Is This Bar Healthy? 4 Bars: Raves, Rants & Ratings

We love 'em. We're desperate for 'em. 

They're stuffed in the bottom of our purse. They're tossed in our car glove compartment.

It's the first thing we grab when we're starving. It's the last thing we grab when we want real food. 


The Good, The Bad, The Inevitable

Bars are convenient. And, they're marketed to us as such, "you barely have time to brush your teeth in the morning, don't fret -- just grab a bar!"

But here's the thing -- most bars lack real nutrition, like protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fresh ingredients -- you know, real food

We've taken a food product that could suffice in an OMG-I'm-starving emergency, and put it into an everyday rotation -- maybe even twice a day.

I'm not saying we should never eat another bar again, but I do think it's worthwhile to take a second look at what's in these bars.

Do they have any nutritional value? Or, are marketers doing a fantastic job convincing us that we need these bars? -- That a modern day gal or gent can't go a day without these health bars?


Let's take a look at 4 popular health bars: 

1. Kind Bar – Blueberry Pecan + Fiber


Almonds, pecans, honey, blueberry pieces (blueberries, sugar, apples, plums, apple juice, vegetable glycerin, citrus pectin, sunflower oil, natural blueberry flavor), cashews, non GMO glucose, raisins, chicory root fiber, crisp rice, soy lecithin.



Teaspoons of sugar: 9 grams of sugar or 2.25 teaspoons of sugar

Added sugars: Honey, sugar, apple juice, vegetable glycerin, natural blueberry flavor, non GMO glucose

Unhealthy Oils: Sunflower oil

Healthy Oils: None

Fullness Factor:  4 grams of protein (Sad face emoji)

What-The? Ingredients: 

Soy lecithin – A byproduct of soybean oil and is used as an emulsifier – it helps to bind and keep a food product together.

Citrus pectin – Found in the peel and pulp of citrus, it’s used in jams to gel sugar together.

Chicory root fiber – Added to increase fiber content – seen in foods marketed as “high fiber”.

Natural blueberry flavor – Flavorings can compensate for flavor loss during processing or act as a substitute for the real ingredient -- like in this case for blueberries. 



  • Good: Includes almonds, pecans and cashews, which are healthy sources of fat. 
  • Bad: There are SIX different added sugars, in addition to natural fruit -- blueberries, apples, raisins. If we're trying to limit sugars to less than 50 grams per day, we're using up nearly 10 grams on a little stinkin' bar!
  • Final Thought: I'd be hungry again in an hour. 

2. Nature Valley - Crunchy Oats 'N Honey Granola Bar


Whole grain oats, sugar, canola oil, yellow corn flour, honey, soy flour, brown sugar syrup, salt, soy lecithin, baking soda, natural flavor.



Teaspoons of sugar: 11 grams of sugar or 2.75 teaspoons of sugar

Added sugars: Sugar, honey, brown sugar syrup

Unhealthy Oils: Canola oil

Healthy Oils: None

Fullness Factor: 3 grams of protein (Sad face emoji)

What-The? Ingredients: 

Soy lecithin – A byproduct of soybean oil and is used as an emulsifier – it helps to bind and keep a food product together.



  • Good: Whole grain oats? I dunno -- there's not much here to be desired. 
  • Bad: My heart sinks a bit to see sugar and canola oil listed as the 2nd and 3rd ingredients. Sugar and a highly processed oil? Hmpph. Yellow corn flour, soy flour and brown sugar syrup add zilch in the way of nutrition.
  • Final Thought: I know you can buy these by the multi-dozen at Costco, but quantity does not equal quality. 

3. Clif bar - Chocolate chip


Organic brown rice syrup, organic rolled oats, soy protein isolate, organic cane syrup, organic roasted soybeans, rice flour, dried cane syrup, organic oat fiber, unsweetened chocolate‡, organic soy flour, organic sunflower oil, organic date paste, cocoa butter‡, molasses powder, organic soybean oil, barley malt extract, salt, vanilla extract, soy lecithin, natural flavors, cinnamon.



Teaspoons of sugar: 22 grams of sugar or 5.5 teaspoons of sugar

Added sugars: Organic brown rice syrup, organic cane syrup, dried cane syrup, organic date paste,  molasses powder, barley malt extract

Unhealthy Oils: Organic sunflower oil, organic soybean oil

Healthy Oils: None

Fullness Factor: 10 grams of protein (No-emotion face emoji)

What-The? Ingredients: 

Soy protein isolate – Soy protein isolate is a dry powder that has been separated from the other components of the soybean -- read : highly processed. While protein is great, it's important to keep in mind that this is not a natural source of protein. 

Soy lecithin – A byproduct of soybean oil and is used as an emulsifier – it helps to bind and keep a food product together.


RATE MY Clif Bar : 3/10

  • Good: Many of the ingredients listed in Clif bars are organic --  catering to the organic community -- kuddos. The protein content is fairly high at 10 grams. 
  • Bad: SIX added sugars. FIVE soy sources. TWO processed oils. ONE ho-hum protein source. 
  • Final Thought: You can do better. You can do worse. 

4. think thin - chunky peanut butter


Protein blend (soy protein isolate, calcium caseinate, whey protein isolate), glycerin, coating (maltitol, cocoa butter, chocolate, sodium caseinate, milk fat, soy lecithin, natural flavors, salt), maltitol, peanuts, soy crisps (soy protein isolate, tapioca starch), water, canola oil, peanut flour, natural flavors, soy lecithin, sea salt.



Teaspoons of sugar: 0 grams of sugar, 11 grams of sugar alcohol 

Added sugar (alcohols): Glycerin, maltitol, maltitol

Unhealthy Oils: Canola oil

Healthy Oils: None

Fullness Factor: 20 grams of protein (Happy face emoji)

What-The? Ingredients: 

Maltitol, maltitol - Sugar alcohols (ending in -ol) taste sweet, but don't affect blood sugar levels. They're known to cause bloating. 

Glycerin - Like sugar alcohols, glycerin tastes sweet, but does not have the same blood sugar impact as sugar. It tastes sweet, but has calories and is not a great source of nutrition. 


RATE MY Think Thin Bar : 4/10

  • Good: Decent protein content at 20 grams. 
  • Bad: Sugar alcohols are not a good source of nutrition. Our taste buds and body expect sugar, but doesn't receive the calories it expects, which can line us up for cravings later. Sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners are both known to cause bloating. This bar lacks overall nutrition. 
  • Final Thought: My stomach hurts just writing this. 

Better-For-You Bars

Here are a few bars I recommend:


Your Turn!

Take a second look at the bars you are consuming.

Are they a nutritional drain? 

I present this topic at corporate wellness events and workshops, and investigate "healthy" foods that aren't!

Can't attend? Download the worksheet to rate the bars you have at home!