Granola bars for weight loss can be an excellent snack, whether you need a little pick-me-up or you’re in a pinch of time and need an office-friendly snack. Granola bars are portable, non-perishable, and reasonably priced.
Granola Bars That Are Actually Healthy
Because, no, I don’t want a candy bar in disguise
I hate to say it, but granola bars are kind of the ex-boyfriends of the snack world: They look great on the outside, but a lot of them kinda suck once you unwrap the package.
You deserve better, so skip the crap that’s loaded with sugar, empty calories, and junk ingredients. “Choose a bar that adds value to your diet and contributes protein, fiber, whole grains, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, with as little processing as possible,” says nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN author of Read It Before You Eat It.
Ideally, you want a bar that comes in around 150 to 200 calories and provides at least three grams of fiber, says Taub-Dix. (Bonus: Look for five to 10 grams of protein—more if you’re grabbing a bar for your post-workout snack.)
If you find a bar that packs more than 10 grams of sugar, check the source. If it’s all from fruit, you’re in the clear. But if you see dextrose, maltose, organic cane juice, rice syrup, or other sneaky sugars on the label, skip it.
You’ll also want to avoid sugar alcohols, like maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol, says nutritionist Alissa Rumsey, RD, founder of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness. Lots of people experience bloating and gas after eating these ingredients. (Fun?)
Most importantly, though, just find a bar you actually enjoy eating. “When you are satisfied with what you eat or snack on, you are less likely to overeat in the future and stay fuller longer,” Rumsey says.
Not sure where to start? These healthy granola bars are worthy of your grocery list.
Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookie Granola Bars
These gluten-free bars taste as cozy as fresh-baked cookies, but come with less sugar and much more filling fiber and protein.
Per serving: 200 calories, 15 g fat (3 g sat fat), 140 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrates, 5 g sugar, 7 g fiber, 6 g protein
This Bar Saves Lives
Madagascar Vanilla Almond and Hone Chewy Granola Bars
Made with vanilla, honey, almonds, and flaxseeds, these sweet-but-wholesome granola bars help send food to kids in need across the globe. Not that you needed the extra snacking incentive.
Per serving: 170 calories, 9 g fat (1 g sat fat), 85 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrates, 6 g sugar, 8 g fiber, 4 g protein
Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt Bars
Get a coveted combo of sweet, salty, and chocolate-y in one bar. This one packs lots of healthy fats from almonds and peanuts, the first two ingredients.
Per serving: 200 calories, 15 g fat (3 g sat fat), 140 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrates, 5 g sugar, 7 g fiber, 6 g protein
Apple Cinnamon Organic Plant-Based Bars
Made of mostly organic items, this gluten-free bar offers a short list of ingredients plus a helping of produce.
Per serving: 200 calories, 9 g fat (1 g sat fat), 10 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrates, 7 g sugar, 4 g fiber, 6 g protein
Acai Berry Chia Bars
Go ahead and eat two of these if you’re super-hungry. The chia seeds add a nice little crunch, while the berries offer a sweet flavor.
Per serving: 100 calories, 4.5 g fat (0.5 g sat fat), 45 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrates, 3 g sugar, 5 g fiber, 3 g protein
Peanut Butter & Berries Protein Bars
Get your PB&J fix in one portable, chewy bar. While this one does have 15 grams of sugar, it all comes from dates and raspberries.
Per serving: 200 calories, 7 g fat (1 g sat fat), 135 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrates, 15 g sugar, 5 g fiber, 12 g protein
Nature’s Path Organic
Chunky Choco Peanut Sunrise Breakfast Bars
Packed with 11 grams of whole grains, these chocolatey, gluten-free granola bars are perfectly chewy and make for a great snack or meal on-the-go.
Per serving: 140 calories, 4.5 g fat (1 g sat fat), 110 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrates, 9 g sugar, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein
Almond Crunch Roasted Nut Crunch Bars
Like trail mix all stuck together, these gluten-free bars have all the crunch you want in a simple, satisfying snack.
Per serving: 190 calories, 14 g fat (1.5 g sat fat), 160 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrates, 7 g sugar, 3 g fiber, 6 g protein
Almond Sour Cherry Chilled Organic Protein Bars
Another organic snack jam-packed with nuts, the Wella bar also offers a hint of sweet from the cherries—a great ingredient to have after exercise.
Per serving: 200 calories, 13 g fat (2.5 g sat fat), 15 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrates, 9 g sugar, 3 g fiber, 8 g protein
GOLEAN Salted ark Chocolate & Nuts Fiber and Protein Bar
Is there a better combo than nuts and chocolate? I think not. Turn to Kashi for a dark cocoa flavor you’ll love.
Per serving: 190 calories, 10 g fat (2 g sat fat), 115 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrates, 9 g sugar, 4 g fiber, 8 g protein
Delicious Granola Bars for When You Need a Healthy Snack In a Pinch
When you’re looking for a healthy snack, granola bars might come to mind as an obvious choice. But not all granola bars are created equal. They fall all over the spectrum, in terms of both flavor and nutritional value. Ideally, you want one that achieves that perfect blend of tasty and healthy—but that can often be tough to find.
Christina Badaracco, MPH, RD, LDN, says the best options are made with whole grains such as oats, quinoa or buckwheat (this may include whole grain flours), along with nuts, seeds or nut/seed butters. Dried fruits or vegetables, as well as herbs and spices, are also good signs. As far as not-so-great things, she recommends checking the ingredients list and watching for mention of preservatives, refined oils, or artificial sweeteners like sorbitol or xylitol.
“While a little bit of added sweetener can be OK, most bars have far too much,” says Badaracco. “Avoid bars with processed sweeteners such as corn syrup, fructose, or tapioca syrup, and choose bars with sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, date syrup, or cane sugar that are found as close to the end of the ingredients list as possible. Essentially, the ingredients in the bars you eat should be foods you recognize and are willing to eat and cook with on their own!”
Of course, it doesn’t do much good for a granola bar to be packed with healthy ingredients if the flavor is so unappealing that eating that particular bar seems more like a punishment than a treat. So you’ll also want to look for flavors that tempt your taste buds (it can be helpful to browse reviews to get feedback on the taste—people generally aren’t shy about mentioning a less-than-satisfying taste).
Here are some healthy granola bars you’ll actually enjoy eating.
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Healthy Granola Bars
88 Acres Cinnamon Maple Seed + Oat Bar – $21.49 for nine bars
Bursting with the tempting taste of cinnamon, this bar from 88 Acres has a short list of ingredients and a reasonable 7g of total sugars. The company’s products are plant-based and free of the most common allergens. Try their Seed + Oat Bar Sample Pack, which includes six delicious varieties for $11.99.
Bobo’s Peanut Butter & Jelly Oat Bar –
Who says peanut butter and jelly can’t be good for you? Then again, this bar from Bobo’s isn’t your typical PB&J snack. Made with 100% whole grain oats, it’s also dairy-free and gluten-free. Best of all, it’s sweet and delicious!
Kashi Chocolate Almond Sea Salt Chewy Granola Bar –
These flavor-packed Kashi bars will leave you feeling satisfied—and smart, because you are making a wise choice. Each bar has just 130 calories and 7g of sugar. As a bonus, it features responsibly-sourced cocoa.
IQBAR Banana Chip Bar –
Every IQBAR is packed with 6 brain nutrients and is keto-friendly, with 2g of sugar or less. This tasty banana chip variety is a limited-edition flavor so grab it while you can! If you miss it, don’t worry – there are lots of other great options, like Peanut Butter Chip, Lemon Blueberry, or Matcha Chai. If you’re having trouble choosing, try their 7-bar sampler box.
CLIF Thins Chocolate Peanut Brownie Bar –
The makers of the well-known CLIF Bar have created this thin, crispy snack bar, available in three flavors. Each package includes two Thins, which contain healthy, natural ingredients like organic rolled oats. At just 100 calories and 5g of sugar, it’s a snack you can feel good about.
CORE Coconut Chocolate Chip Bar –
This CORE bar has 7g of fiber and 6g of protein and 9g of sugar. Badaracco like the CORE bars because “they contain no added/refined sugar and are less sweet than other bars. Plus, they contain added vitamins and minerals and plenty of nuts to provide fat and protein.”
KIND Cranberry Almond Nut Bar –
The perfect blend of tangy and sweet, this KIND bar has just 160 calories and 8g of total sugars. Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator ofBetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It – Taking You from Label to Table, loves the KIND granola bar offerings, which she says are the perfect healthy snack for on the go. Be sure to also check out the brand’s KIND PRIDE bars that are available all year long.
The Best and Worst Granola Bars in America in 2021—Ranked!
Cascadian Farm Organic Vanilla Chip Chewy Granola Bars
1 BAR: 140 calories, 3g fat (1.5g saturated fat), 95mg sodium, 26g carbs (1g fiber, 10g sugar), 2g protein
Though this granola bar is made with organic ingredients, it’s quite heavy on carbs and sugar without the balance of fiber or protein.
Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
1 BAR: 100 calories, 3.5g fat (1.5g saturated fat), 70mg sodium, 17g carbs (1g fiber, 7g sugar), 1g protein
The classic chocolate chip granola bar from Quaker isn’t the best snack you can pick, but it’s also not the worst. It’s low in calories, which is good, but it’s also low in protein and fiber, which isn’t awesome.
Kashi Chewy Granola Bars
1 BAR: 130 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 60mg sodium, 23g carbs (4g fiber, 7g sugar), 3g protein
What we do like about these is they’re packed with fiber and responsibly sourced cocoa. If an eco-friendly snack is your jam, you’ll love this one.
Cascadian Farm Cinnamon Apple Bars
1 BAR: 140 calories, 4.5g fat (.5g saturated fat), 40mg sodium, 23g carbs (2g fiber, 5g sugar), 3g protein
These granola bars, despite seeming deliciously sweet, don’t have any added sugars, which we love. They’re also low in sodium, so they’re a decent option.
Sunbelt Bakery Oats and Honey Chewy Granola Bars
1 BAR: 120 calories, 4.5g fat (2.5g saturated fat), 50mg sodium, 19g carbs (1g fiber, 8g sugar), 2g protein
The soft, chewy texture of these granola bars makes them feel a little on the indulgent side, but they’re still relatively low in calories and fat. Plus, they’re very low in sodium!
MadeGood Cookies and Creme Granola Bars
1 BAR: 100 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated fat), 30mg sodium, 18g carbs (2g fiber, 7g sugar), 2g protein
These granola bars are great for those who have food allergies because they’re made from vegetables and don’t contain nuts. They’re also gluten-free and don’t have a ton of sodium or sugar.
KIND Almond & Coconut
1 BAR: 190 calories, 14g fat (7g saturated fat), 20mg sodium, 19g carbs (3g fiber, 9g sugar), 3g protein
KIND bills its bars as a nutbar rather than a granola bar, which makes sense when you look at the nutrition label. Because these have a nut base, they’re high in (good) fat and very low in sodium. Not a bad deal!
Annie’s Organic Chewy Granola Bars, Chocolate Chip
1 BAR: 100 calories, 3g fat (1.5g saturated fat), 75mg sodium, 17g carbs (<1g fiber, 7g sugar), 2g protein
Annie’s granola bars are pretty low in calories and fat, so if you’re watching those in your diet, this isn’t a bad snack. However, these don’t have much in the way of fiber or protein, so they won’t do much to satiate your hunger. Still, they’re about the best we could find on grocery store shelves right now!