The Healthiest and Unhealthiest Breakfast Bars

Breakfast can be a great way to start the day, or a ticket to a sugar crash
Quaker Oats Big Chewy

The Healthiest and Unhealthiest Breakfast Bars

The Healthiest and Unhealthiest Breakfast Bars

ItemMaster

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. 

Healthiest: Annie’s Organic Peanut Butter Chewy Granola Bars

Healthiest: Annie’s Organic Peanut Butter Chewy Granola Bars

Annie’s Homegrown Inc. / ItemMaster

These 28-gram peanut butter bars contain 120 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, three grams of protein, one gram of dietary fiber, and just six grams of sugar. They contain no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, and ingredients include organic toasted whole oats, tapioca syrup, organic peanut butter, and honey. 

Healthiest: KIND Blueberry Breakfast Bars

Healthiest: KIND Blueberry Breakfast Bars

KIND, LLC / ItemMaster

Each 50-gram package of KIND’s breakfast bars contain 21 grams of whole grains, 220 calories, eight grams of fat, 11 grams of sugar, three grams of protein, and five grams of dietary fiber. They’re made with many different grains, including oats, millet, brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa

Healthiest: Go Raw Raisin Crunch Sprouted Bar

Healthiest: Go Raw Raisin Crunch Sprouted Bar

 Freeland Foods / ItemMaster

The “live” granola bars from Go Raw are about as healthy as it gets: The only ingredients are buckwheat, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, raisins, and dates, and a 14-gram bar contains just 70 calories, three grams of fat, and three grams of sugar, with two grams of fiber and one gram of protein. You may need to eat a couple to fill up, though. 

Healthiest: Cascadian Farm Harvest Berry Granola Bar

Healthiest: Cascadian Farm Harvest Berry Granola Bar

Small Planet Foods, Inc. / ItemMaster

All of Cascadian Farm’s products are organic, and it produces chewy, crunchy, and protein granola bars along with soft-baked squares. Their 35-gram Farm Harvest Berry Granola Bar contains 130 calories, two grams of fat, 11 grams of sugar, one gram of fiber, and two grams of protein, and ingredients include rolled oats, tapioca syrup, whole oat flour, rice flour, and dried blueberries and cranberries. 

Healthiest: Kashi GoLean Plant-Powered Bars: Dark Chocolate Cashew Chia

Healthiest: Kashi GoLean Plant-Powered Bars: Dark Chocolate Cashew Chia

 Kellogg Company / ItemMaster

These 45-gram bars provide complete protein, with 200 calories, 10 grams of fat, nine grams of sugar, eight grams of protein, and four grams of fiber. They’re gluten-free and vegan, with ingredients including cashews, pea crisps, chia seeds, whole grain oats, millet, buckwheat, and a hint of rosemary extract. 

Healthiest: Balance Bare: Sea Salt Caramel Nut

Healthiest: Balance Bare: Sea Salt Caramel Nut

Balance Bar Company / ItemMaster

Balance is already well-known for its protein bars, but its Bare line of bars is a completely different product. Its 34 gram sea salt caramel nut bars, for example, contains only a handful of ingredients, including peanuts, caramel, oats, almonds, flax seeds, cashews, dates, and chicory root fiber, as well as 10 grams of fat, 160 calories, six grams of sugar, five grams of protein, and three grams of fiber. 

Unhealthiest: Kellogg’s Special K Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Meal Bar

Unhealthiest: Kellogg’s Special K Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Meal Bar

Kellogg Company / ItemMaster

While these 45-gram bars contain just 170 calories and six grams of fat as well as five grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein, they contain a whopping 15 grams of sugar along with ingredients including partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil and emulsifiers like polysorbate 60 and 80. 

Unhealthiest: Nutri-Grain Fruit & Oat Harvest Baked Apple Cinnamon

Unhealthiest: Nutri-Grain Fruit & Oat Harvest Baked Apple Cinnamon

Kellogg Company / ItemMaster

These 50-gram bars contain 190 calories, five grams of fat, four grams of protein, and five grams of fiber, but it’s the 16 grams of sugar that put them squarely in the “unhealthy” category. The addition of ingredients like corn syrup and the preservative tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) don’t help, either. 

Unhealthiest: Quaker Oats Big Chewy, Chocolate Chip

Unhealthiest: Quaker Oats Big Chewy, Chocolate Chip

The Quaker Oats Company / ItemMaster

Quaker Oats’ popular Chewy granola bars really aren’t that bad for you, largely because of their small size; they’re only 24 grams, so their 100 calories and 3.5 grams of fat, along with whole-grain rolled oats, make it a reasonable snack. The “Big” version, however, nearly doubles the size to 42 grams, bumping the sugar content up to 13 grams and fat to 6 grams.

Unhealthiest: General Mills Cinnamon Toast Crunch Milk N’ Cereal Bars

Unhealthiest: General Mills Cinnamon Toast Crunch Milk N’ Cereal Bars

General Mills, Inc. / ItemMaster

Unlike most breakfast bars, these Milk N’ Cereal Bars don’t even make an attempt to be healthy. While yes, they may have the same amount of calcium as a small cup of milk, these 45-gram bars pack in a whopping 17 grams of sugar because they’re essentially putting frosting on sugary cereal. The ingredients, which contain things like textured soy flour, mono and diglycerides, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, and high fructose corn syrup, also certainly leave something to be desired.