Muesli bars! Are they in your families lunch box? Do you know what you're buying? Just to recap: the previous Be Well Fed blog post on muesli bars discussed:
- avoiding the pretty marketing colours
- making sure your decide what is important to you before going ahead and making a choice
- understanding how to read the labels and what to look for in the ingredient list
- the fact that muesli bars should most definitely be kept to snack and not a meal therefore the kilojoule or energy content is important.
Now for Be Well Fed's top 3 bars.
Firstly, this was a challenge and like any body looking for a product and analysing it's content, dietitians struggle too, notably because it can be overwhelming and confusing and heck so time consuming.
The results below might surprise you, they surprised us!
Uncle Toby's Chewy Lamington
What's good: At 31.1g per serve this bar has over 10% of the recommended dietary requirements for fibre (3.8g/serve). Observing the ingredients list this amount is most likely due to Uncle Toby's Rolled Oats, Wholegrain wheat, breakfast cereal, chicory root fibre, coconut, raspberry fruit pieces. These limited edition Chewy Lamington muesli bars also gets another two ticks for including 100% Australian oats and a cardboard box that is recyclable.
Also, its a good 500kJ per serve and contains 2.2g of protein/serve which coupled with the fibre is going to keep you fuller for longer.
What's could be improved: Looking at the ingredients list, there are four sources of added sugar named glucose (wheat), sugar, invert sugar and honey. Disappointingly glucose (wheat) as a source of sugar is the second ingredient. And finally the wrappers containing each muesli bar could be recyclable.
Special K Protein Bliss Bites:
If you're counting calories, or you have diabetes this small snack that will keep you full and fuelled.
What's good: At 490kJ/serve with 6.9g of protein and 2.3g (almost 8% of the recommended amount of fibre needed per day) these bite size balls are likely to give you a burst of energy and keep you feeling full for your next meal.
Also if you have Type 1 diabetes and are trying to match your carbohydrate intake to insulin, the 10g of carbohydrates and 1.1g of added sugar per serve may make is easier to calculate your carb serves. Plus at 130mg of sodium per 100g, these balls are pretty low of the salt front.
These bites also have maltitol a sugar alcohol that is much sweeter than sucrose (sugar) thus a reduced amount is required to get the same sweetness. This can be a good thing for those wanting a sweet option but without the excess kilojoules.
What's could be improved: The packaging is plastic so it gets a cross from us. Also it states that consuming their product in excess may have an a laxative effect most likely due to the maltitol which is a sugar alcohol. As mentioned above, this can be a good thing for those wanting a sweet product without the negative consequences or additional kilojoules that sugar has. However, sugar alcohols have their own negatives. Essentially, maltitol acts like fibre but tastes like sugar this means that it can ferment in the large bowel contributing to gas, bloating and diarrhoea when consumed in amounts as low as 40g per day.
Joy Foods Chewy Strawberry Tops:
What's good: Joy foods is an Australian owned Family business and we here at Be Well Fed Nutrition Hub & Kitchen we love Australian owned. There packaging is cardboard and able to be recycled so that gets a tick from us!
Nutritionally, at 35g and less than 600kJ per bar, these bars contain 9.6% of the recommended amount of daily fibre and have 2.3g of protein per serve, meaning they are likely to keep you full and satisfied. Finally, sodium is less than 120mg per 100g which is typically hard to find and a better choice.
What could be improved: Yeh these bars may taste great but that added sugar could be reduced. For example looking at the ingredients list there are multiple sources of sugar including apple juice concentrate, elderberry juice concentrate, sugar, golden syrup, raw sugar and honey.
We hope this gives you a little clarity about what to look for when shopping for muesli bars. Even better why not make your own, store them in containers in the fridge, freeze and wrap in bees wax wraps to be super sustainable. Remember, everyone is different so for personalised advice and to Be Well Fed book an consultation today!
* Disclaimer. This post is in no way funded by any brands and as such is the opinion of the author who is an Accredited Practising Dietitian. Although there are healthier snack options including fruit and veg, muesli bars do offer convenience for some people.