Ideally, a granola bar should be packed with fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals to act as a healthy snack that keeps hunger at bay between meals.
Yet, in reality, many granola bars are loaded with sugar or highly processed ingredients, which means they end up more like a candy bar than a nutritious snack.
Here are 12 healthy granola bars designed to suit a variety of life stages, dietary needs, and health or fitness goals.
1–2. Kid-Friendly Granola Bars
The best granola bars for children should be made from whole, minimally processed ingredients and contain as little added sugar or salt as possible.
Although very few granola bars fit these criteria — including those marketed specifically for kids — the two options below do.
1. Phyter Plant-Based Bars
These bars are made from a handful of mostly whole ingredients, including fruit, nuts, oats, and seeds, and provide very little added sugar or salt.
They're available in six flavors, ranging from sweet potato and coconut to peanut butter and berries. What's more, they contain no gluten, soy, eggs, or dairy, which also makes them suitable for kids with allergies to these ingredients.
One 1.8-ounce (50-gram) bar contains 190–200 calories, 8–10 grams of fat, 23–24 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of protein. They also pack 3–4 grams of fiber, less than 10 mg of salt, and 7–9 grams of sugar — of which only 4 grams are from added sugars.
If you want to try these plant-based bars, shop for them online.
2. Nākd Bars
Nākd bars are made from fruit, nuts, and spices and harbor no added sugar or syrups and very little added salt. They're also gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan, and come in 17 distinct flavors, including salted caramel and carrot cake.
One 1.3-ounce (35-gram) bar contains 124–156 calories, 5–11 grams of fat, 13–19 grams of carbs, 2–5 grams of protein, 2–3 grams of fiber, less than 20 mg of salt, and 12–18 grams of sugar — none of which is added.
If you can't find these tasty bars locally, shop for them online.
Kid-friendly granola bars should be made from minimally processed ingredients and contain very little added sugar or salt. Phyter plant-based bars and nākd bars are two good options.
3–5. Low-Calorie Granola Bars
Low-calorie granola bars are a convenient, pre-portioned snack that's especially handy for people trying to lose weight or reduce their overall calorie intake.
For best results, steer clear of highly processed, artificially sweetened granola bars. Instead, opt for ones made from whole ingredients, such as whole grains, fruit, nuts, or seeds, as these are more likely to help you meet your daily nutrient needs.
It's also worth favoring bars rich in fiber and protein. These two nutrients can help you feel fuller for longer, potentially aiding weight loss by reducing the daily number of calories you eat.
3. Health Warrior Chia Bars
Health Warrior chia bars are made from mostly whole, plant-based ingredients — primarily chia seeds.
These bars are also dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free and contain a mere 100 calories per 0.9-ounce (25-gram) bar. You can expect around 4.5 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein per portion (6).
If your local supermarket doesn't carry these delicious chia bars, purchase them online.
4. Kashi Chewy Granola Bars
Kashi chewy granola bars are largely comprised of whole-grain oats, come in a variety of flavors, and provide 120–140 calories per 1.3-ounce (35-gram) bar.
One portion also contains 2.5–6 grams of fat, 21–26 grams of carbs, 3–4 grams of fiber, and 2–4 grams of protein. Each bar is sweetened with rice syrup and cane sugar, although the total amount of added sugars remains low, at around 6–9 grams per bar.
You can buy Kashi bars locally or online.
5. Sheffa Savory Bars
If you prefer non-sweet granola bars, Sheffa savory bars may be an interesting option for you.
Made from whole ingredients, such as whole grains, chickpeas, seeds, dried vegetables, herbs, and spices, they contain 140–150 calories per two 0.6-ounce (18-gram) bars.
To try Sheffa savory bars, shop for them locally or online.
Low-calorie granola bars are an option for people trying to limit their calories or lose weight. Make sure the one you choose is made from mostly whole ingredients and offers fiber and protein.
6–8. Protein-Rich Granola Bars
Protein-rich granola bars can help limit hunger between meals and make for a great recovery snack after a grueling workout. Here are a few options that offer decent amounts of fiber and aren't loaded with added sugars or artificial flavors.
6. Lärabar Protein
These gluten-free granola bars are made from a blend of fruit, nuts, and spices and enriched with pea protein.
They contain no artificial flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners and provide around 210–230 calories, 7–10 grams of fat, 24–26 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of protein per 1.9-ounce (52-gram) bar.
They also pack around 18 grams of sugar per bar, which can appear high at first glance. However, only up to 2 grams come from added sugar, with the rest from naturally sweet ingredients, such as dates, apples, and blueberries.
Many supermarkets carry Lärabar protein bars, but you may get a better deal online.
These 8-ingredient, high-protein bars are made in large part from dates, egg whites, nuts, and spices. What's more, they're gluten-free and contain around 200–210 calories and 12 grams of protein per 1.9-ounce (52-gram) bar.
If you want to give RXBARs a try, buy them locally or online.
8. Kashi Go Protein Bars
These protein-rich granola bars come in three flavors — dark chocolate and almonds, crunchy peanuts and peanut butter, and dark chocolate and peanut butter.
They're made from plant-based ingredients, including oats, nuts, and pea protein powder.
If you can't find these tasty bars at your local store, shop for them online.
These high-protein granola bars are rich in fiber and contain very few added sugars or artificial flavors. They're a great way to reduce hunger between meals or speed up recovery after a workout.
9–12. Nut- or Grain-Free Granola Bars
Nut- or grain-free granola bars can come in handy for people with allergies or food intolerances. Here are some good choices.
9. Purely Elizabeth Bars
These grain-free bars are made exclusively from nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, coconut oil, and spices. All flavors are gluten-free and vegan. Besides, they contain no genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and are sweetened with only a small amount of coconut sugar.
While you may be able to find these bars locally, buying online is another option.
10. Caveman Grain-Free Granola Bars
These grain-free bars are mostly made from a mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit and sweetened with a small amount of sugar and tapioca or maple syrup.
They come in flavors like blueberry almond, cinnamon raisin, and coconut cashew. Each 1.3-ounce (35-gram) bar contains 180 calories, 12 grams of fat, 13–14 grams of carbs, and 5–6 grams of protein.
If you want to try these grain-free bars, shop for them locally or online.
11. Enjoy Life Chewy Bars
Enjoy life chewy bars are free from the top eight allergens, including nuts and wheat. They also certified halal, kosher, and non-GMO and come in seven flavors.
These bars are made from a blend of rice, buckwheat, and millet flours, plus ingredients like flax seeds, sunflower seeds, dates, dried fruit, and spices.
Find these tasty chewy bars at your local store or online.
12. Go Raw Sprouted Bars
Go Raw sprouted bars are made from whole ingredients, such as fruit, sprouted seeds, and spices.
They're free from most nuts and grains, although some bars do contain coconut, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists as a tree nut. That said, experts suggest that most people allergic to tree nuts can safely eat coconut.
Bars come in sizes varying from 1.2–1.7-ounces (34–48 grams) and contain 140–250 calories, 7–15 grams of fat, 19–21 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber, and 3–6 grams of protein per portion.
Go Raw sprouted bars are available in specialty stores or online.
These nut or grain-free granola bars are mostly made from whole or minimally processed ingredients and can be particularly appealing for people with food allergies or intolerances.
Homemade Granola Bars
Homemade granola bars are a great alternative to store-bought ones.
Because they typically use minimally processed ingredients and very little added sugar or salt, they're often more nutritious than packaged versions.
Plus, they're very simple to make. To get started, mix the ingredients below in a large bowl:
- 2 cups (160 grams) of oats
- 1 cup (130 grams) of chopped nuts of your choice
- 1 cup (147 grams) of packed, diced, pitted dates
- 1/4–1/2 cup (60–120 ml) of your nut butter of choice
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) of maple syrup or honey (optional)
- dried fruit, coconut flakes, or chocolate chips to taste (optional)
Once well mixed, spread the mixture equally over a lined loaf pan or baking dish. Bake for 25–30 minutes at 350℉ (176℃) and let cool before slicing and serving. Alternatively, freeze for 20–25 minutes before serving.
This recipe is very versatile and can be adjusted according to your personal preferences.
For instance, you can substitute the oats with puffed rice, kamut flour, or cooked quinoa or millet. The dates can be swapped for mashed banana and the nuts replaced with seeds.
You can also adjust the quantities of all ingredients to your liking. Granola bars stored in an airtight container will remain fresh for around 1 week. You can extend their shelf life by storing them in your freezer and defrosting small amounts as needed.
Homemade granola bars only require a few ingredients and are simple to make. They're also often more nutritious than store-bought versions.
The Bottom Line
Though granola bars are easy and convenient, many of the options lining supermarket shelves are loaded with added sugar, salt, and heavily processed ingredients — making for a less-than-ideal snack.
Still, with some searching, it's possible to find healthy alternatives. The healthy options above are made from mostly whole, nutrient-rich ingredients with little to no added sugars.
If you can't find them or are looking for a lower-cost alternative, you can make your own using your choice of simple, nutrient-rich ingredients.
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Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
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