What Are The Best Snack Bars? Brands to Choose and Avoid

Healthy snack bars and the not so healthy

Snack bars are a good way to get in some quick nutrition and are especially good when you are on the run or out on the hiking trail.

But, not all snack bars are healthy or provide a balance of macronutrients.  What’s worse, many of the most popular brands are highly processed and just slightly healthier than a candy bar.

Here, we’ll take a look at some healthy brands and also mention brands you and your family should rarely eat.

Healthy Snack Bar Brands

Midi Bites

Midi Bites was founded by a mom who wanted to make a healthy snack for her son instead of all the highly processed bars that are typically marketed to children and parents.  After a lot of trial and error, she came up with Midi Bites.

midi bites snack bars

Midi Bites contain simple organic ingredients and nothing artificial. They are naturally sweetened using dates.

Midi Bites Nutrition

Calories: 160

Macros:

  • 20 grams of carbs
  • 9 grams of fat
  • 3 grams of protein
  • 3 grams of fiber

Ingredients: (Almond flavor) Organic Gluten-Free Oatmeal, Organic Dates, Organic Cold Pressed Coconut oil, Almonds, Organic Agave, Organic chia seed, Organic  flaxseed, Organic Coconut

Midi Bites are pretty carb and fat dominant if you’re tracking macros, but they are perfect for times when quick energy is needed like on big hikes are long workout sessions. They are pretty small and can be eaten quickly.

I personally tried some and they tasted really good and had a great texture. 

Midi Bites are for sale at select retail locations or online here.

LARABAR

LARABAR was invented by Lara Merriken after she was hiking in the Rockies and felt the need for a simple snack bar made from only natural ingredients like fruit and nuts.  She went to the grocery store and looked at the popular flavors of cookies and ice cream in hopes of replicating those flavors yet in a much healthier way.

lara bar

LARABARS contain no more than 9 ingredients and are naturally sweetened with unsweetened dried fruit.

LARABAR Nutrition (Apple Pie)

Calories: 200

Macros

  • 25 grams of carbs
  • 9 grams of fat
  • 4 grams of protein
  • 4 grams of fiber

Ingredients: Dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon

LARABAR has been around for a while and has a whole line of different bars including a line especially for kids and bars that are higher in protein.  Their protein bar uses pea protein and has 11 grams of protein per bar for macro counters that are trying to get more protein in.

I’ve been eating LARABARs for years and they are one of my favorites. 

LARABARs are available in most stores and online via Amazon.

RXBAR

RXBAR was founded by a group of athletes in search of a clean and healthy protein bar. They wanted to create an alternative to all the whey protein-based bars that are usually also highly processed and full of unpronounceable ingredients.

RXBAR

RXBAR uses only simple ingredients and the protein is from egg whites with no added sugar.

RXBAR Nutrition (Banana Chocolate Walnut)

Calories: 210 per bar

Macros

  • 25 grams of carbs
  • 9 grams of fat
  • 12 grams of protein
  • 3 grams of fiber

Ingredients: Dates, Egg Whites, Cashews, Walnuts, Bananas, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Natural Flavors

RXBAR has a good variety of snack bars and also offers other products like nut butters and protein oats. RX is a good choice for those who like a protein dominant bar but don’t want whey protein or pea-based protein which can have a gritty texture.

I’ve eaten RXBARs from time to time and I do prefer them to whey-based products. 

RXBARs are available at many retail locations or via their online store.

Perfect Bar

Perfect Bar was started by the children of Bud Keith who was an advocate of whole food nutrition and founder of the first juice bar in Mission Beach, San Diego. Perfect Bar is the only refrigerated protein snack bar because they contain only fresh, whole-food ingredients.

perfect bar

Perfect bars are pretty high in protein compared to other non-whey based bars.

Perfect Bar Nutrition (Peanut Butter)

Calories: 330

Macros

  • 26 grams of carbs
  • 18 grams of fat
  • 17 grams of protein
  • 4 grams of fiber

Ingredients: Organic peanut butter, organic honey, organic nonfat dry milk, organic dried whole egg powder, organic rice protein, organic flaxseed oil, organic sunflower seed oil, organic sesame seed oil, organic olive oil, organic pumpkin seed oil, dried whole food powders (organic kale, organic flaxseed, organic rosehip, organic orange, organic lemon, organic papaya, organic tomato, organic apple, organic alfalfa, organic celery, organic kelp, organic dulse, organic carrot, organic spinach).

Perfect Bar is a little higher in calories than other bars, but it’s also higher in protein than others and has 20 organic superfoods mixed in. Perfect Bar delivers a lot of micronutrients as well as macronutrients.

I’ve tried Perfect Bar and they really are delicious. I little more expensive than others but they are also really packed with nutrition. 

Perfect Bar is available in the refrigerator section of natural food stores or online via Amazon.

Skout Bars

Skout Bars were founded by Jason who was tired of the “candy bar” type granola bars he was usually stuck with during his hikes. His yellow lab Skout inspired the name of his simple ingredient fruit, nut, and protein bars.

skout bars

Skout bars come in several different organic varieties including a version developed for kids.

Skout Bar Nutrition ( Salted Chocolate)

Calories: 220

Macros

  • 27 grams of carbs
  • 10 grams of fat
  • 10 grams of protein
  • 6 grams of fiber

Ingredients: Organic Dates, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Sunflower Seed Powder, Organic Cocoa, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, Organic Chocolate Flavor

The protein in Skout Bars is from sunflower and pumpkin seeds and the fiber in Skout is higher than most other healthy snack bars.

I’ve tried this version and it reminded me of a dense brownie and tasted really good.

Skout Bars are available in stores as well as online at Amazon.

Epic Performance Bars

Epic Foods was created by Taylor and Katie who saw the need for portable whole food nutrition. They make a whole line of grass-fed or organic meat products and Performance Bars made from 6 simple ingredients or less.

Epic performance bars

Epic Performance Bar Nutrition (Peanut Butter)

Calories: 210

Macros

  • 24 grams of carbs
  • 7 grams of fat
  • 12 grams of protein
  • 3 grams of fiber

Ingredients: Dates, peanuts, egg whites, peanut oil, sea salt

Epic uses egg whites to increase the protein content of their bars and they are available in six different flavors.

Epic products are available in retail locations as well as on Amazon.

Honorable Mentions

These snack bars are fairly healthy but do add sugar from honey and natural syrups.

  1. Rise Bar: Uses honey as a sweetener and whey protein
  2. Probar: Fairly good but high in sugar and carbs.
  3. Keto Bar: Good for those who want a bar with lower carbs.

Snack Bars That Aren’t That Healthy

  • Nature Valley: Added sugar is the second ingredient.
  • Kashi Bars: Sugar is the second and third ingredient.
  • Luna Bars: Sugar syrups and high in soy products.
  • Kind Bars: Added sugars and syrups.
  • Cliff bars: Sugar is the second ingredient in Cliff bars.
  • Quaker Chewy Bars: High in sugar and uses preservatives.
  • Picky Bars: Added sugars.
  • Fiber One Bars: High in Sugar, additives and uses chicory root fiber which causes uncomfortable gas in many people.
  • Atkins Bars: A lot of additives and uses sucralose.
  • Power Bars: High in sugar, whey protein, and other additives.
  • Cascadian Farm Organic: Uses sugar syrups and added cane sugar.
  • Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars: Sugar is the second and fourth ingredient.
  • Special K Bars: Marketed as a “diet bar” but sugar is the second and third ingredients, high in soy and additives.
  • Pure Protein Bars: A lot of highly processed ingredients, whey protein, and the artificial sweetener sucralose.
  • Quest: Highly processed ingredients, alcohol sugars, and artificial sugars.
  • Jif Power Ups: Marketed as a healthy snack for children but are high in sugar and are highly processed.
  • Great Value: This store brand of granola bar is high in sugar and highly processed ingredients.
  • Nutrigrain Bars: These are marketed as a breakfast bar but are high in sugar and have an ingredient list over 20 items long.
  • Annie’s Organic Granola Bars: While these create the illusion of being healthy, they may be organic but are still high in sugar and highly processed ingredients.

How to Spot a Healthy Bar

There are literally hundreds of brands of snack bars on the market and even more in other countries. I can’t possibly list them all here. But, I can teach you to be a healthy snack bar detective. Follow these guidelines if you come across a brand that you aren’t sure about.

  1. Look for a small and simple ingredient list. You should be able to recognize and pronounce everything on the list.
  2. Be sugar smart. Many brands try to disguise sugar and state that they don’t add sugar. Honey, syrups, dried cane juice, etc are all names for sugar. While honey is a natural ingredient it is essentially sugar. If some type of sugar is the second or third ingredient, look for something else.
  3. A lot of people want higher protein but this is often in the form of whey or soy. Both of these can cause digestive issues in a lot of people. Look for seed or pea protein-based bars or those that use egg whites.
  4. Added fiber seems like it would be a good thing but some types of fiber, especially chicory (also called inulin), causes cramping and gas in many.
  5. Don’t throw out the taste factor. Yes, we want our snack bars to be healthy, but we also want to enjoy eating them.

Have you found a really healthy snack bar brand that should be on this list? Mention it in the comments below. 

Ted Kallmyer is an ISSA certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and is our lead macro coach. If you need help reaching your weight loss/fitness goals see our personal coaching options.
Last Updated: October 14, 2019

Comments