Contents

32 of the most — and least — healthy granola bars you can buy

  • We analyzed 230 popular granola bars were analyzed by their nutrition labels to figure out which are the most healthy.
  • Ideally, bars should not contain added sugar or more than 2.6 grams of saturated fat and should contain around 5 grams each of fiber, protein, and fat.
  • We found the RXBar to be the healthiest brand overall, with two KIND Bar flavors coming in a close second.
  • Some of the most unhealthy bars were flavors of LÄRABAR, Nature Valley, and KIND.

In September 2017, Time magazine spoke to nutrition experts Andy Bellatti (registered dietitian), Keith Ayoob (associate professor of pediatrics), and Erin Palinski-Wade (registered dietitian) about the relative healthiness of the granola bars we can buy today.

Those three experts spelled out some ground rules to help health-conscious consumers like you and me evaluate what we see at the store to make better decisions.

Using their rules, I compiled key nutrition stats from several popular granola bars to figure out which ones are most healthy.

The sugar that’s found in fruit is good for you. Carsten Koall / Getty

The rules according to the nutrition experts

Tracking what kinds of fat and sugar are in foods is more important than how much sugar or fat is in foods. Fruits have sugars that occur naturally, and an ingredient like date paste is a popular one to use for sweetening to avoid the need for added sugar.

Meanwhile, unsaturated fats from nuts and seeds can be healthy parts of our diets. It’s the saturated fat levels that we need to monitor. “Just watch out for bars that contain more than 20% daily value of saturated fat,” Palinski-Wade told Time.

The Rule of 5

Palinski-Wade has one simple guideline she gives her clients. She calls it “the rule of 5.” She says that granola bars that do their job and keep you full contain at least 5 grams each of fiber, protein, and unsaturated fat.

I coupled the rule of 5 with the previous rules about saturated fat and sugar when analyzing my giant list of granola bars.

RXBARs are pretty healthy. RXBar/Instagram

The contenders

I analyzed the nutritional data of 230 popular, widely-available granola bars across a range of brands, as well as bar types within brands. I used publicly-available data provided by each company via its website.

The bars considered were the following:

  • RXBAR
  • LÄRABAR
  • KIND bars
  • CORE foods bars
  • Kashi bars
  • Navitas Organics Superfood + Snack bars
  • CLIF bars
  • LUNA bars
  • This Bar Saves Lives
  • Nature Valley
  • Annie’s

Not included: Breakfast bars, fruit bars, bite-sized bars, truffles, and cereal bars. All other bar types by these brands were included in this comparison.

Narrowing it down

Out of 230 bars, only 51 met Palinski-Wade’s rule of 5.

Flavors from the RXBAR, KIND bars, KIND Protein From Real Food, and CORE Meal lines filled out most of the list.

As for saturated fat, the current American Heart Association recommendation is 13 grams of saturated fat per day, assuming an average 2,000 calorie a day diet. Twenty percent of that 13 grams is 2.6 grams.

Once I factored in the saturated fat recommendation, the list dropped to 17.

Honey is a kind of added sugar. Dan Phiffer/Flickr

What is “added sugar?”

For our purposes, “added sugar” is defined as honey, maple syrup, and any other sweeteners that do not come from some form of fruit. Date paste, raisins, and raisin juice are not considered forms of added sugar.

Companies are not currently required to list added sugars in their nutrition facts — although this change is coming. Some brands, however, have chosen to do so voluntarily ahead of the deadline.

I factored this information into my findings when companies provided it and simply wrote “N/A” otherwise. In cases where added sugars were not specified, I examined the ingredients list and noted sources of sugar in the order in which they were listed for each bar.

The top 17 healthiest granola bars

Our clear winner, once all criteria were taken into account, was RXBAR (in several different flavors).

That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise once you learn that RXBARs use date paste instead of other sweeteners. According to RXBARs’ nutritional data, all of these bars contain zero grams of added sugars.

For an enlarged view of any of the following charts, simply click on the chart.

RXBARs were the big winners in terms of health. Janaki Jitchotvisut

Coming in hot on RXBAR’s heels were two flavors of original KIND bars. Both score very well in terms of their fiber, protein, and both the total fat and saturated fat amounts. Total sugars are fairly low as well, but these two do contain some added sugars from honey, glucose syrup, and plain old sugar.

KIND offers some healthy options as well. Janaki Jitchotvisut

Some brands chose not to specify whether they contain added sugars in their nutritional facts. For these, I noted possible sources of sugar from the ingredients list, and ranked the following bars by grams of saturated fat, from least to greatest.

It’s important to note that CORE Meal bars are intended as meal replacements, not snacks. You may want to take that into consideration the next time you’re looking for a grab n’ go meal.

CLIF, CORE, KIND, and Nature Valley rounded out the top 15. Janaki Jitchotvisut

The 15 least healthy granola bars

Using the rule of 5, several bars had neither enough fiber nor enough protein to keep you full for very long. The bars on this list are both low in fiber and protein and high in saturated fats.

Ranked in order from highest grams of saturated fat to lowest, here is the bottom of the original list of 230 bars.

The LÄRABAR Original Bar in Coconut Cream Pie is number 230 in our rankings, due to a combination of low fiber and protein and high saturated fat content.

These bars didn’t adhere to the rule of 5. Janaki Jitchotvisut

These bars are ranked from highest to lowest grams of saturated fat within each brand.

There are bars that contained lower grams of both fiber and protein, but they also contained lower grams of saturated fat, so I didn’t consider them to be as outright unhealthy as the bars above.

Finally, for comparison, here are the nutritional stats for a regular Snickers bar. If it wasn’t for all that sugar, the Snickers could fit right in with some granola bars on this list.

Some granola bars aren’t all that different from candy bars. Janaki Jitchotvisut

Sign up here to get INSIDER’s favorite stories straight to your inbox.

High Fibre Granola Bars

DIRECTIONS

  • Grease a 13×9 inch baking dish and a large spoon or spatula.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the first 8 ingredients.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium low heat melt the butter.
  • Stir in the corn syrup or honey and add the vanilla and brown sugar.
  • Stir until the mixture starts just to bubble slightly. Do not boil the mixture it will burn easily.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the peanutbutter until combined and smooth.
  • Pour the syrup-peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together. You can add the chocolate chips now but they will melt into the mixture. I put them on the top at the end and just push them into the bars.
  • Once combined transfer to the greased baking dish and using the greased spoon or spatula (you can use your hands if you get them wet first) flatten the mixture into the pan.
  • Now is when I add the chocolate chips. Sprinkle them on top and just push them in with your fingers or the spatula.
  • While the mixture is still soft and warm use a knife and cut into 24 bars.
  • I store these in baggies 4 per bag in the refrigerator. They last a long time refrigerated but they also freeze well.

This post may contain affiliate links for which I earn a commission. Read my disclosure page here.

24.2Kshares

  • Pinterest23.9K
  • Facebook221

I am so excited to share this recipe with you guys. These healthy homemade granola bars are packed with so many nutrient-dense ingredients. Fueling your body and giving it what it needs to have the best digestion and the most energy, is the right way to better health. Healthy homemade granola bars are a great breakfast alternative when you are on the go but want to eat something that will give you energy and it’s filling. They are also great for a snack in the afternoon or a snack when you are traveling. Let’s have a look at some of the ingredients.

  • Dates – natural energy booster, high in iron content, rich in potassium, a good source of dietary fiber, an excellent source of vegan protein
  • Chia seeds – an excellent source of healthy omega fatty acids, contains 500% more calcium than milk, contains 20% easily digestible vegan protein, high in antioxidants
  • Cashews – packed with dietary fiber, rich in heart-friendly mono-saturated fatty acids, a rich source of minerals, high in magnesium and copper, an excellent source of antioxidants
  • Almonds – helps to regulate cholesterol and blood pressure, energy booster, loaded with calcium & fiber, high in antioxidants
  • Cranberries – the improved immune system, lowered blood pressure, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Pistachios – support cardiovascular health, an excellent source of fiber, protein, manganese, and copper, high in thiamine, vitamin B-6, and potassium

The cashews and almonds I used were sent to me from an organic foods company called Karmalize.Me. The nuts are organic, fresh and they had a great flavor. I love that their products are organic, have great quality and are at affordable prices. Their company donates 50% of profits to charities. Yes, that’s right, 50%. All you have to do is list the name of the charity of your choice at checkout. If you want to try some of their products, Karmalize.Me is offering a 5% discount to Delicious Meets Healthy readers through July 31. Be sure to use code DMH07312015.

These bars are also great because they are naturally gluten-free, Paleo, no-bake & so easy to make. I love that they are chewy, and their sweet & nutty flavor is so good!

✓ No preservatives

✓ No added sugar

✓ No additives

Better than any store-bought granola bars, and it takes only 15 – 20 minutes to throw together.

Also, these healthy homemade granola bars can be customized according to your liking or what you have at hand. You can substitute the cranberries for other dried fruits like apricots or pineapple, or you can add some sunflower or flax seeds. Just keep the honey & dates mixture the same, it’s “the glue” that binds the bars together.

How To Make Healthy Homemade Granola Bars

What you need

1 cup pitted dates

1/2 cup raw organic honey

1 Tbsp chia seeds

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup Gluten Free oats

1 cup cashews, (1/2 cup ground, 1/2 cup whole)

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup peeled pistachios

Preparation

Blend pitted dates, honey, chia seeds, salt and vanilla extract in a food processor until creamy.

Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Add oats, ground and whole cashews, almonds, cranberries, pistachios and mix well.

Spread out mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a plastic wrap and your hands, press mixture down on the baking sheet.

Freeze for about 2 hours. Cut into bars. Keep the bars in the refrigerator.

Yum! Flavor & nutrients explosion packed in one granola bar.

For more delicious and healthy recipes, check out our other cooking videos here: 5 from 2 votes Pin It!

Homemade Granola Bars

Best Healthy Homemade Granola Bars. No Bake, Paleo, gluten-free, quick and easy to make! Chewy and so delicious!! Great for breakfast or snack. Prep Time 20 minutes Total Time 20 minutes Servings 16 Calories 162kcal AUTHOR Neli Howard | Delicious Meets Healthy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup raw organic honey
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Gluten Free oats
  • 1 cup cashews, (1/2 cup ground, 1/2 cup whole)
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup peeled pistachios

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Blend pitted dates, honey, chia seeds, salt and vanilla extract in a food processor until creamy.
  • Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Add oats, ground and whole cashews, almonds, cranberries, pistachios and mix well.
  • Spread out mixture on a parchment lined baking sheet. Using a plastic wrap and your hands, press mixture down on the baking sheet.
  • Freeze for about 2 hours. Cut into bars. Keep the bars in the refrigerator.

NUTRITION

Serving: 44g | Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 24.8g | Protein: 3.3g | Fat: 6.7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5.7g | Sodium: 24mg | Fiber: 2.4g | Sugar: 16.6g Course Snack Cuisine American Keyword Gluten Free, Grain-Free, Healthy, Nuts, Paleo

Disclosure: I received free cashews and almonds samples from Karmalize.Me for a product review. As always, opinions remain 100% my own.

♥ FAVORITE THINGS ♥

Used in this post:

Granola bars around the web
{Healthy} {No Bake} Almond Cranberry Granola Bars – Life Made Sweeter
Chewy No Bake Granola Bars – The Big Man’s World

24.2Kshares

  • Pinterest23.9K
  • Facebook221

Did you make this recipe?

Use the tag #DeliciousMeetsHealthy when posting a picture of your recipe, and make sure to follow @deliciousmeetshealthy on Instagram!

74729shares

  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email

8 easy homemade granola bar recipes that come together in a snap. Variations include peanut butter chocolate, spiced nut, and cranberry white chocolate.

Have you ever made homemade granola bars? I did for the first time a few years ago to take with us on a trip to Yellowstone. They were delicious bits of heaven and I’ve been making that same recipe often for years. The other day I got a crazy idea to turn granola bars into one of my giant “# of this thing you should make” recipe posts and now I can’t be stopped! I have literally made granola bars at least three times a week for the last month. They are awesome! They taste delicious, they travel well, they make great little gifts to take over to friends, and they are just plain easy to put together. Need a snack for preschool, after t-ball, or to take in the car to a game? I’ve got you covered.

I’m so excited about these posts because I think there’s a lot of power in giving you a lot of bang for your click. In other words, no matter how you got here, I want to make sure that you don’t go away with out getting some great information/inspiration. If you chose to click over to my blog I want to make your time worthwhile. So far I’ve done 8 no bake oatmeal energy bites, 9 date balls, 10 healthy snacks in a jar (you can make ahead), and 9 Staple Salad Dressings You Should Know How to Make (which is going crazy in Pinterest, hooray!), and I have so many fun things planned.

I’m so excited to share this post with you! I have spent so much time (and calories) getting things ready and you are going to love it! If this post speaks to you, you think someone else might like it, or you want to save it for later, by all means share it on your social media platforms. Pin it, facebook it, throw a picture up on Instagram and tag me (#blessthismesseats). All of those things are incredibly helpful to me and the more sharing that happens the more I’m able to turn this hobby into a job that helps my family (and my house building project). There is so much power in your sharing, you literally have no idea how important that is for me.

Thank you! And now enjoy some amazing homemade granola bars from my kitchen to yours.

Description

The base recipe for 8 easy homemade granola bar recipes that come together in a snap. Variations include peanut butter chocolate, spiced nut, and cranberry white chocolate.

Scale 1x2x3x

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cups total extra mix-ins (about 1/4 cup of 3 different ingredients such as dried fruits, coconut, chocolate chips, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment or foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  2. Place the oats and nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted. Place the nuts and oats in a large bowl.
  3. While the oats are toasting, add the honey, butter, and brown sugar to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. When butter mixture is ready, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Pour this mixture over the oat and nut mixture and stir to combine. Add any extra ingredients (except for chocolate) and stir to combine. Make sure none of the oats are dry.
  4. If you are adding chocolate, wait about 15 minutes for the mixture to cool a bit before adding the chocolate and then stirring to combine.
  5. Place all of the oat mixture in the prepared pan. Use a rubber spatula or the bottom of a greased measuring cup to press the mixture into the pan. Chill the granola bars for at least 2 hours. Lift the bars from the pan using the edges of the foil or parchment and place them on a cutting board. Cut into desired shape/sizes and serve.

Notes

These store very well in the fridge or freezer. You may want to wrap them in a bit of parchment paper before putting them in a container or plastic bag in the fridge so that they don’t stick together.

The nutrition info was calculated with using almonds for the 3/4 of a cup of “mix-ins”.

  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Snack

Keywords: homemade granola bars, healthy granola bars

Tips and Tricks for making this homemade granola bar recipe:

  • You can use 1/3 cup honey and 1/4 cup brown sugar in this recipe if you like a stronger honey flavor. The granola bars will be slightly more sticky this way. My kids did not like this ratio, though I thought it was great. The honey flavor was too strong for them.
  • You can replace the brown sugar with honey and gently boil the mixture for about a minutes for these bars (stirring lots, honey burns quickly). The honey flavor was very strong but the bars held together. I didn’t really like the bars like this (too much honey flavor but when I used less they didn’t stick together).
  • You can make the recipe as written and gently boil the mixture for 1 to 2 minutes and the bars will have a little more crunch to them and will be less soft/sticky.
  • I’m 90% sure you could replace the brown sugar with coconut sugar though I haven’t tried it yet.
  • I liked to press my bars down a second time after they chilled for the 2 hours. This really helped them to hold together well.
  • These store super well in the fridge or freezer.
  • If you are going to add chocolate, you’ll want to wait until the hot honey and oat mixture cools a little bit (about 15 minutes) or all the chocolate chips will melt (still tastes great, but doesn’t look as nice).
  • Toasting the nuts and oats is optional but it makes the granola bars taste like cookies. I highly recommend it.
  • You don’t actually have to put the oats/nuts in the bowl. If the pan that you toasted them on is large enough you can just pour the hot honey mixture over the top and carefully stir everything together right on the pan. It’s a little trickier, but I’d rather take a little more time to stir than wash an extra bowl.
  • I feel like these are good after the 2 hour rest but I feel like they are really good after you let them sit overnight (this could be at room temperature if you are short on fridge space…). It gives everything time to blend and the texture improves, just FYI.
  • I tried a batch with coconut oil in place of the butter and it turned out great though they seemed to not hold together as well.

Here are my 8 variations. You’ll follow the directions in the “master mix” recipe but I have specified what nuts and add-ins to include. The possibilities are endless but here are some of my favorites!

Blueberry = master mix + almonds + 1/2 cup dried blueberries + 1/4 cup shredded coconut

Notes: I’m obsessed with dried blueberries right now! You can get really tasty ones at Trader Joe’s (they were soft and squishy and did come with added sugar), and I also bought a bag of unsweetened ones from Bob’s Red Mill online and had them mailed to my house. These were very hard but still delicious. In an effort to soften them up a bit I tossed them in the butter mixture on the stove and let them sit in the hot liquid for about 10 minutes which worked fine. You can use traditional shredded sweetened coconut or you can buy shredded unsweetened coconut, both were delicious, though I like the texture of the unsweetened coconut better.

Dark Chocolate Cherry = master mix + pecans + 1/2 cup dried cherries + 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Notes: The toasted pecans in the granola bars were my favorite. If you are going to use pecans don’t skip the toasting step because it makes them amazing! I have bought dried tart cherries, dried Bing cherries, and dried “sweet” cherries recently. They are all delicious (again I got some at Trader Joe’s and the tart cherries online from Bob’s Red Mill). I liked the tang of the tart cherries the best but any will work really.

Tropical = master mix + cashews + 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (pineapple, mango, and mandrine oranges) + 1/4 cup coconut

I got all of the dried fruit at Trader Joe’s and it was all so delicious. I’m sad my dried pineapple is all gone. You can use traditional shredded sweetened coconut or you can buy unsweetened coconut, both were delicious, though I like the texture of the unsweetened coconut better.

White Chocolate Cranberry = master mix + almonds + 1/4 cup dried cranberries + 1/4 cup sunflower seeds + 1/4 cup white chocolate chips

These were classic, traditional, and good. Plus, the red from the cranberries are really pretty.

Peanut Butter Chocolate = master mix + 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (add this when you add the vanilla and salt and stir well to combine) + 1/2 cup M&M’s + 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Notes: Did you even have those “Kudos” bars when you were a kid that were practically an oat candy bar? These taste just like them. I used both natural and traditional peanut butter with success. The addition of a few peanuts would be delicious though I didn’t try it.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel = master mix + 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (add this when you add the vanilla and salt and stir well to combine) + 1/3 cup broken pretzel pieces + 1/4 cup peanut butter chips + 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Notes: these fell apart a little more for me (from adding the pretzels I assume, they must soak up some of the moisture faster than the oats do), you can add an additional 2 tablespoons of butter to the honey mixture to add a little more moisture.

Notes: The additional of cinnamon and all those perfectly toasted nuts was awesome.

Sunflower Pecan = master mix + almonds + 1/4 cup sunflower seeds + 1/4 cup candy coated sunflower seeds + 1/4 cup shredded coconut

Notes: The candy coated sunflower seeds are really pretty and I liked using them, but they actually don’t taste all the great (they don’t have any chocolate). After I made and ate these I wanted to go back and add either 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the butter mixture OR some chocolate chips (maybe white chocolate chips?). They needed a little more going on. You can use traditional shredded sweetened coconut or you can buy unsweetened coconut, both were delicious, though I like the texture of the unsweetened coconut better.

This recipe is adapted from and inspired by What’s Gaby Cooking.

Which granola bar recipe will you be making first?

Here’s one last combo because it’s my current obsession – the master mix with pecans (toasted, you have to toast the pecans!) with dried blueberries and a little bit of cinnamon thrown in. You guys, it tastes like a berry crisp and I’m not complaining. It’s so good!

You have a million and one options (with 8 solid recipes to start with) and I know at least one of them spoke to you heart (or stomach) today.

Go and make them!

Sign up to receive emails from Bless This Mess and get a FREE copy of 8 Homemade Granola Bar Recipes.

You’ll get a once a week newsletter with freebies, exclusive recipes, and other great content that only comes in email from Bless This Mess. No spam. No junk. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Subscribers get access to Dinner Made Easy meal plans, exclusive recipes, giveaways, and behind-the-scenes updates​! Sign up for my newsletter or get a new recipe every day.

Subscribe Now

Granola bars

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Lightly grease a 22cm-square baking dish with oil, then set aside.
  2. Roughly chop and add the almonds to a large baking tray with the oats and seeds. Spread them out into an even layer and place in the hot oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden, stirring halfway through.
  3. Gently heat the honey and nut butter in a small pan over a low heat. Meanwhile, slit open the dates, pull out and discard the stones, then place into a blender with 100ml of warm water.
  4. Blitz to a paste, stir into the warmed honey mixture, then leave to cool.
  5. Transfer the toasted oat mixture to a large bowl with the bran, cinnamon and salt. Roughly chop and stir in the dried fruit, then mix in the honey mixture until well combined.
  6. Spoon it into the prepared baking dish, using the back of a spoon to press it into an even layer.
  7. Bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes, or until golden and set.
  8. Leave to cool slightly, turn it out onto a board and cut into squares, then set aside to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Granola bar recipes healthy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *