Because I’ve gone through enough bad ones to know when and when not to pay for granola and energy bars. I’m also not in my kitchen and can’t bake anything and so yeah, today you get a look inside my head kind of post!
1) Don’t pick based on calories.
Don’t do it. The low calorie stuff isn’t worth it. It never fills me up, and have you looked at the ingredient list? You don’t want to feed yourself that on a continual basis. If you are getting a granola or energy bar, get something that will actually sustain you. I heard something: “people are counting too many calories and not enough chemicals” and I completely agree. Now, thankfully, I don’t have to avoid processed foods and chemicals, and when I’m in a fix (or on vacation *cough cough*) I’m not going to find all natural, three ingredient Larabars. And that’s ok. But overall, be picky with your granola and energy bars – make sure the energy you are getting is the healthiest, most natural you can because it is so much better in the long run. Focus more on what the ingredients are rather than the number of calories.
2) Ask for WHAT and WHY are you buying it?
Are you buying it because you are going for a run? Strength training? Hiking? Because you are hungry while you are shopping? (*cough cough* again) You do need different things for different activities. Don’t get the mega protein bar for a snack. And don’t get the fruit bar for an intense sweat session. Energy bars are geared towards working out and Quaker Oats granola bars are geared towards snacking. I haven’t eaten a true granola bar in a long time because I prefer the dense and thick energy bars to the light granola bars. But see #5 for more on that.
3) Does it need to stand up to heat?
If so, do not buy the ones with the yogurt or chocolate or “frosting” coatings. They will melt and make a sticky mess. Unless you are hiking through a forest of baby wipes, I would avoid these. I’ve found most energy bars stand up to heat better than actual granola bars, simply because they are denser and don’t have a coating of some sort.
4) Can you make it at home?
If you can, do it. It will save you money. Here are some of my recipes:
But there are some things I haven’t been able to make at home and you can’t argue with the ease of buying a ready made, ready packaged, travel friendly, portion controlled bar. I love that Larabars are basically just nuts and dates blended up. However, I’m always like, I just bought two ingredients. I can do that at home! 🙂 But most of my granola bars I like, I haven’t mastered a good copycat. And when I have, I eat it all. So there is something to be said for buying it.
5) Figure out what you like and buy in bulk.
If you are going to be buying granola energy bars for a while, quit buying them by the bar. For the longest time, I would get a bunch of different kinds of energy bars and constantly be trying new ones. That’s great, but its much more cost effective to buy in the boxes than per bar. Also, I would find out I didn’t like a certain kind and the other two I bought that were like it went to waste. I figured out I really enjoy the chocolate, peanut butter, and dessert-ish energy bars and I wasn’t the biggest fan of fruitier flavors. So now, I know not to get the Apple Pie Larabars or Lemon Pound Cake Luna Bars and it saves money and tears (just kidding 😉 ) Also, we buy different bars for different people. My siblings really enjoy Special K Fruit Crisps. I don’t like how light and crispy they are; plus, I’d need half a dozen to make it a snack. But for my siblings, they are a great snack option.
So now, the big question: what are my favorites?
I will eat just about anything 😉 but those two are by far my favorites. I seriously love all Clif bar flavors and we don’t get those as often, so they are a treat. As for Luna Bars, the Caramel Nut Brownie and the Peanut Honey Pretzel are delicious.
What do you think? More thoughts? (Mine are a little sketchy thanks to a stomach bug and being gone all day every day on this vacation :)) What are your favorites?