Sometimes we need a helping hand when trying to eat well. Processed foods are low on my priority list, however, we can’t always get the time to make meals from scratch!
Snack and muesli bars are one of those things that are really handy to have in the cupboard when you have lunchboxes to pack or afterschool snacks to pack (or slapdash work lunches to throw together). And I am not the only one who thinks so! Muesli bars have grown massively in popularity in the last few years (which I can prove by the highly scientific assessment of how much of the supermarket shelves are filled with them!)
And we don’t just have the ‘ol Uncle Toby’s varieties anymore. There are bliss balls, protein balls, nut bars, protein bars as well as the raw, paleo, vegan and low carb varieties. I take my hat off to anyone who isn’t confused by all that!
Until recently I generally just shunned all of these over-priced and beautifully packaged foods for fresh fruit and veggies instead. However one day they got me… I bought a packet just to try them and convenience won me over (although I am still a little ashamed about it as I remove all the packaging before putting them into the kid’s lunchboxes).
So I looked for muesli bars that were ‘ok’. I started looking for bars that had:
- No more than around 1 tsp of sugar in each bar (which is the same amount of sugar that I put in my coffee so I felt ok about that)
- At least 3-5g of fibre in each bar (about the same as a piece of fruit so I knew I was still contributing to my efficient morning routine and good gut health)
- Some protein in there to help with reducing my hunger enough to get to the next meal.
The ones I found that are ok are in the picture at the top. Barley + is great for fibre and being low in sugar. The others have some fibre but the standout feature was their sugar content as it kept to around 1 tsp of sugar in each bar. Most of the muesli bars are from ALDI. ALDI had some bars that were very high in sugar too but they seemed to have a few more options than the major supermarkets.
I am by no way saying you need muesli bars on your next shopping list. Most of them are high in sugar and contain very little in the way of nutrients. They are not a food that I would call an everyday food. But they are useful sometimes if you can choose one that isn’t jam-packed full of sugar and it prevents you from making an unplanned take-away stop on the way home. They have their place in the world and they can be useful if used sensibly.
If you do have some time to make your own, check out these recipes to try which will save you money and you can control how much sugar goes into them.