Health Food or Impostor?

The definition of granola bar as stated on reads:

Granola Bar – cookie bar made of granola; any of various small, flat, sweet cakes
According to Urban Dictionary, Granola is a free-spirited, environmentally aware, open-minded person with an organic and natural emphasis on living and foods.
I think we chose to emphasize the “natural” and “organic” from the second definition to justify our love for granola bars as a health food. Don’t get me wrong, I eat my fair share of granola (especially our homemade granola at the resort!) and granola bars. However, the trick is to look for ones that are made with less sugar and fat. In other words, avoiding the disguised candy bars.
I came across this article the other day, “Granola bars: A healthy snack or dressed up junk food?” which opened my eyes to just how similar some of these snack bars are to the sweets we avoid because we know they are not the best choice. Below are a couple of the shocking comparisons. It turns out most granola bars are just another food with a misleading health halo around it.
One 46g Peanut Butter Nature Valley Granola Bar contains 230 calories, 11g fat, 1150mg sodium, 11g sugar
One 45g Kit Kat Bar contains 230 calories, 12g fat, 35mg sodium, 22g sugar
One 30g All-Bran cereal bar contains 130 calories and 6g of fat, and nearly 2 teaspoons of sugar
Two Oreo cookies containing 120 calories and 5g of fat, and just over 2 teaspoons of sugar
Another Imposter: Most muffins are cupcakes minus the frosting (look at the similar ingredients)…
Consider making your own so you know what you are putting into it!
A few that I would recommend, both granola and energy bars, include…
Kashi Pumpkin Pie Spice and Almond Crunch crunchy granola bars, Lara Bar (some can be higher in calories), Odwalla, Cliff mini bars, Cascadian Farms (Almond Butter and Harvest Spice) crunchy bars, Luna bars, Kind bars, and Pure bars.
While some may still be high in sugar, it is mainly coming from a natural source such as dried fruit and dates. In addition, the fats are mostly from unsaturated sources vs. saturated and trans fats found in candy bars.
I also would not recommend these as “always” foods, but they do make a nice “sometime” snack instead of relying on vending machines or other convenience processed foods.
Krista Haynes, R.D.