Navigating the snack bar isle of the supermarket can be almost like the candy bar isle. If you read the nutritional labels and ingredients lists you’ll find many are packed with loads of added sugars and fats, yet they are disguised in packages that can sometimes make them sound and look healthy.
While there are lots of healthy options for non packaged snacks, there’s something very convenient about being able to just grab a bar on those busy days when you aren’t organised and want something filling, tasty and healthy to get you through. I know we all have days like that!
Thankfully, things are changing and you CAN find some decent products that are lower in sugar and contain more nourishing ingredients.
Here’s a quick guide for choosing healthy snack bars.
Check the ingredients list
An easy way to get an idea of the quality of the bar is to see what ingredients are listed first. The first few ingredients are what are in the bar at the highest percentage. If it’s nuts and seeds, then you’ll be getting healthy fats, fibre, protein plus vitamins and minerals from the nuts.
Wholegrains such as oats, quinoa and buckwheat are also good ingredients to have listed early on as these also provide dietary fibre and other nutrients.
Nutrition information panel
The other place to have a look at is the nutritional information panel – and have a glance at the protein, fats, sugar, salt and fibre.
If a bar provides some protein, then it will help to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
With fats, what is important is the type of fat. If the bar is made primarily from nuts and other plant based ingredients, then it’s likely most of the fat is healthy, unsaturated fats. In general, looking for less than 3g saturated fat per bar is a good move.
When it comes to sugar, less than 10-15g per 100g is a good basic guideline. There are some exceptions to this though. For example, if you’re eating a bar that’s made up of nuts, seeds and dried fruit, the sugar content will be higher. But sometimes you have to look at the big picture. Dates, which generally make up most of the fruit these types of bars are high in sugar. But they also provide dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals in a unique package that isn’t the same as eating plain sugar. These are good options if you’re active as they provide a good source of carbohydrate or if you feel like a nutritious sweet treat.
Dietary fibre isn’t a mandatory requirement on food labels, but some manufactures do add it to the label – particularly if their product is higher in fibre. If the bar contains more than 4g of fibre, then it is a good source of dietary fibre.
So what can you buy that ticks the boxes? One new bar I’ve been trialling the past couple of months is the Nice and Natural range of protein nut bars.
These bars are made primarily of a yummy combination of nuts, seeds and soy protein (so great for vegetarians) plus other ingredients to make up their yummy, unique flavours.
As a grab and go snack, I like them because they’re a good source of fibre, contain 25% protein to help keep you feeling fuller for longer and they range between 2g and 4g of sugar per bar – that’s the lowest I’ve seen in a snack bar! They are not overly sweet and get a bit of a sweetness top up with the natural, plant based sugar free sweetener stevia.
There are three flavours to choose from – Salted Caramel, Dark Chocolate & Cacao and Cranberry, Goji Berry & Quinoa.
My favourite is the salted caramel, but they are all tasty.
You can find these at supermarkets in the snack bar department, but you could also win a big pack of these bars for yourself! Thanks to Nice and Natural, I’m giving away 40 of these delicious bars (that’s 6 packets!) in a flavour of your choice. That will have you sorted for snacking!
Thanks to Nice and Natural for making this post possible.