Celebrate National Granola Bar Day... The Healthy Way

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Happy National Granola Bar Day! These crunchy, chewy, sometimes chocolatey bars are a snacktime staple, and we can't wait to celebrate. But before you tear open the wrapper and chow down, take a second to check that nutrition label.

If your granola-bar heart just crumbled into a handful trail mix, you are not alone. Granola bars are pitched as a healthy and filling snack (and they can be!) but very often are little more than candy bars in disguise. Some can contain up to 16 grams of sugar and barely any fiber or protein. In other words, you'll be feeling hangry (hungry/angry) again within the hour.

So how can you send your teen off to school with a snack that won't leave them snoozing through study hall? Fortunately, you still have options that can keep you and your on-the-go teen feeling satisfied. Here are the 3 best ways to improve your granola bar game.

1. Pick a better bar.

Not every bar has to be a bummer. Check out the ingredients and nutrition label, looking for any added sugar (which can actually be addictive), and for high fiber and high protein (to keep you full and focused). If it looks and tastes like real food (think nuts, grains, fruits), even better! Because if it looks and tastes like a candy bar... it probably is.

TRY: KIND snack bars. They're sweet and nutty, but we love that you can actually see what you're eating (nuts, dried fruits, sometimes even chocolate). And with what seems like a bajillion flavors, every teen can find their favorite.

2. Make your own!

Healthy packaged foods can be insanely expensive, and cheaper ones often contain additives and sugar (which are cheaper to produce and make you want more... and more, and more....). So beat the odds and concoct your own.

TRY: Have your teen look up a recipe they want to try on Pinterest or choose one from this BuzzFeed list. Then just watch how much sugar is going in—and don't forget that things like honey, agave, maple syrup, and dried fruits add to that amount as well.

3. Snack better.

We get it—granola bars are the ultimate portable snacks. And every now and then, even sugar has a place in our diets. But you might be able to get that daily dose of sweet and salty from another source, like an apple with almond butter. Check out our snacks story to upgrade your munchies without losing satisfaction!

How are you celebrating National Granola Bar Day? Let us know your snack story in the comments! And for more nutrition, health and wellness info for teens, check out Choices Magazine, or click here to subscribe!