Best (& Worst) Bars for Kids
Bars for kids can be a great addition to a child’s lunch or snack. It’s easy to throw in a lunchbox and most kids are happy to open up and find one. I often get asked by parents which one they should buy for their kids, so on a recent trip to Target, I decided to see how many different ones they were selling. The number of bars marketed to kids is mind boggling. To help clear up the confusion, I’m breaking down some of the more popular bars by nutrition and taste (based only on a taste test of my kids and some of their friends). Note: This post is not sponsored. These are my own opinions on the nutrition and taste of these bars.
These bars are one of my favorites, because of their short ingredient list - apple and kiwi. They fall more into the category of fruit leather than bar, but with 3 g fiber and only 3 g of sugar, you and your kids will be happy with this choice.
If you eat RXBARS, you won’t be surprised by the short ingredient list on these. With real ingredients, a good dose of protein and healthy fat, nutrition-wise you can’t go wrong. They do have a fair amount of sugar, but it’s mostly from natural sources like dates, not added sugar. Tastewise, these are hit and miss. The consistency is very much like a protein bar which not every kid loves. (Note: produced in a facility with many allergens)
Pressed by KIND
KIND always uses only whole food ingredients and these bars are no exception. However, these also taste more like a fruit leather than granola or protein bar. Loaded with fiber and also full of minerals, antioxidants and omega-3s, these are a great option for lunch. The kids thought they were good, but not their favorite. The chia seeds definitely add a little grit to the texture. (Note: these are made in a facility with a lot of allergens)
While I normally love the LARABAR products, these were somewhat disappointing. It’s as if they couldn’t decide what kind of bar they wanted to be. They are high in sugar, not that full of any particular nutrient and were not a hit with the kids. (Note: produced in a facility with many allergens)
These bars are really just a healthier alternative to a granola bar. Made with organic ingredients and ones with names you recognize, I wouldn’t call these nutritious, but merely a better choice if you want to send a granola bar. These get definite thumbs up from the kids. (Note: produced in a facility with many allergens)
These bars are similar to their brother ZBars, except they are higher in many minerals because of the nut butters. So, if you are looking for a more nutritious, popular with the kids granola bar (albeit still with a fair dose of sugar), these are a good choice. (Note: produced in a facility with many allergens)
Quaker Kids Bars
This is another good alternative to a standard granola bar. Made with organic, higher quality ingredients, it is still a granola bar. There isn’t much nutrition other than a small amount of fiber, but the kids definitely like these as well. They also have slightly less sugar than some of the other bars.
Nutrition-wise, I give these a major thumbs down. The first ingredient is soy protein isolate (a very concentrated form of soy), an ingredient I would stay away from completely with kids. Kids do not need an actual protein bar. Sadly, the kids thought these were one of the best tasting bars there were. (Note: produced in a facility with many allergens)
Annie’s Protein Bar
As with all Annie’s products, you can expect higher quality ingredients. I don’t love how long the ingredient list is for a food targeted at kids. There is a good amount of protein, but there are better ways for kids to get that dose of protein, say a yogurt? The kids thought the taste was so so. (Note: produced in a facility with many allergens)
Unlike the other products, these aren’t actually marketed for kids. It’s just that the mini size makes them a good option for a kid’s snack. I like that they are made with nuts, but again, the ingredient list is kind of long with too many types of added sugars. Be aware as some flavors also contain soy protein isolate. (Note: produced in a facility with many allergens)
If you are looking for a granola bar (which provides basically no nutrition), or a yummy snack for kids, this is a better option than most. Made with a variety of whole grains and all ingredients you can pronounce. They have slightly more fiber and iron than other granola bars and less sugar. The kids (of course) thought these were delicious. (Note: produced in a facility with many allergens)
Nature’s Bakery Fig Bar
These bars a good alternative to a traditional granola bar. While higher in sugar, they are lower in fat than many other bars, contain no junky ingredients and some whole grain. They are by no means a “health food”, but they are a good option for a bar. I also like that they don’t have nuts or peanuts so make a good option for bringing to school. The kids enjoyed these as well.
There are many other bars I didn’t review because they don’t come close to being nutritious and don’t pretend to be so (i.e.. Reese’s Puffs bar) or more traditional granola bars that are really just a cookie in the shape of a bar. Have a question about some other brand? Message me on instagram @greengrownmeals and I’m happy to review the bar.