It was about time that we looked at exactly what is on the shelves and more importantly, in the boxes. We have done all the hard work for you so that you can see through the BS and know exactly what to look for and what options come out on top.
a) Getting lost for an embarrassingly long amount of time;
b) Becoming so overwhelmed you grab the box that claims the most health benefits;
c) Just grab whatever is on special that week.
And you know what? We have done all three of these options at some stage!
(You can see all of the bars on review at the end of the blog)
Just Want to Know What to Buy?
So What Were our Comparison Categories?
For us, it is an order of priority.
- Ingredients List – Ingredients need to be listed from the highest ingredient to the least ingredient.
This order means that you can quickly assess the overall nutrition without even looking at the numbers.
As well as this, we looked at the overall quality (and length) of the ingredients list.
- Sugar (and added sugar) – For us, any bars coming in under 10% sugar (less than 10g per 100g) was an absolute star. Obviously the bars with dried fruit are going to be higher in sugars than some others, so we took the source of sugar into account.
- Protein – Although not all bars will rate highly in terms of protein, it is an added bonus to look for in a product to assist with overall protein spread over the day and an added fullness factor.
- Fibre – Keep in mind that we are aiming for over 25g of fibre as a minimum. So if a snack, like a muesli bar, can add a good chunk toward this daily target, that is a real win!
So, let’s get started from the best and worst of each category and finish with our overall winners – the ones that stood out as superstars in most categories and are our fav picks of the bunch.
We might throw a BS award in for good measure too – cause hey, that is how we roll!
Ingredients List & Quality Rating
- Tasti Smooshed Wholefood Balls
- Carman’s Bliss Balls
Still Pretty Good:
- Most of Carman’s Nut Bars (except the ‘yoghurt-style’)
- All Natural Bakery Oat Bars
- Barley+ Muesli Bar Range
- LCM Bars
- K-Time Twists
- Fruit Sticks
- Hillcrest Caramel Muffin Bars
- Special K Protein Bliss Bites (5.5% sugar)
- Nice and Natural Protein Nut Bars with 3 Superseeds (6.6%)
- Barley+ Seven Seeds Bars (7.5%)
Still Pretty Good:
- Carman’s Nut Bars (11%)
- Carman’s Fruit Free Bars (12%)
- Coles Fruit Sticks (70% sugar!)
- Carman’s Bliss Balls (47% – coming from dates)
- K-Time Twists (37%)
- LCM Bars (34%)
- Carman’s Gourmet Protein Bars (27.7g/100g)
- Hillcrest Salted Caramel Protein Bars (26.5g/100g)
- Nice and Natural Protein Nut Bars with 3 Superseeds (25.5g/100g)
- Special K Protein Bliss Bites (25.5g/100g)
- Nature Valley Salted Caramel & Nut Protein Bar (25g/100g)
Still Pretty Good:
- Carman’s Nut Bar (23g/100g)
- Coles Fruit Sticks
- Most to be honest are pretty low – particularly: Uncle Toby’s Muesli bars, Carman’s Bliss Balls, Carman’s Oat Slice, LCM Bars, K-Time Twists, Hillcrest fruit bars
- NRG Max Snack Bar (31g/100g)
- Barley+ Bars (26g/100g)
- LCM Bars (0.4g/100g)
- Special K Biscuit Moments (1.2g/100g)
- Coles Fruit Sticks (2.5g/100g)
- Hillcrest Morning Break (3g/100g)
Our Top 5 Overall Winners…
Nice and Natural Protein Nut Bars with 3 Superseeds
Smashes it with a pretty good ingredients list, excellent protein content and very low sugar.
Barley+ Muesli Bar Range
This new bar to the market is a welcomed addition! An incredibly simple ingredients list with low sugar content and extremely high fibre.
Carman’s Nut Bars & Gourmet Protein Bars
This is a great all-rounder that features well in most areas – excellent protein levels for a muesli bar, only a moderate sugar content and most have a good ingredients list in terms of quality ingredients.
HAS NO Gluten Free Date & Chia
This all rounder slipped under the radar a little! It didn’t ‘superstar’ in any categories, but definitely does really well in all key areas to make a great product choice.
Tasti Smooshed Wholefood Balls
We couldn’t leave this product off the list – it is literally 4 ingredients (Dates, Nuts, Coconut & Salt). The dates make it a little high in sugar compared to other bars on the market, but it does great in all other areas.
And the Winners of the BS Award are…
Makes all the health claims but has an ingredients list the length of an essay:
Uncle Toby’s Chewy Muesli Bars
Mother Earth Baked Oaty Slice
The Bars that offer sugar, an ingredients list resembling a science experiment, and not much else:
For really not being as ‘fruit filled’ as they claim:
K-Time Apple & Raspberry Baked Twists – The ‘Fruit’ Filling makes up 40% of the product, but is only 4% raspberry juice concentrate & 2% apple. Wow. Just Wow.
Last Fun Fact: How Many Words Were Used for ‘Sugar’?
No less than 20!
Sugar | Glucose | Invert Sugar | Honey | Brown Sugar | Glucose Syrup | Golden Syrup | Sugar Syrup | Caramelised Sugar | Caramelised Sugar Syrup | Brown Rice Syrup | Molasses | Fructose | Maltodextrin | Fructose | Glucose Solids | Invert Syrup | Dextrose | Polydextrose | Fructose Powder
Also to be aware of: Juice Concentrate | Grape Juice | Fruit Puree | High levels of Dried Fruit | Dates