they usually don’t mean anything. Food claims on the FRONT of the label are unregulated and often just advertising buzzwords that the company WANTS you to read.
FLIP over the package and look at the NUTRITION LABEL!! The BACK of the package is where all the regulated nutritional information lies to give you REAL insight into the product!
Here’s some criteria to look for ON THE NUTRITION LABEL when shopping for a healthy granola bar:
- ~150-200 calories per bar
- AT LEAST 3 grams of protein or more
- AT LEAST 3 grams of fibre or more
Less than 8 grams of sugar*** (I personally go for no-sugar-added and look for bars sweetened with dates)
***When it comes to sugar in a granola bar, you have to LOOK AT THE INGREDIENTS LABEL to see WHERE the sugar is coming from. If one of the first few ingredients is sugar, you know a lot of calories are coming from sugar, which has no nutrients and won’t provide sustained energy. BUT if the ingredients contain dried fruits, like dates, raisins and apples… then you know the sugar is coming from fruit and you can be more lenient with the grams of sugar in the granola bar!
I made you a handy diagram to help you read your granola bars nutrition labels:
The reality is… it is hard to find granola bars that come close to fitting these criteria (I’ve been trying to find great ones that meet my criteria for years!). Larabars is one of the few that come to mind with a selection of bars that meet my criteria. For each bar, they list exactly how many ingredients are in the product and many are only sweetened by dates! (So although the grams of sugar in the bar are a little higher, in their no-added-sugar bars, they’re coming from fruit sugars, so it’s fine!) Keep in mind, these companies produce a LOT of different types of bars… so GET IN THE HABIT of flipping the package and reading to check the ingredients and sugar… that’s what being a SMART SHOPPER means! 🙂
Kind Snack Bars is another decent brand – note that they DO unfortunately add sugar to their bars – so it’s got more added sugar than Larabars… but still less than a lot of popular granola bars that have up to 20-25 GRAMS of sugar in each bar!!
I hope this quick crash course in reading nutrition labels was helpful… if so, please comment and let us know! I would love to hear from you!
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