Snack Bars

This is an archive of my original snack bars list from around 2010 – most of these bars are no longer current, but the aim of this post is to demonstrate that when analysed, most packaged food is not much good – even the supposedly “healthy” stuff sold in health shops. But that by reading the ingredients labels it is possible to select the better options.

SNACK BARS


I sometimes get people asking me to recommend a good snack bar or energy bar. There’s no easy answer to that one as they are all processed foods.In this article, I review the best bars I could find in New Zealand, plus a selection of the more popular ones. Most of them are gluten free (GF) bars so that this information is useful to the widest possible audience. Many bars are far worse than these ones, and these are some that may be handy for times when you need some food in a hurry, and didn’t prepare.


I’ve ranked them in two ways. Firstly, by ingredients. Maximum ranking is 5 stars and points have been taken off for:

  • Soy
  • Artificial sweeteners (eg sucralose, aspartame. I have allowed glycerine and xylitol though, as compromise non-nutritive sweeteners)
  • Added sugars (with the exception of honey, which I’ve allowed as it is a real food. But don’t worry, the total sugar is addressed in the second section)
  • Puffed grains
  • Refined flours or starches
  • Unhealthy or unspecified vegetable oils
  • Common allergens (eg. gluten, peanuts and milk, though I have allowed whey protein)

Secondly, they’re ranked by macronutrient ratio. Most bars are very low in protein and fat, and very high in carbohydrate. This might be OK, if you had a small part of the bar, with something high in fat and protein. But if you’re grabbing a bar for a meal on the run, those ratios will disrupt most people’s blood sugar. Bars get a good score if:

  • The protein content is 10% or higher
  • The total carbs are 40% or lower
  • The total sugars are 20% or lower

(Note that these were calculated on the gms listed on the packaging, which may have been rounded)

If you are a Carbo type, or a sportsperson with high caloric demand, or are eating part of a bar with something high in protein or fat, you may wish to choose based just on the ingredient score, and not worry about the ratio. If you are a Protein type, it ‘s expecially important to pick a high star bar in this category.


I’m looking for a bar that gets a high score in both categories, so that’s how the overall scores are calculated. If your criteria are different, you may rate them differently overall.

Also note that I’m not having a go at the food manufacturers here. It’s a bit of a catch-22 situation as they have to make what sells, and a healthy bar isn’t usually a popular bar. Many consumers want cheap and tasty, and don’t much care about the ingredients. Or get fooled by the 97% Fat Free label or the Heart Foundation tick into buying something full of sugar. One bar that used to be made by Freedom Foods would have been top of the list, but it didn’t sell and they stopped making it.

Cost and availability are based on what I’ve found in Kilbirnie, Wellington. In your area this may be different.

If you want to go straight to your favourite bar, here are the bars I’ve reviewed:

Mrs May’s Almond Crunch (56g)
Mrs May’s Cran-Blueberry Crunch (56g)

Cost and availability: Approx $2.60 from health food shops. I haven’t found them in any supermarkets so far. These are bags of bite sized nut crunches, and are delicious. These are just two of he flavours available.

Pros:

  • Made from real food.
  • Good macronutrient ratio

Cons:

  • Some flavours have “natural flavours” added, which are not necessarily good.
  • They’re from Australia, so are a bit more expensive than NZ bars.

Summary: The NEW pick of the bunch! They say one serve is half a bag, but you could easily eat the whole bag yourself.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Mrs May’s Almond Crunch (56g) Yes 320 10g
12.5%
26g
73%
18g
22.5%(3g
7.5% )
Cranberries, Blueberries, Cashews, Almonds, Pistachios, Sesame Seeds, Rice Malt, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Sea Salt, Natural Flavor.
Mrs May’s Cran-Blueberry Crunch (56g) Yes 344 10g
11.6%
24g
63%
18g
20.9%(4g
9.3% )
Almonds,Rice Malt, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Sea Salt
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

No-No Sesahoneyme (75g)
No-No Cashoneyew (75g)

Cost and availability: Approx $1.90 from health food shops. I haven’t found them in any supermarkets so far. There are other bars in the range, including a Carob flavoured bar. They are higher in sugar and carbs and not all of them are gluten free. But check them out and see if they meet your requirements.

Pros:

  • NZ made, from real food.
  • Reasonably good macronutrient ratio

Cons:

  • Some people are sensitive to peanuts

Summary: The pick of the bunch! Half a bar is probably adequate, but even a whole one shouldn’t blow your blood sugar out of the water. Aug 2007 – still good, but lost the top slot!

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
No-No Sesahoneyme (75g) Yes 399 8.6g
8.6%
31.9g
72%
18.28g
18%(15.3g
15.4% )
Coconut, sesame & sunflower seeds, honey, peanuts, maize cornflour
No-No Cashoneyew (75g) Yes 400 7.8g
7.8%
31.2g
70%
20.85g
21%(15.3g
15.4% )
Coconut, cashews, sunflower seeds, honey, peanuts, maize cornflour
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

 

Naked Goodness Cashew & Coconut Bites (25g)
& 100% Natural Cashew & Coconut (50g)

Cost and availability: Bites are around $3.90 for a box of 8 in the supermarket (so under 50c each). I haven’t found the full sized bars here. Also available in Macadamia and Apricot, which is ranked a bit lower (see below).

Pros:

  • Comes in two sizes – for many people the smaller size will be enough
  • Mostly natural ingredients
  • Good macronutrient ratio

Cons:

  • Added sugar, and added glucose syrup. But at least it’s from corn, so still gluten free. (Note that glucose syrup, even though derived from corn, is much safer then high fructose corn syrup. It’s the fructose that’s most dangerous.)
  • Added sunflower oil

Summary: Probably the best bar you’d be able to find in a supermarket, or 24/7 store.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Naked Goodness Cashew & Coconut Bites (25g) Yes 148 3.5g
9%
11.7g
71%
7g
19%(4.4g
12% )
Toasted coconut (22%, sulphite), cashew nuts (22%), sunflower seeds (21%), sesame seeds (14%), honey (9%), raw sugar, glucose syrup (from maize), sunflower oil
100% Natural Cashew & Coconut (50g) Yes 289 6g
8%
22g
69%
15g
21%(10g
14% )
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Nice & Natural Apricot Natural Nut Bar (35g)

Cost & Availability: Approx $3.96 for a box of 6 in supermarkets, so about 66c each. Comes in other GF flavours – plain, Chocolate and Yoghurt, which are a little higher in carbs and sugar, so only get one tick.

Pros:

  • Good ratio with comparatively low sugar content

Cons:

  • Some people are sensitive to peanuts
  • Added glucose syrup. But at least it’s from corn, so still gluten free.

Summary: A nice tasting, economical bar.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Nice & Natural Apricot Natural Nut Bar (35g) Yes 163 5g
13%
10.2g 56% 12.3g
30%(7.4g
18% )
Roasted peanuts (45%), Dark Chocolate (20%) (Sugar, Cocoa Liquer, Cocoa butter, emulsifiers (soya lecithin, 476, 492), flavour), sultanas, glucose (from maize), honey, dried apricots (6%, preservative 220), rice crisps (rice flour, water), sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flavour, citric acid
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Australian Wallaby Cashew & Sesame bar (40g)

Cost & Availability: Available in health food shops.

Pros:

  • Natural ingredients
  • Good macro nutrient balance

Cons:

  • It’s got soy beans in it. Maybe they have been fermented, but probably not.

Summary:

I personally wouldn’t eat it because of the soy beans, but for others the good things about it may outweigh that.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Australian Wallaby Cashew & Sesame bar (40g) Yes 195 6g
12%
13g 60% 14g
29%(6.8g
14% )
Cashews, sesame seeds, pepitas, rice extract, rice cereal, sunflower seeds, soy beans, dietary fibre, vanilla flavour
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Naked Goodness Macadamia & Apricot Bites (27g)
& 100% Natural Macadamia & Apricot Bars (55g)

Cost & Availability: Bites are around $3.90 for a box of 8 in the supermarket (so under 50c each). I haven’t found the full sized bars here. Also available in Cashew and Apricot, which is ranked a bit higher (see above).

Pros:

  • Comes in two sizes – for many people the smaller size will be enough
  • Mostly natural ingredients

Cons:

  • Added sugar, and added glucose syrup. But at least it’s from corn, so still gluten free. (Note that glucose syrup, even though derived from corn, is much safer then high fructose corn syrup. It’s the fructose that’s most dangerous.)
  • Added sunflower oil

Summary: One of the best bars you’d be able to find in a supermarket, or 24/7 store.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Naked Goodness Macadamia & Apricot Bites (27g) Yes 145 2.6g
7%
10g 62% 10.8g 30%(7.5g) Sunflower seeds (19%), dried apricots (15%), macadamia nuts (13%), toasted coconut (13%, sulphites), honey (10%), raw sugar (9%), desiccated coconut (7%, sulphites), sesame seeds, glucose syrup (from maize), buck wheat flour, rice flour, sunflower oil.
100% Natural Macadamia & Apricot Bars (55g) Yes 294 5g
7%
20g 62% 22g
30%(17g)
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

MegaBurn Body Boost Bar (60g)

Cost & Availability: $45 for a box of 10 available online

Pros:

  • Very good ingredients
  • Gluten, dairy and soy free

Cons:

  • It’s let down by the carb and sugar content which is high

Summary: The ingredients are very good, if you’re OK on a high carb bar. But if you need a higher ratio of fat and protein, you’d need to have something else with it.

Note that the other bars in this range all have soy protein in, which gives them a much lower score.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
MegaBurn Body Boost bar Yes 227 6.5g
11.6%
6.2g
25%
32.5g
58%(16.8g
28%)
Rice Malt, Dried Fruit, Psyllium Husks, Rice Protein, Cashews, Pumpkin Seeds, Maple Syrup, Multi-strain Lactobascillus culture with Fructo-Oligiosaccharides, Apple, Kiwi Fruit, Almonds, Tahini, Rice Bran, Flax Meal, Puffed Rice, Spirulina, Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Papaya, Carrot, Mandarin, Fig, Chlorella, Alfalfa, Beetroot, Orange Flavour( nature identical), Aniseed, Ginger, Slippery Elm, Cinnamon.
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Freedom Foods Omega Bar (40g)

Cost & Availability: Approx $9.93 for a box of 6, in the health food section of the supermarket.

Pros:

  • Mostly good ingredients
  • Reasonable macronutrient ratio

Cons:

  • The added sweetener is fructose which is one of the most dangerous
  • Total carb and sugar content is quite high – more than I’d recommend for a snack
  • Unless they’re stored in the fridge, the flaxseed oil is likely to go rancid

Summary: This is a bar I’d maybe eat half of, but a whole bar is a big sugar hit.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Freedom Foods Omega bar Yes 494 12g
9.7%
29g
53%
42g
34%(21g
17%)
Seed mix (linseeds, sunflower kernels, almonds, macadamia) apple juice concentrate, honey, fructose, olive oil, flaxseed oil, puffed amaranth, rice flour, psyllium husks, omega 3 epa/dha powder 1.24% (from tuna oil), inulin, lactobacillus, acidophilus me, maize starch, natural vanilla flavour.
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Dr Mercola’s Cocoa Cassava Bar (45g)

Cost & Availability: These have to be ordered by the boxful (12) from Dr Mercola’s website, and including shipping come to about $NZ 8 a bar. So a bit expensive for most people! But I’ve reviewed them as I know a lot of my readers also read Dr Mercola, and I thought you might like to know how his bars stack up.

Pros:

  • Mostly fairly good ingredients
  • OK macronutrient ratio

Cons:

  • Labelled as low carb, but they clearly are not

Summary: If I lived in the US, I’d maybe keep a box in the cupboard for when I’m out and about. But although they were quite nice tasting, overall I didn’t think they were that great, and definitely not worth what it costs to get them here.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Dr Mercola’s Cocoa Cassava Bar (45g) Yes 190 5g
11%
9g
43%
23g
48%(9g
19% )
Cassava Flour, Fruit Juices (Pear, Grape and/or Apple), Natural Rice Dextrins, Coconut Oil, Dark Chocolate Chips (Cane Sugar, Chocolate Solids, Cocoabutter, GMO Free Soy Lecithin [added as an emulsifier], Natural Flavor), Proserum® Whey Protein, Raw Chia Seeds, Xylitol, Unsweetened Coconut, Dutched Cocoa Powder, Xanthan, Natural Flavors, Aluminum Free Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Sea Salt.
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Truelife Fig Bar (75g)
& Truelife Sunny Bar (75g)

Cost & Availability: Around $1.80 in health food shops. Or $2.80 for the all-organic version for these two bars. There are many other flavours, but most of them are even higher in sugar, and most are not gluten free.

Pros:

  • NZ made, from real food.

Cons:

  • High in carbs and sugar

Summary: If you have quarter of one as dessert, it’s a pretty healthy one. But as a meal replacement, especially if have the whole thing, you’re likely to feel a bit sick in the short term and it won’t be good for your blood sugar.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Truelife Fig Bar (75g) Yes 265 4.89g
7%
11.17g 38% 36.52g
55%(33.71g
51% )
Figs, sultanas, coconut, sunflower seeds
Truelife Sunny Bar (75g) Yes 271 5.82g
8.6%
10.29g 34% 38.82g
57%(35.49g
52% )
Sultanas, dates, sunflower seeds, apricots, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Layleys Apricot & Cashew Bar (50g)

Cost & Availability: Used to be available in health food shops, but can’t find in my area at present. Ask in your local shop.

Pros:

  • Good natural ingredients

Cons:

  • High in carbs and sugars

Summary: As with the Truelife bars, if you have quarter of one as dessert, it’s a pretty healthy one. But as a meal replacement, especially if have the whole thing, you’re likely to feel a bit sick in the short term and it won’t be good for your blood sugar.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Layleys Apricot & Cashew Bar (50g) Yes 189 2g
5%
9.35g 45% 24.05g 51%(23.2g
49% )
Dates, Coconut, Dried Apricots (12%) (contain preservative (220)), Sultanas, Cashew Nut Pieces (2.5%).
Ingredients:
Ratio:
Overall:

 

Annies All Fruit Rollups, Wriggles and bars

Cost & Availability: Widely available in supermarkets and health food shops.

Pros:

  • NZ made, from real food.
  • Most bars are pure fruit with nothing added.

Cons:

  • High in carbs and sugar

Summary: Suitable to replace a piece of fresh fruit, as part of a balanced meal or snack. But as with fresh fruit, I don’t recommend eating one on it’s own. And remember that dried fruit is more concentrated than fresh, so eat a smaller portion. Fibre Fruits are not recommended as they include soy.

Note: These comments only apply to Annies brand, which are pure. Other brands (eg. Uncle Toby’s) have other ingredients such as wheat derivatives and vegetable oils and should be totally avoided.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Annies fruit rollups and wriggles Yes 100% Differs by flavour, but usually pure fruit with no additives. Some include FOS. Avoid those with soy.
Ingredients:
Ratio:
Overall:

 

Sunshine Organic Treats Berry Bar (75g)

Cost & Availability: Available in health food shops at around $4.95 for a box with 2 bars. There are other gluten free treats in the range, including the Smart One bar which is similar to this one, and other cakes and biscuits.

Pros:

  • NZ made, from real food.

Cons:

  • High in carbs and sugar

Summary: As with the Truelife bars, if you have quarter of one as dessert, it’s a pretty healthy one. But as a meal replacement, especially if have the whole thing, you’re likely to feel a bit sick in the short term and it won’t be good for your blood sugar.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Sunshine Organic Treats Berry bar Yes 361 4.4g
4.9%
21.8g
54.4%
35.5g
39.4%(21.6g
24%)
Brown rice flour, free range eggs, coconut, orange juice, honey, palm shortening, tapioca, sesame seeds, dried fruit (apple, boysenberry, plums), dairy free chocolate (sugar, vegetable fat, cocoa powder, emulsifier, flavour).
Ingredients:
Ratio:
Overall:

 

One Square Meal (1 bar, 1/2 serve, 87g)

Cost & Availability: Approx $3.70 for a pack of 2 in the supermarket, approx $4 in dairy or service station. (Note that the two bars are considered to be the equivalent of a meal. For a snack, one would be ample, and that’s what is in the table.)

Pros:

  • Mostly fairly natural ingredients
  • OK fats
  • Not high in sweeteners

Cons:

  • Includes soy protein
  • Isn’t gluten free
  • Low in protein, high in carbs

Summary: In truth, this isn’t the worst of the bars by a long shot. Most are much more unhealthy. But this one is worth mentioning as it’s promoted as being so healthy that you could use two bars to replace a meal, and you’d be covering all your nutritional bases. But look at the sugar content. This means two bars have 30g, which means they’re saying 90g of sugar a day is OK. Not in my book it isn’t!

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
One Square Meal (1 bar, from pack of 2) 87g No 347 8.4g
10%
11.6g
30%
45.1g
52%(15g
17% )
Rolled oats, Dried apricots 12% (with antioxidant (220)), Manuka honey 11%, Vegetable oil (rice bran oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil), Maltodextrin, Isolated soy protein (non GM), Wheat flakes, Humectant (glycerine), Raisins, Maize starch, Rice flour, Vegetable gum (Acacia gum), Natural flavour, Salt, Vitamins & Minerals (Calcium, Vitamin C, Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Niacin, Vitamin B2, Folate, Iodine), Malted barley extract, Emulsifier (soy lecithin), Natural colour (caramel III).
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Freedom Foods Muesli Breakfast Bar (35g)

Cost & Availability: Approx $7.30 for a box of 6, in the health food section of the supermarket.

Pros:

  • Gluten free
  • Fairly good ingredients

Cons:

  • Extremely high carb

Summary: Coming in at nearly 60g of carbs, I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. For people with weight or health problems, 70-80g of carbs might be their upper limit for the entire day!

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Freedom Foods Muesli Breakfast Bar (35g) Yes 420 8.1g
7.7%
15.9g
34%
56.9g
54%(33.9g
32%)
Fruit juice concentrate (pear & apple), sultanas, puffed rice, sunflower seeds, coconut (preservative 220), rice bran (rice flour, rice bran, prune juice concentrate), rice flakes with psyllium (rice flour, maize flour, psyllium, maltodextrin (corn), apple juice concentrate, salt, vitamins (niacin, thiamin, folate), mineral (iron), linseed, inulin, dried appricot (preservative 220), psyllium husks, sesame seeds, sliced almonds, dried apple, corn starch, natural flavour.
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Orgran Fruit Bar (50g)

Cost & Availability: Approx $2.80 in health food shops.

Pros:

  • Gluten free

Cons:

  • High in carbs and sugar
  • Added fructose
  • Dangerously low in fat
  • The small amount of fat present is canola oil

Summary: They’ve fallen into the trap of thinking low fat is healthy, and the lower the better. We know better – fat keeps your blood sugar stable, and helps build your cells. It probably tastes nice if you want to eat it as cake. But it’s not a nourishing snack in any way.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Orgran Fruit Bar (50g) Yes 161 2.2g
5.5%
1g
5.6%
30.7g
76%(21.5g
53.4%)
Sultanas, dates, milled chick peas, milled corn, tapioca, brown rice syrup, currants, blueberries, fruit concentrate, inulin, fructose, canola oil, milled rice, natural flavour, sodium bicarbonate
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Cookie Time Bumper Bar (80g)

Cost & Availability: About $3.60 for a box of 3 in the supermarket. Also available singly in service stations. Come in 3 flavours.

Pros:

  • High in butter, which is good, and unusual in baked snacks these days
  • Reasonably natural ingredients

Cons:

  • They don’t say what the vegetable oil is, so it could be good (coconut or palm) or bad (canola)

Summary: If you’re on holiday and pull into a service station, this or a One Square Meal might look like the healthiest choices available. Admittedly, they are tasty. But if you can find a bag of nuts and brush the excess salt off, that would be better.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Cookie Time Bumper Bar (80g) No 349 4.8g
5.5%
19.8g
51%
38g
43.6%(22.8g
26%)
Rolled oats, Butter, Chocolate 15%* (sugar, cocoa mass, milk solids, cocoa butter, emulsifiers (soya lecithin, 476), malted barley syrup, flavour), Dried apricots 13%*, Brown sugar, Wholewheat flour, Desiccated coconut, Golden syrup, Vegetable oil, Wheat bran, Malted barley extract, Sunflower & sesame seeds, Honey, Salt, Natural flavour, Antioxidant (220). May contain traces of nuts.
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Tasti Snak Logs (40g)

Cost & Availability: Around $3.50 for a box of 6 in the supermarket.

Pros:

  • Ratio isn’t as bad as many others

Cons:

  • Contains margarine
  • Peanuts are a common allergen
  • Also contains casein and gluten
  • Apple juice is commonly perceived as healthy, but is high in fructose
  • Includes colour which most of the others don’t

Summary: Nothing to recommend it. Avoid.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Tasti Snak Logs (40g) No 178 5.4g
12%
8.3g
42%
19.3g
43%(11.2g
25%)
Roasted peanuts, sugar, non fat milk powder, rolled oats, honey, oat bran, dried apricots (7.5%), margarine (vegetable oils, salt, emulsifiers (471, soy lecithin), colour (160a)), sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, glucose, apple juice concentrate, wheatgerm, flavours.
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Mother Earth Soft and Chewy Berry Choc (32.5g)

Cost & Availability: Around $4.30 for 8 in the supermarket.

Pros:

  • Reasonably natural ingredients

Cons:

  • Very low in protein
  • Doesn’t specify the vegetable oil
  • Lots of different types of added sugars

Summary: When a bar has only one very weak “pro”,and many “cons”, what else can I say except don’t eat it?

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Mother Earth Soft and Chewy Berry Choc No 129 1.5g
4.7%
4.5g
31.4%
21.2g
65.7%(9.7g
30%)
Cereals (36%) (rolled oats, wheat flakes, rice cereal (rice flour, sugar, salt, emulsifier (471)), glucose syrup, dark compounded chocolate (15%) (sugar, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, milk solids, emulsifiers (492, soy lecithin, 476), salt, flavour), raspberry juice (5%), vegetable oil (non trans, contains natural antioxidant (306)),brown sugar, sultanas (4%), dessicated coconut, new zealand honey, cranberry pieces (2%) (cranberries, sugar, sunflower oil), blueberries (1%), food acid (citric), emulsifier (soy lecithin), natural flavour.
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Uncle Toby Chewy bars (Berry)

Cost & Availability: Around $3.20 for 8 in the supermarket.

Pros:

  • None

Cons:

  • Hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • Contains casein and gluten
  • Lots of added sugars

Summary: It’s got all the bad stuff. Avoid.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Uncle Toby Chewy bars (Berry) No 136 2.1g
6.2%
4.3g
28.4%
21.6g
63.5%(11.6g
34%)
Cereals (rolled oats, wheat), glucose, compound chocolate (sugar, hydrogenated vege oil, milk solids, cocoa powder, Emulsifier (soy lecithin, 492), salt, flavour), sugar, puffed rice (rice flour, sugar, rice bran, colour, emulsifier), vegetable oil, flavoured fruit grains (raspberry puree, wheat fibre), honey, milk solids, humectants (420, 422), coconut, treacle, salt, emulsifiers, food acid (330), flavour.
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Powerbar Pria (28g)

Cost & Availability: Approx $1.99 in the health food section of the supermarket.

Pros:

  • No redeeming features

Cons:

  • Contains soy
  • Low fat
  • High in refined carbs

Summary: This is made pretty much entirely from soy and refined carbs. Adding some vitamins and minerals doesn’t make it any better. Eat some real food instead, and avoid these things unless very desperate.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Powerbar Pria (28g) No 118 5.3g
18%
3g
22.9%
15.7g
53.2%(8.2g
27.8%)
Rice syrup, milk chocolate coating (27%) (sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, cocoa solids, emulsifiers (soy lecithin, 492,476), flavour), soy flour (colour (E150d)), soy protein nuggets (soy protein isolate, rice flour), rice crisps ( rice flour, tapioca starch, sugar, malt powder (from barley), salt), humectant (422), soy protein isolate, rice flour, flavours, minerals, maltodextrin, vitamins.
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Zone Perfect Orange Cranberry Crunch (50g)

Cost & Availability: Approx $3.99 in the supermarket. Comes in 13 different flavours.

Pros:

  • It’s a Zone bar, so OK macronutrients ratio
  • Gluten free

Cons:

  • Contains soy and canola oil
  • Contains fructose, one of the most dangerous sugars
  • High in refined carbs

Summary: They’re probably no worse than many others, but they’re not real food. Don’t eat them unless you’re desperate for fuel and the only alternative is a Body For Life bar, and even then starvation is always an option.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Zone Perfect (50g) Yes 210 15g
28.6%
7g
30%
22g
41.9%(15g
28.6%)
Soy Protein Nuggets (Isolated Soy Protein, Tapioca Starch, Rice Flour, Malt, Salt), Yogurt Coating (Sugar, Palm Kernel Oil, Nonfat Dry Milk Solids, Yogurt Powder [Cultured Whey Protein Concentrate, Cultured Skim Milk, Yogurt Culture], Soy Lecithin, Salt, Natural Flavor), Corn Syrup, Milk Protein Isolate, Dried Cranberries (Cranberries, Sugar, Sunflower Oil), Fructose, Canola Oil, Palm Oil, Glycerine, Water, Natural Flavors.
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Body for Life bars

Cost & Availability: About $3.29 in supermarkets. Lots of flavours available.

Pros:

  • Gluten free
  • Reasonable macronutrient balance, aimed at Zone ratios

Cons:

  • Soy protein
  • Lots of fructose
  • Artificial sweetener (sucralose)
  • Artificial flavourings

Summary: Body For Life is quite a popular regime still, and people are out there eating these bars, thinking they’re good for you. They’re not, they’re appalling.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Body for life Yes 200 15g
30%
7g
32%
21g
42%(10g
20% )
Protein Blend (soy protein isolate, casein, hydrolyzed whey protein, whey protein isolate, calcium caseinate), high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (palm oil), sugar, invert sugar, fructose, cocoa, tapioca starch, modified corn starch, non fat milk, vitamin & mineral blend, milk protein concentrate, soy lecithin, cocoa butter, natural and artificial flavor, caramel, unsweetened chocolate, salt, calcium carbonate, maltodextrin and sucralose (splenda brand).
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Healtheries Simple Apricot & Yoghurt bar

Cost & Availability: About $2.79. A fairly new bar, so not widely available yet. But expect them to see with the other Simple products soon. Also available in Berry & Yoghurt and Chocolate flavour. The Berry and Yoghurt gets even less stars as it also has added sucralose (total score 4 x’s!).

Pros:

  • Gluten free
  • Better macronutrient ratio than some others

Cons:

  • Contains soy protein
  • Contains fructose
  • Contains unspecified vegetable fats

Summary: If you’re gluten intolerant, sometimes you find yourself in a situation where your choices are to eat gluten or gnaw your arm off. In that situation, these might be better than losing an arm….Otherwise avoid.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Healtheries Simple Apricot & Yoghurt Yes  176 7.2g
16%
 4.5g
23%
 22.5g
51%(12.3g
28%)
Healtheries protein blend (17%) (soy protein nuggets (isolated soy protein, tapioca starch, salt), whey protein concentrate), dried diced apricot (14%) (apricots, rice flour, preservatives [220]), glucose syrup (maize), fructose, yoghurt compound (sugar, vegetable fat, skim yoghurt powder, whey powder, emulsifiers [soy lecithin, 492], food acid [330]), puffed rice, shortening (vegetable fats, antioxidant [307]), polydextrose, rice bran (rice flour, rice bran, prune juice concentrate), tapioca dextrin, maltodextrin (maize), glycerine, mineral salt (578), flavour, emulsifier (soy lecithin), vegetable gum (414), food acid (330).
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

 

Vogels Scroggin Clusters (40g)

Cost & Availability: Around $4.99 for 6 in the supermarket.

Pros:

  • Nothing to speak of

Cons:

  • High allergy potential
  • Margarine
  • Colour
  • Sugars

Summary: The original Vogels was the first whole grain bread in NZ, and it’s still the best of the gluten breads. So it’s very disappointing to see that these clusters are not in the same league – and in fact are the very opposite. There are other bars available that are this bad, or maybe a tad worse, like Milk & Cereal bars, or Milo bars, but at least those ones you can tell at a glance are not going to be nutritious.

GF? Calories Protein Fat Carbs (Sugars) Ingredients:
Vogels Scroggin Clusters (40g) No 172 3.3g
7.7%
6.5g
34%
22.9g
53.3%(11.9g
27.7%)
Wholegrain Oats (26%), Sweetened Condensed Milk (Milk, Sugar), Dried Apricots (11%) (Apricots, Rice Flour, Preservative (220* Sulphite)), Margarine (Vegetable Oil, Salt, (Emulsifiers (322 (Soy), 471), Colour (160a), Flavour)), Dextrose Monohydrate, Wheat Flour, Brown Sugar, Currants, Inulin (from Chicory), Peanuts (4%), Dessicated Coconut (Preservative 220* Sulphite), Linseeds, Vitamins (Vitamin E, Folate).
Ingredients: Ratio: Overall:

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