Three Questions To Ask When Buying Granola Bars

Granola bars are a frequent staple in deer camps, treestands and bass boats throughout the country.

Granola bar
Granola bars are a great way to boost your energy on the trail or in the field.Pixabay

If you are heading out camping, canoeing, fishing or just about any other outdoor activity, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better snack to take along than a granola bar. Delicious and nutritious, granola bars can even be as good as a sandwich for attracting game. How many times have you set down your gun to unwrap a granola bar, only to have a flock of mallards come winging in to your decoys? Regardless of their game-attracting ability, granola bars come in dozens of different shapes, sizes and flavors. To make a good selection, consider three important factors—nutritional value, flavor and texture.

Nutritional Value

Cliff Granola Bar
These granola bars provide 9 to 11 grams of protein each.Amazon

The most nutritious granola bars are made of all-natural ingredients and have high levels of fiber and protein, little or no added sugar and no artificial preservatives. For sugar content, look for bars that are 25 percent sugar or less, and avoid bars with higher sugar content than that. Note that granola bars may use other names for sugar, including corn syrup, brown rice syrup, honey, invert sugar, molasses, barley malt extract, fructose, and dextrose. Bars with nuts are usually healthy because nuts are tasty and contain high levels of protein. Also, look for bars with 150 calories or less. Some granola bars contain as much sugar, carbs and calories as candy bars, and you don't want to end up gaining 5 pounds over opening weekend!

Flavor

Multi-grain bars
This sampler pack includes several bars of different brands and flavors.Amazon

Unfortunately, the most nutritious granola bar in the world won't do you any good if you won't eat it. And face it: Some of them just don't taste very good. We all have our likes and dislikes when it comes to taste, so this decision isn't that difficult. If you hate blueberries, avoid granola bars with lots of them. If you love peanut butter, make sure the ones you choose have a lot of peanut butter taste, and you'll likely be happy. The trick is finding granola bars you love that also provide you with needed nutrition. To do that, you're going to have to do a little experimenting, probably with several kinds before you figure out what bar is best for you.

Texture

Kind Bars
Bars in this variety pack each contain 5 grams of sugar or less.Amazon

Texture is also a matter of personal preference, but can be the deciding factor on whether you love or hate a granola bar. Some are so dense and dry that eating them makes you very thirsty—not a good thing if your water supply is limited. Likewise, if you're looking for a nutty bar, you'll likely be disappointed with one made mostly of fruit and having a fruit-like texture. Again, you'll probably need to try several bars to get the perfect combination of flavor, texture and nutrition. But when you find it, order in bulk: It will be a welcome companion on all of your future outdoor adventures.