Ranking the Nutrition Bars

Granola nutrition bar

We know all the reasons to eat right and stay away from fast food. Fast food has been blamed for the sudden rise in obesity, and obesity has been linked to heart troubles, diabetes, joint damage and even premature death, but when you are pressed for time, it’s undeniable that fast food can be a convenient meal. To be healthy and stay in good shape, you must exercise of course, but you must also eat right.

Nutrition Bars Are A Healthier, Convenient Option

In an effort to cut calories and stay away from the Bog Macs and Whoppers, many people are turning to nutrition bars to replace high fat meals and snacks. While the jury is still out on the benefits of nutrition bars for people trying to lose weight, sometimes a nutrition bar is your best option when you’re on the go.

But some bars are no better nutritionally than candy bars, and some taste like cardboard. Of the major nutrition bars, which ones are actually good for you, and which ones taste good?

Some Popular Nutrition Bars

Slim-Fast is the market leader in meal replacements. The “Shake for Breakfast, Shake for Lunch and a Sensible Dinner” slogan converted a whole generation of dieters to meal replacements, but hectic lifestyles made keeping shakes cold difficult.

To provide more convenience, Slim-Fast introduced a line of meal bars that were touted as being a complete meal replacement. The first versions of the products were as high in sugar as a Hershey bar, but when American went low carb, the lower-sugar Optima line was unveiled. With 15 grams of sugar, the Optima bars still aren’t an option for low-carb dieters or diabetics, but with two grams of fiber and eight grams of protein and 220 calories, they make an attractive option to a high fat hamburger. Flavors range from Rich Chocolate Brownie, which is passably chocolate and very moist Trail Mix Chewy Granola, which tastes like a higher fat granola bar. These aren’t the best tasting bars, but they are far from the worst.

The dubious honor of worst tasting bar goes to the South Beach Diet Cinnamon Cream bar. Like the Slim-Fast bar, it weighs in at 220 calories. It has seven grams of fat and five grams of fiber, but only one gram of sugar. From a nutritional profile, this bar is better for you than a Slim-Fast bar, especially if you are watching your sugar intake, but it can’t help you if you won’t eat it. The cinnamon tastes terribly artificial and it leaves a bitter aftertaste. The Chocolate Crisp fares a little better, but is still far from the best tasting bar.

Luna Bars

The best tasting bar is also the lowest calorie bar. Luna Bars have a paltry 180 calories per bar. They are quick to point out that this is not a complete meal replacement and recommend yogurt or fruit to round out a meal. The bars contain a whopping ten grams of protein, three grams of fiber,four and a half grams of fat and ten grams of sugar. This is a more balanced ratio than Slim-Fast or South Beach bars. The bars also provide 100% of the daily value for vitamins C, B12 and B6. Flavors go from the fruity Lemon Zest to Carmel Nut Brownie. The texture is similar to a heavy rice cereal treat. A new line of Luna Bars, Luna Sunrise, also provides Omega 3s.

When possible, whole fresh foods are your best bet, but when you are on the go, nutrition bars can salvage your diet.