Granola Bars, Healthy or Junk Food in Disguise

Many people think of granola bars as a healthy snack or breakfast for themselves and their families, but are granola bars healthy? While many of the granola bars I looked at had a little less than half the sugar of a candy bar and about 1/3 less calories, they still often contain very little in anything of real nutritional value.

The ingredients in many of the popular brands are pretty poor. One popular bars first two ingredients are chicory root extract and semisweet chocolate chips. It also contains corn syrup, canola oil, high maltose corn syrup, soy, fructose, and many other not very healthy ingredients. The only things of real value is whole grain oats and that’s the third ingredient. Another popular brand that even says it’s “100% natural”  on the package contains not so natural ingredients, like high fructose corn syrup. And the second ingredient is sugar and third is canola oil! Not really what I would call health food.

Healthier Alternatives

If you must buy a packaged granola bar be sure to read the ingredients. Avoid high fructose corn syrup, soy, partially hydrogenated oils, and refined sugar. And look for certified organic. You can also make your own. A quick Google search will find you lots of recipes. Here is one that I found that uses real ingredients and no refined sugar, Granola Bars/Cereal Recipe.

If you use granola bars for a quick breakfast look into healthier options for breakfast on the go. Green smoothies can be made very quickly, have the ingredients ready the night before and just toss in a blend for a few minutes and put into reusable bottles and drink on the way to work or school. A piece of fruit and some cheese is also a good quick breakfast that will give you some fiber and protein. You can make and freeze homemade pancakes and just reheat in the oven for a few minutes, add some honey or real maple syrups and a bit of fruit. You can even make homemade breakfast sandwiches using healthy ingredients. Get creative and you will find all kinds of ways to get a healthy breakfast with very little time.

What do you eat for breakfast when you are in a hurry? Share recipes and ideas in the comments below or join in the conversation on Facebook.

Photo Credit: smoorenburg
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