The Hunt for Healthy Snack Bars – Nature Valley
So my son was recently diagnosed with high-cholesterol. This has motivated the whole family to eat healthier, hoping that he can control this mostly inherited problem at least enough to avoid needing medicine.
Of course, we’ve cut out saturated fat by being careful about what meats and oils we cook with, but we’re also trying to exclusively eat whole grains instead of processed grains. This has been challenging but not impossible. Lots of healthy whole grain options are out there if you know where to look. We’ve been relying a lot on Nature Valley crunch bars, with Larabars and KIND bars thrown in there when there are sales. However, I would like to take our snacks in the next healthy direction, which is making sure that sugar and various forms of sweetener are not one of the main ingredients, which for now will mean they’re not listed as one of the top 3 ingredients. Perhaps once we master that, we’ll be able to move sugar back beyond the 5th ingredient spots, but baby steps…
What I want to do is compare different brands and different bars within brands to see both the nutritional information, especially calories and saturated fat, and ingredients, focusing not only on the sugar content but also on whether or not the ingredients are mainly whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fruits.
Today, I’ll start with Nature Valley since their Crunchy Oats and Honey bars have been staples around here for awhile (even before we found out about the cholesterol issue).
Nature Valley – Crunchy
The crunchy bars below are by far our favorite, so I looked up their nutritional information from the Nature Valley website:
Oats ‘n Dark Chocolate
Oats ‘n Honey
Love that whole grains are the first ingredient and that the pecan ones have actual nuts in them. As you can see, though, sugar is the second ingredient. Bummer. Plus, there’s brown sugar syrup later in the list. No wonder we love them so much!
Nature Valley – Protein
We’ve only ever had these two varieties, but based on the nutritional information, we might be switching over to these from the crunchy variety.
Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate
Peanut, Almond, & Dark Chocolate
Although these have more saturated fat, likely from the peanuts and almonds, they are full of healthy fats and have more protein and fiber than the crunchy versions. Sugar is the 5th ingredient, so this bar would only be a temporary solution. However, it should serve as a good transition.
Nature Valley – Sweet and Salty
Dark Chocolate, Peanut, and Almond
We’ve never tried these that I can remember, but they looked similar to the protein bars above, so I thought I’d check out their information to see if they would be an alternative.
Second ingredient is corn syrup. Third ingredient is sugar. I bet they’re delicious 🙂
Sadly, though, they don’t meet the criteria, so not an option.
Protein Bars are the way to go for now, as far as Nature Valley is concerned. I like Nature Valley because I can find them in the regular granola bar isle and not the health food section, which makes them much more affordable!
I hope to have similar posts in the future feature different brands like Larabars, Luna Bars, KIND, Quaker, Clif, etc.
What’s your favorite healthy nut, seed, fruit, and whole grain bar?