Are Nature Valley Bars Healthy?

So you’re about to start a journey to a healthier and happier you. You’ve probably started up some exercise and are trying to cut back on those more unhealthy fatty foods.

Are Nature Valley Bars Healthy?

But we’ve all been there, you’re trying to be good but you just get so hungry that you start to snack.

One packet of crisps turns into several, a few chocolate bars, and even some candy, or at least that’s what always happens to me. 

So it’s really important that you have some healthy snacks available so that when you are hungry, you don’t have to restrict yourself.

It also then keeps you away from temptation and means you’re less likely to cave for those more unhealthy treats. 

When you’ve been shopping down those grocery isles, you’ve probably come across Nature Valley bars and chucked a couple in your basket.

But are they actually as healthy a snack as they seem? That’s what we’re going to look into during this article. 

What Are Nature Valley Bars Made Of?

Let’s assess how healthy these lunchbox-sized snacks are by checking out the ingredients in them.

Now, there are loads of varieties of these bars and we’d be here all day if I was to analyze them all, so I’ve picked two of which I think are the most popular flavors. 

Peanut Butter Crunchy Granola Bars

  • Whole grain oats
  • Sugar
  • Canola oil
  • Peanut butter (salt and peanuts)
  • Rice flour
  • Brown sugar syrup
  • Salt
  • Baking Soda
  • Soy Lecithin 

Dark Chocolate & Nut Fruit And Nut Bars 

  • Whole grain oats
  • Corn syrup
  • Semisweet chocolate chunks (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, soy lecithin, natural flavor)
  • Roasted peanuts
  • Raisings
  • Rice flour
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable glycerin
  • Canola oil
  • Fructose
  • Corn starch
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Salt
  • Barley malt extract
  • Baking soda
  • Natural flavor
  • Vitamin E 

The Verdict 

  • Whole Grain Oats – Both are made with whole grain oats which are really healthy. They are a great source of fiber and can also help to lower your cholesterol. However, all granola bars usually contain these so it’s nothing new or particularly special. 
  • Nuts – Both of these bars contain peanuts or peanut butter (technically a legume but we won’t go into that now) which in moderation can be very beneficial health-wise. 
  • Sugar Ingredients – Both bars have more than one type of sugar sweetener. And as we all know, sugar isn’t that great for you. 
  • Processed Oil – You’ll find canola oil in both of these bars and while there are worse oils out there, it’s still not good by any means. 

So far I’d say that these bars are neither particularly good nor bad. It’s a pretty middle ground. 

Are They High In Sugar?

Are Nature Valley Bars Healthy?

So, we’re in agreement that generally we’re trying to stay away from sugary treats while trying to stay healthy, right?

Well, these granola bars tend to have anywhere between 10-12g of sugar per serving (which is two bars,) and the fruit and nut bars can have up to 8g of sugar in just one bar. 

Is that a lot of sugar for these bars? It’s moderate. Again, it’s not awful but I also wouldn’t go as far as to say that it was particularly healthy either. 

Do They Contain Much Fiber?

You’re looking at around 2g-8g of fiber depending on the bar, but the majority of these bars stay at the low-fiber end of the scale with just 2g-3g worth of fiber.

This really isn’t all that high and so in this instance, they don’t seem massively healthy. 

Are The Bars Whole Grain?

The bars do contain whole grain oats which are good for you. However, they also contain many not-so-healthy processed ingredients such as sugary syrups, oil, and rice flour.

So they can’t really be classed as completely ‘whole foods.’

However, this will be the case for pretty much any whole grain granola bar you pick up from the store.

If you want a truly healthy bar, honestly, you’d be much better off making your own at home. 

Are They Good For Weight Loss?

If you’ve been snacking on these bars while trying to lose weight, I have some bad news.

These bars aren’t really ideal for losing weight because they are fairly high in calories for what they are.

If you were wanting to lose weight with these bars you would need to cut down the portion size of them really. 

When you’re picking a snack to help you lose weight, you want to choose options that are low in calorie density.

Foods that are high in water and fiber are the best as they keep you feeling fuller for longer with fewer calories.

But nature valley bars lack both water and fiber. 

There are also around 200 calories in the crunchy granola packs, which while that is relatively standard for a granola bar, it’s much higher than other food options which will be much larger and keep you fuller for longer while also having fewer calories. 

This isn’t to say that you should exclude them completely from your diet though, everything is fine in moderation. 

Final Thoughts

While Nature Valley bars aren’t the worst things in the world, I’d say it’s still a bit of a push to really class them as particularly healthy snacks.

Sure they contain a few bits of goodness that you can benefit from, but they are also moderately high in sugar, quite high in calories, and fairly low in fiber. 

So it’s likely that it won’t take long before you’re hungry again after snacking on one of these bars.

And that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t have any, no diet truly works if you restrict all the things that you like to eat.

But perhaps have one or two a week as more of a treat than an everyday snack if you’re hoping to lose weight.

And of course, you could always make your own healthy bars at home.

Jenna Priestly