You’ve heard it time and time again: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether that’s true or not is still up for debate, but one thing remains certain: Whatever you eat, it should provide you with the nutrients you need to start your day on the right foot. Many of us choose to eat breakfast bars in the morning, but some are a lot healthier than others. We tracked down the six healthiest and the four unhealthiest breakfast bars on the market.
The amount of breakfast bars for sale at the grocery store and natural shops is staggering. We’ve come a long way from the days when Nutri-Grain bars and Power Bars were our only options if we wanted to start the day with something quick, packaged, and moderately healthy. Many major food companies, including Kellogg’s, Quaker, and General Mills, all produce a wide variety of breakfast bars under a handful of brand names; and many smaller natural food companies, like Cascadian Farm and Annie’s Organic, have also gotten in on the game.
The word “healthy” is a relative one, especially when it comes to breakfast bars. You’re never going to encounter a breakfast bar with 400 calories and 15 grams of saturated fat, for example. And even if a breakfast bar has 10 grams of fat in it, if it comes from healthy sources like nuts, then there’s nothing wrong with that. Instead of counting fat and calories, we judged the healthiness of these breakfast bars by the amount of additives like high fructose corn syrup and trisodium phosphate in them, how highly processed they are, how many wholesome ingredients they contain, and whether they’re especially high in sugar, with more than 12 grams per bar.
Read on to learn which breakfast bars you can depend on to deliver a hefty dose of nutrition to your morning, and which ones you should probably avoid. And remember: If it tastes like a candy bar, it probably is one!