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It’s the easiest thing to grab when you are looking for a quick snack to keep you going. The aisle of health foods and snacks has been booming in recent years trying to compete with confectionery and better for perceptions. So what should you be looking for in a bar and when is it ok to consume one? Let’s take a quick look to help you snack right.


Types of bars you will find out there today range from being a combination of:

  • Grains like oats, rice puffs, flour based baked bars or even ancient grains
  • Nuts and or seeds
  • Dried fruit
  • Confectionery
  • Formulated sports bars with added protein powders


Here’s a quick guide on selecting a ‘healthier’ bar:


  1. Look for high percentages of whole, real foods that count towards your daily recommended 5 food groups. Turn to th’’’e ingredients list on the packet and choose a bar with the highest percentage.  
  2. Keep the portion small. A bar between 30-40g maximum to keep the energy in check.
  3. Avoid the added sugars and fats. In the ingredients, look for things like syrup, fruit juice concentrates, sugar and honey to name a few common ones. These are all added sugars you don’t need. Fats will be listed as vegetable oil, coconut oil, palm oil to name a few. Get your fats from whole foods like nuts and seeds.
  4. Make sure you can visually identify ingredients. The more you see the more whole foods that are likely to be in there.  If you can’t see it, try and minimise how often you have it.


As our culture changes to a grazing society filled with more snacking and less of the 3 staple meals a day, it is important our food and drink selections when we do snack are nutritious and count.


Snack right and get healthier. Make them count towards the 5 food groups and get the nutrition you need each and every day.


Written by

Jenn Madz, Senior Dietitian

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