Granola bars are a popular snack choice for many children and parents but are granola bars good for you? Portable enough to store in the van, toss into a lunch or pull out of a gym bag after practice, they are a quick and tasty snack for many on the go.
How to Label Shop for Healthy Ingredients
While some can be a nutritious option, many granola bars are a fat and sugar trap resembling a pretty packaged chocolate bar. Faced with the ever-growing selection of bars available, here are some guidelines to make sure you are making a healthy snack choice.
Keep the Sugar in Check
High sugar offenders are easy to spot when they are dunked in chocolate or coated in hardened “yogurt”, but the ingredients inside are equally as important. When looking for a healthier granola bar, opt for ones that add fruit or minimal natural sugars to their mix for sweetness. Read the nutrition facts panel on the side of box and choose a granola bar with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving.
Watch the Fat
Granola bars typically use a fair amount of fat to keep their bars together. The total fat content and nutritional value will increase with the addition of heart healthy nuts and seeds, yet the bar you choose should contain 0 g trans fat and no more than 2 grams of saturated fat per serving.
Count the Calories
You are looking for a quick and healthy snack, not a meal replacement for your kids. With this in mind, the calorie level should be between 100-180 Kcal per serving. For the hungrier child, round this snack out with a piece of fruit and/or greek yogurt alongside.
Fibre is Part of the Equation
A good fibre intake is an important part of your child’s health. Children need 19-31 grams of fibre per day depending on their age. Look for a granola bar with at least 3 g of fibre per serving. Pair it with a fruit or vegetable for an extra fibre boost.
Bonus for Protein
The addition of protein gets brownie points for a healthier snack bar choice. Protein plays an important role to keep your growing child’s hunger level in check between meals and activities and can be a great addition to a post sports snack.
Investigate the Ingredient List
Homemade granola is a combination of whole oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, oil and honey baked till crisp, however, once placed in a portable bar form with a long shelf life, the ingredients change. When you are looking for a healthy granola bar limit artificial ingredients such as sweeteners, flavours and colours as well as partially hydrogenated oils, palm oils and refined grains.
If you are gluten free consider brown rice vs crispy rice and keep the other grains in check to ensure you are getting the whole version for a healthier snack bar choice.
IronKids Nutrition has introduced a line of Nut free, Gluten free and GMO free Snack Bars made with brown rice, brown rice syrup, millet meal, suflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and real fruit. And they pass ALL the requirements to make them a healthy energy source for kids!