Power Bars-Health Food or Glorified Candy Bar?

Most of my clients will ask me whether I recommend power bars as a healthy snack. I usually tell them that they are okay as an occasional snack, but they usually provide too few calories to act as a meal replacement. Since I personally don’t like power bars, I never really looked into them or compared one brand to another. For the sake of research though, and because I know they are very popular with consumers, I have listed the top 5 healthiest power bar choices.

Let me just say, in general, power bars are just slightly superior to your basic candy bar. For example a Snickers with Almond Bar has 230 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat and 26 grams of sugar. Compare that to the best bars that I have listed below.

Kashi Go Lean: 280 cal, 3 g saturated fat, 35 g sugar and 7 g fiber

Cliff Bar: 240 cal, 1 g saturated fat, 21 g sugar and 5 g fiber

EAS Results for Women: 190 cal, 2 g sat. fat, 16 g sugar and 4 g fiber

Met RX Protein Plus: 290 cal, 3 g sat. fat, 30 g sugar, 3 g fiber – but provides 70% RDA for calcium

As you can see in the above comparisons (and these were the healthiest bars I could find) other than providing fiber and sometimes extra vits/mins, power bars are about the same as a candy bar, nutritionally.

If you take into consideration the amount of “satisfaction” you would get from a candy bar compared to a power bar, the candy bar may be the better  choice – unless you really think power bars taste amazing.

The other option, most likely the healthiest since all power bars likely include ingredients that are hard to pronounce, would be to make a homemade version. This way, you can add the ingredients that you like and will know and be able to pronounce every ingredient you add.

Here is a link to 1 recipe that looks pretty yummy and received 41/2  stars – Jo Ann’s Power Bar recipe . Of course, I wouldn’t know because in general I don’t like the way power bars taste, but I like her list of ingredients, so it might be worth a try…

Do any of you have a favorite power bar or power bar recipe that you want to share?

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Hi! I'm Heather: a body positivity, Health at Every Size dietitian. When I'm not blogging about wellness, I'm spending time with my fabulous family. Sometimes, they wear me out, so then it's time to bake, read, knit, tie myself into a yoga pose, or continue to work my first novel... stay tuned.

3 Comments

  1. Interesting…
    I did a review on energy bars back in 2006 for POZ:
    http://www.poz.com/articles/1861_10773.shtml
    I did all the work, but at least Nick gave me credit. (I was a Dietetic student back then.) Interesting to compare the notes. Yes, I agree many are very similar in calories, sat fats, sugars — in essence “a candy bar in disguise”…my spin was to try to find the healthier options. : )

    • I’ll bet energy bars have come a long way since 2006! You can find bars with a significant amount of fiber and/or with some vitamins and minerals added, but consumer definitely need to read the labels and compare brands. I usually try to recommend alternatives as well, but in a pinch, a energy bar is fine. Thanks for reading and commenting, have a great day!

  2. Yes, they sure have! And I’ve certainly seen some with just fruit, nuts and seeds (no additives, artificial ingredients, etc..). But still there are so many out there with names you can’t even pronounce and some form of sugar, even though they boost healthy product claims.

    Have you heard of youbars.com? They let you customize your own bar with real whole food ingredients.

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