The Hunt for Healthy Snack Bars – Kashi
Yesterday, I stopped at Kroger to pick up a few necessities for the weekend: fruit, vegetables, bread, milk. I was getting ready to pass the isle with the snack bars and thought for a second of getting another box of Chocolate Peppermint Stick LUNA bars. (Turns out I DID have to worry about them disappearing. I went to pack one to take to work earlier this week, and they were all gone. I was so disappointed.) However, I thought it was probably better to use one of the Kroger coupons I talked about last time and try a different brand. Kashi’s turn!
As a reminder, when looking at snack bars, my three rules are that
- they should contain whole grains, nuts, and seeds,
- they should be low in saturated fat (preferably less than 3g), and
- added sugars should not be listed in the top 3 ingredients.
No kids this time meant that I could be a little more particular and not just grab one and hope for the best. I’ll start with the two lines of bars that I opted for, though they weren’t necessarily the first boxes I reached for.
Kashi Layered Granola Bars
Peanutty Dark Chocolate
There aren’t many in this layered bar line. One with coconut and one without. Not a fan of coconut, so when in doubt, peanuts and chocolate.
First set of ingredients: whole grains. Score.
Second ingredient: peanuts. Double score.
Third ingredient: date paste. Sold.
Really, the fact that date paste is being used to sweeten this bar thrilled me. When I make “cookies” at home, they are often just nuts, nut butter, and dates food processed together. …speaking of these, I might need to make them this weekend. Anyway…
Beyond the third ingredient, we start to see some other added sweeteners, but these bars meet my current guidelines, including the one about saturated fat. Only 1g.
7g of sugar is a bit high, but I know some of it comes from dates. The kids and I literally just sampled one of these. Tasty, but not a super favorite.
Kashi Chewy Granola Bars
Honey Almond Flax
This is the other box I settled on.
Again, the first three ingredients do not contain sugar. We’ve got whole grains, soy protein crisps, and almonds. There isn’t even enough saturated fat for them to have to include it on the nutrition label. Good protein, a little less sugar. I expected deliciousness, but we tried these immediately after the chocolate layered bars. Ada refused to even try it. “I don’t like plain” (i.e. without a layer of chocolate). Even I thought they had a strange taste to them, but I don’t know how much of that is because we had just sampled the others. At this point, it’s not one I would buy again but will serve us in a pinch.
Chocolate Almond & Sea Salt with Chia
This was actually one of the first boxes I grabbed, but right away, I saw a problem:
Brown rice syrup is the third ingredient. With nearly all the boxes that I picked up and put back down, this was the problem. The third ingredient was often added sweetener.
Looking at this particular bar more carefully, though, it actually has less sugars, more protein, and more fiber than the layered granola bar that I opted for, plus with the added benefit of Omega 3. These might be worth trying and breaking the rule for.
Kashi Crunchy Granola & Seed
Chocolate Chip Chia
They had me at chocolate and chia.
Look at the whole grains! 23g! That’s the goal of any whole grain food. Get up into the twenties with whole grain, and you know that the product is most likely entirely whole grain. Love it.
This one, of course, also boasts Omega 3 due to the chia seeds, though, it’s not listed here like it was in the previous chia bar. (That tells you how proud they are of that whole grain total!).
The problem is obvious, though, when you look two places: the third ingredient is cane syrup and the amount of sugars is 9g.
And that’s exactly why I put this box back on the shelf.
Other bars in this line were very similar. The third ingredient was almost always a syrup of some sort.
GOLEAN, Plant-Powered Bar
This is one line that I actually didn’t pick up or notice. Let’s see if it’s worth hunting down.
Dark Chocolate Cashew Chia
Don’t these sound amazing? Oh, but how disappointed I am:
Two out of the first four ingredients: syrup. Darn.
So much to love about it, though–the protein, the good fats, all those nuts, the Omega 3. See how I’m trying to rationalize having one of these?
Salted Dark Chocolate and Nuts
I had to give another one a chance. Maybe it will be better. I mean…look at it.
Here’s how it stacks up:
Booo. Right away, syrup and syrup. It’s very similar to the other bar in this line as far as nutrition goes, but it appears, for what I’m looking for, that this is not the best line for us right now.
Chewy Nut Butter
Salted Chocolate Chunk
Labeled “New” on Kashi’s website, I’m not sure I saw this line of bars either, but they do look like something I wouldn’t mind having.
When at the store, I didn’t even bother looking at these. I’ve look at the Nutrigrain version of these, and I was sure that the sugar content would be out of this world.
I do really enjoy the Kashi ones, though. I have them before, and I would buy them again if it weren’t for…
The first ingredient is full of juice and sugar, so the 9g of sugar is not surprising. It does give you a good comparison of the whole grains, though. 11g is okay, but remember that 23g from the other bar? That’s why that other bar’s whole grain count is so amazing.
So, one thing is sure–Kashi certainly has a wide variety of bar lines. I didn’t even look at the savory line here! Happy that we at least found one to add to our snack bar possibilities!