Snack bars rated for nutrition, taste

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The most overcrowded section of your grocery store may well be the snack bar aisle. (KFSN)

The most overcrowded section of your grocery store may well be the snack bar aisle. Snack bars are a handy, grab-and-go food. But there's a difference between those that are healthy and the ones that have a lot of sugar and saturated fat. Consumer Reports evaluated 28 bars and rated them for nutrition and taste.

Lots of bars boast about their protein content. But watch out for "soy protein isolate" when it's listed as the first ingredient. It's a processed ingredient that manufacturers put in to boost the protein content. It's better to get most of your protein from natural sources, such as nuts.

Testers found some standouts, including the Kind Plus Cranberry Almond bar. It's top-rated and costs $1.25. It has whole almonds, macadamia nuts, and dried cranberries. The nuts add some fat, so eat in moderation.

Abound Pomegranate and Cranberry from CVS is a Best Buy at 80 cents. The bars are chewy, with a mix of oats, almonds, cranberries, and blueberries, and were Rated Very Good for nutrition.

The Chunky Peanut Butter Chocolate bar from Raw Revolution is $1.60. It's dense and chewy, with a good balance of chocolate, peanuts, and dates. It has 6 grams of protein, and though it does have 12 grams of fat, very little of it is saturated fat.

If you're tempted to grab a snack bar instead of breakfast or lunch, Consumer Reports says make it a real meal by pairing it with a banana and a small container of yogurt. You'll get the healthy benefits of a meal for about 400 calories.

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