18 Rabbits: Healthy Granola and Granola Bars

There are so many “high protein, sports, energy and granola bars” out there, it’s hard to choose! Many of you may find yourself wondering, “Which ones are actually healthy and how can you identify a well balanced bar versus a high calorie and sugar laden bar?”

**Note: Photo credit from 18 Rabbits Facebook Page and website.

I spend 5-10 minutes in the “granola/protein/energy bar” section looking at the ingredients list and nutrition facts label of the bars, comparing them and analyzing the new ones out on the market. Yes, I agree, it definitely takes time! But, it is always best to READ the nutrition facts thoroughly instead of believing the marketing on the front of the product. For example, a product that says, “provides a good source of fiber to help reduce cholesterol” may also be loaded with sodium or sugar. Therefore, it’s important to look at all of the facts on the label (not just the calories and protein) to make sure it is balanced.

I was shopping around Whole Foods yesterday and came across a sample of a new granola and granola bar called 18 Rabbits. They make 3 types of granola (Felicitas granola, Veritas granola, and Gracious granola), all of which are certified organic, wheat free and dairy free. This company produces their own organic oats, and then makes granola bars from this same granola. I sampled the “Nibblin’ Apricot,” and “funky figs and cherries” granola bars. Both were delicious and light (not too chewy or rich).

I found that all of the 18 Rabbits products contain ~210-220 calories per serving, low saturated fat and 0 trans fat, 0-10 mg of sodium (great for anyone who has high blood pressure), and 0-5 mg of cholesterol, 4 grams of fiber, 21-32 grams of carbohydrate (equal to 1.5-2 carbohydrate counting servings for all of you Diabetics out there), 4-6 grams of protein. Any sugar in the bars comes from the most natural source (maple syrup, honey, and dried fruits). The only warning is the facility processes milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, and treenuts.

A good rule of thumb to look for in a granola bar or granola itself is 100-265 calories per serving, 0 grams of trans fat, 0-10 mg of cholesterol, <140 mg of sodium, 15-35 grams of carbohydrate, >3 grams of fiber, <10 grams sugar if possible, and protein varies (i.e. it can be a wide range of 3-20 grams of protein per serving). Don’t be fooled by the marketing tactics and do the research yourself!!

For more information on nutrition facts label reading, a grocery store tour, sports nutrition specific to your nutrient needs, or ways to lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle, schedule an appointment with Courtney Walberg, Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer and Founder of Nutrition For Body And Mind.