Weeding through the labels and food industry verbiage that stifle granola bar aisles can be daunting. Most often, healthy granola bars are camouflaged amongst snack and protein bars that are no more than candy bars, which make it hard to pin point those worth your money.
Well, enough is enough. After researching, taste testing, and weeding out the frauds, I've created this list of the best healthy, and tasty granola and protein bars you can buy. Because eating healthy shouldn't be confusing.
The Best 8 Healthy Granola Bars You Can Buy + 4 Honorable Mentions
What I was looking for:
When I set out to find the healthiest—and tastiest—granola bars on the market, I kept the guidelines fairly straight forward. I was looking for bars made with wholesome and recognizable ingredients, under or around 10 grams of natural sugars, a fair amount of plant-based protein (around 10 grams), healthy fats, and a moderate amount of carbs. Additionally, I wanted to make sure these bars were accessible and easy to find at most national grocery stores.
Looking at these guidelines, you’d think it would be pretty simple, and it is. But weeding out the good from the bad at the grocery store can be challenging thanks to deceiving labels and packaging. I scoured the shelves, researched new bars on the market, and gave them a taste test to create this list of granola bars that are satisfying and healthy.
Satisfying Granola / Protein Bars:
One of my favorites on the list, these bars or rightfully labeled, they’re made with no BS. And they mean it. With short ingredient lists ranging from 5 to 9 ingredients, and sweetened purely from dates, these bars are as wholesome as they come. Although they’re somewhat high in sugar, clocking in around 12 grams, all of the sugar is naturally occurring. What’s that mean? No sugar, sugar syrup, or sugar product was added, all of the sugar in the bars comes from natural ingredients, such as fruits and vegetables, specifically dates. RX Bars also pack quite a protein punch, 12 grams per bar, which means these babies are satisfying.
I love, love, love this one. It’s crunchy, not too sweet, and oh-so satisfying. I’m also in love with it’s short ingredient list of only 7 or 9 ingredients, all of which you could probably find in your own pantry. These bars are on the lower end when it comes to protein, but so is the sugar content (an average of 7 grams). This bar is a home run thanks to its stellar ingredient list and satisfying flavors and textures.
Chewy and packed with flavor, Zing bars are a great choice when you’re looking for a more classic-style protein bar. Skip the chocolate covered bars and opt for the “soft cookie” variety, as it has a shorter ingredient list and keeps things a bit more simple. These bars do have a longer ingredient list than most of the other bars included here, but wading through the words and food industry verbiage, these bars are pretty healthy and darn tasty. Each bar offers about 10 grams of protein and has 8 to 9 grams of sugar.
This chewy protein bar stands out from all others on the grocery store shelves. Touting an incredible list of wholesome ingredients, Health Warrior Superfood Protein Bars are high in plant protein (11 grams), and low in sugar (9 grams). These are a no-brainer.
Classic-Style Granola Bars:
Kind Bars make the list because they’re a classic-style granola bar—a little chewy, and a little crunchy. They’re packed with nuts and seeds, are nutritionally well-balanced, and are lower in sugar and protein than most. The one thing I don’t like about these bars, is that most of the sugar in these bars are added sugars.
Similar to Kind bars in appearance, flavor, and texture, these granola bars are not only good for you, but good for the world. This Bar Saves Lives is made with ingredients that are not only wholesome, but also fairtrade. Plus, each time a bar is sold a packet of nutrient-packed food aid is produced for children in need in Haiti, the DRC, Nepal, the Philippines, and Guatemala. This Bar Saves Lives is a granola bar you can feel good about all around.
These bars are the definition of wholesome. Made with a short list of 7 to 9 ingredients—like pumpkin seeds, quinoa, organic wildflower honey, and sea salt—Health Warrior Bars are as close to homemade as you’ll find on grocery store shelves. They’re low in sugar and pretty high in protein (8 grams), making them a great snack.
Overall, Kashi offers some pretty healthy granola bars that will remind you of the “classic” supermarket granola bar. If you are looking to incorporate more whole grains, these are a great choice, but for their size, they’re a bit high in sugar and carbs.
Made with wholesome ingredients, and well-balanced, these bars make the list for a reason. However, they’re listed as honorary because they can be a bit harder to find. Most of these can be found at health markets or Wholefoods, but I had a hard time finding them in some national grocery stores.
These bars are a good-old-fashioned granola bar. Similar to Health Warrior Pumpkin Seed Bars, these are made with a short list of organic ingredients (about 9), all of which you would find in your own kitchen. These paleo bars are nut heavy, so they have a bit more fat than other bars, but also offer a satisfying dose of protein.
Look for the almond-flavored varieties, such as Almond Blueberry, Awesome Almond, Almond Sour Cherry, and Almond Cocoa. These flavors are slightly smaller than the peanut variety, making them more snack-size and are lower in sugar. These chewy bars are moderate in protein and sugar (both 8 to 9 grams) and are made with wholesome, organic ingredients. Something to note: these bars contain ethyl alcohol (sugar alcohol), which adds sweetness without increasing grams of sugar. Some people don’t mind sugar alcohols, while others prefer to stay away from it. I land somewhere in between (FYI, Halo Top Ice Cream utilizes sugar alcohols).
With an array of flavor options like toasted coconut and vanilla cashew, Square Bars offer a flavor combination for just about anyone. Some of these organic chewy bars are coated in chocolate, and some aren’t, but all are high in protein (13 grams). Square bars are fairly high in sugar and carbs.
Each individual package contains 4 bite-sized granola bites (kinda like these) that are dipped in chocolate. They’re fun to eat, and a bit smaller than most of the other bars listed here. Although the ingredient list for these bars is long, they’re made with pretty healthy ingredients like almonds, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. Most of the sugar in these bars is added, which lands them in the honorary section.
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