Granola bars, healthy snack or unhealthy treat?

July 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
When you find yourself eating on the run, snack and granola bars can make a perfect grab-and-go snack.

They are portable, tasty, and you feel like you're making a healthier choice. But consumer reports finds that that isn't always so.

Experts at consumer reports say if you're satisfying your hunger with a snack bar, choose wisely. They evaluated two dozen in strawberry, chocolate, and peanut butter flavors.

"It doesn't matter if it's called a protein bar, a cereal bar, granola bar, we did find big differences in nutrition," said Ellen Klosz from Consumer Reports.

And there are big differences in taste, too, even within brands. Take clif bars.

Clif Builder's 20 gram protein chocolate peanut butter tasted vitamin-y, chalky, and gritty. Nutritionally, more than half the fat is saturated in the Clif Builder protien bar. Although the bar is larger than most, it was the most expensive, it tested at $1.30 per serving.

But its sibling the Clif Crunch Chocolate Chip Granola Bar, cost less than half that. It rated good for nutrition, and very good for taste, with honey notes and crispy, toasted grains.

When it came to the two nature valley bars, they were consistent for flavor. Sweet and Salty Nut and Crunchy Oats 'n Dark chocolate rated very good for taste, though weren't the best for nutrition.

So make sure you take a moment to check a bar's label, before you grab and go.

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