Sitting down and having a healthy breakfast is only a dream for many sleepy students. Tired from pushing through homework assignments late at night, many of us choose to wait until the last possible second in the morning to hop out of bed, frantically get dressed, and grab a granola bar before dashing out the door. Mornings are simply too hectic to include consuming a nourishing breakfast that will properly fuel our bodies to take on the day. It is important, though, to make the most of the granola bar that we do have time to grab and select the best option. I will say that a lot of granola bars and protein bars hide behind titles that describe them as “health” products, and many are simply sugar-laden and quite comparable to a cookie. Here’s an analysis of some grab-and-go options so that you can choose the best one possible!
LÄRABAR’s theme is that the company makes products with just a couple of simple ingredients, mainly dates and nuts. Although these are definitely reasonable foods to consume, it is important to note that LÄRABARs contain a lot of sugar (because of the dates) and only about three to six grams of protein. Although the ingredients are appealing, protein is crucial to start the day, so these bars may be a better choice for an uplifting snack than breakfast. They contain around 200 calories each, and I have found them to be delicious and satisfying. Some of my favorites are the Cherry Pie and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. LÄRABARs are usually a little over a dollar each.
The Clif Bar
Personally, I don’t choose to consume Clif Bars. I have been driven away by their crazy sugar content, which is around 21 grams per bar! The sweetness isn’t from dates, but from sources like brown rice syrup and cane syrup. Consuming some sugar in the morning can be helpful for the energy boost, but sugar also contributes to an energy crash among other issues. The nutrition facts for Clif Bars are also a bit overwhelming; there are a lot of so-called “vitamins and minerals” which help to compose a long list of ingredients. Nevertheless, these bars do contain around ten grams of protein each for around 250 calories. Clif bars are usually between one and two dollars each.
The Real Food Bar
I enjoyed one of these just the other day for breakfast! I was impressed at the minimal ingredients and high protein content at fifteen grams for the peanut butter flavor. The majority of the protein was from sources such as pea protein and peanut butter. These bars also contain ten grams of fiber each, and they are 250 calories. I consider the ten grams of sugar they have to be acceptable, especially since sugar-rich dates constitute part of the sugar content. This bar was quite filling and left me feeling fueled, however I consider it to be an unrealistic option for everyday. It costs around three dollars and is not a product that you are likely to see in many grocery stores.
RXBARs utilize the protein in egg whites to provide you with around twelve grams, which is an important component of breakfast. Although I enjoy the taste of these bars, they can be quite hard and tend to stick to your teeth because of the egg whites. They are definitely not for everyone, especially if you are not used to the taste and texture of a typical protein bar. RXBARs have around five grams of fiber, 200 calories, and a mediocre amount of sugar considering the sweetness is from dates. One minor complaint I have about these bars is that the “simple ingredients” featured on the front of the packaging are not found alone. Although the additional couple of ingredients are still pretty acceptable, I find this tactic to be slightly deceiving. One of the common extra ingredients in these bars is “natural flavors”, and I am always concerned at the vagueness of that ingredient. RXBARs are usually between one and two dollars.
The Wegmans Wholesum Bar
Personally, I do not find these bars to be very satisfying. They are a bit sticky, and they are not that filling (although, they are pretty large). The sugar content varies depending on if the bar has chocolate, and bars are a little over 200 calories. Flavors that do contain chocolate coating are a bit of a turnoff health-wise. Many bars are accompanied by an ingredient list that is a little long, and the protein content is subpar at around five or six grams. At only about a dollar each, however, none of these factors are terribly disappointing, so this is an okay option.
The KIND Breakfast Bar
Although I don’t generally eat them, I would not recommend the Kind Breakfast Bars as a good way to start your day. One serving has around eight to eleven grams of sugar with only three to five grams of protein. It is always sketchy when companies use several sources of sweetener in a product, as this tactic is often used to make a bar to appear to have less sugar than other ingredients when a person reads the ingredient list. These bars have around 200 calories and are around a dollar each. They might taste good, but I would stay away from them for breakfast.
The Chewy Bar
Chewy bars are yummy, however they have little nutritional value to fuel you through your morning at 100 calories, seven grams of sugar, and only one lowly gram of protein. The price is very low, but one thing to consider is that these provide only half the calories of the other bars I have critiqued. The ingredients list is long and contains many sources of sugar. Sugar would probably be the majority of your breakfast if you reached for one of these! I would not recommend reaching for a Chewy Bar for breakfast.
Photo Courtesy of Thirty Handmade Days
LÄRABAR, Clif Bar & Company, Real Food Bar, RXBAR, Wegmans, KINDSnacks, Quaker Oats