We're well aware that most processed granola bars are really just candy bars under disguise. Much like popular breakfast cereals, many granola bars on store shelves are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Yet, the convenience of a granola bar is hard to beat.
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Just like you can make your own healthier cereal or trail mix right at home, granola bars are no exception. Especially if the on-the-go convenience of a granola bar works for your schedule, give these seven low-sugar recipes a shot.
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1. No-Bake Protein Bars
- Sugar: 1 gram
- Protein: 11 grams
These no-bake protein bars take about 40 minutes to prepare and are just about 100 calories per serving, making them the perfect snack. Plus, this recipe only calls for three ingredients and you probably have them in your pantry right now: quick oats, whey protein and soy milk.
If you can't tolerate whey or prefer a plant-based protein, you can easily swap the two. However, this swap may change the total protein and calorie count. No matter which protein you choose, prioritize varieties with zero added sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Get the No-Bake Protein Bars recipe and nutrition info here.
2. No-Bake Vegan Protein Bars
- Sugar: 4.2 grams
- Protein: 10.7 grams
These vegan, homemade granola bars are full of plant-based protein, and at only 215 calories per serving, they make the perfect protein addition to your breakfast.
The protein in these bars comes from nut butter and amaranth, a protein-packed grain. A cup of cooked amaranth will provide about 9.3 grams of protein, which is nearly 20 percent of your daily recommended value, according to the USDA. Paired with the healthy fat from the nut butter in this recipe, these bars will keep you satiated well into the morning.
3. Blueberry Oat Bar
- Sugar: 8 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
These 139-calorie oat bars are loaded with nutrient-dense ingredients, including blueberries and almonds. One cup of blueberries will provide about 16 percent of your daily recommended vitamin C intake, which helps protect your body from free radical toxins, like pollution or smoke, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
This recipe also calls for a half cup of almonds, which bring some healthy fats into the mix. A half-cup of almonds will also provide about 18 percent of your daily recommended fiber intake. Fiber is a crucial nutrient that helps keep your digestion regular and can prevent spikes in blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Get the Blueberry Oat Bar recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Low-Carb Protein Bar
- Sugar: 2 grams
- Protein: 7 grams
These granola bars are not only low in sugar but they're low in overall carbs, too, with only 9 grams of carbohydrates total. Those following a low-carb diet will be happy to learn that you'll also get 5 grams of fiber per serving, leaving you with only 4 grams of net carbs.
Each bar clocks in at 319 calories and is loaded with a variety of nuts and seeds. Nuts are high in healthy fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to heart-health benefits, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Get the recipe and nutrition info at Life Made Keto.
5. Hemp Hearts and Coconut Bar
- Sugar: 6 grams
- Protein: 8 grams
This hemp-based granola bar recipe totals about 218 calories per serving with only 6 grams of sugar and 8 grams of protein total.
These granola bars are also loaded with about 12 grams of healthy, unsaturated fat. Found in foods like avocado or olive oil, unsaturated fats are necessary in the body and can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and inflammation, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Get the Hemp Hearts and Coconut Bar recipe and nutrition info here.
6. 5-Ingredient Vegan Protein Bars
- Sugar: 7.9 grams
- Protein: 14.1 grams
At about 276 calories and 14 grams of protein per bar, this recipe is sure to become your new favorite post-workout treat — whether you're following a vegan diet or not.
This recipe calls for a third-cup of chia seeds, which are a great source of essential nutrients, such as calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, according to the USDA.
7. Healthy Quinoa Bars
- Sugar: 4 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
If you're looking to cut out (or at least minimize) added sugar from your daily diet, you'll want to give these healthy quinoa-based granola bars a try. Each treat clocks in at less than 100 calories per serving, making these the perfect snack when you're a bit peckish.
Unlike most granola bars, these are made of quinoa, a nutrient-loaded seed. Quinoa is especially high in magnesium, providing about 28 percent of your daily recommended value per cooked cup, according to the USDA. Magnesium is an important mineral that helps your muscles and nerves function properly, according to the NIH.
Get the Healthy Quinoa Bars recipe and nutrition info here.
- NIH: "Magnesium"
- USDA: "Quinoa Cooked"
- USDA: "Chia Seeds"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "The Truth About Fats: The Good, The Bad and the In-Between"
- Mayo Clinic: "Nuts and Your Heart: Eating Nuts for Heart Health"
- USDA: "Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet"
- USDA: "Almonds"
- NIH: "Vitamin C"
- USDA: "Blueberries"
- USDA: "Cooked Amaranth"