I make my own granola bars, but sometimes I buy packaged bars. I’ve been looking for packaged granola bars that my boys (ages 8 & 11) like and that I can feel good about. It’s been a bit of a search. The conventional granola bars that I used to buy don’t have ingredients that I’m happy with, but my boys really like them. The boys haven’t liked many of the organic bars we’ve tried.

When I got a coupon for Clif Crunch granola bars, I thought I’d give them a try. They are 70 percent organic, have one whole serving of grains in them, and have a good amount of fiber, too. The chocolate chip bars have 180 calories and 11 grams of sugar per 42 gram serving.

I bought a box of chocolate chip and a box of peanut butter granola bars. They also come in honey oat and white chocolate macadamia nut. The boys really like both varieties I bought. I enjoyed the peanut butter ones. I’ve landed on the packaged granola bars that I can buy from time to time, while still continuing to make my own most of the time.

Here are the ingredients, from the Clif website, in the chocolate chip bars.

Ingredients: Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Sunflower Oil, Chocolate Chips (Evaporated Cane Juice, Unsweetened Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla), Rice Crisp (Rice Flour, Barley Malt Extract, Evaporated Cane Juice, Salt, Calcium Carbonate), Honey, Natural Flavors, Organic Barley Flakes, Organic Rye Flakes, Oat Bran, Oat Fiber, Sea Salt (Real Salt®), Inulin (Chicory Extract).

As you can see, they’re a combination of organic ingredients and natural ingredients. I did a search on my Don’t Eat That iPhone app for the ingredients I was unfamiliar with. Two of the ingredients turned up in red (meaning there could be some problem with them).

Inulin, while natural, can cause bloating, flatulence and diarrhea in large doses. Since it’s the last ingredient, I can assume there is a small amount of it in the bars, so I don’t see it as a problem.

Soy lecithin may be dangerous for those allergic to soy (not a problem for us), could be from genetically modified soy; plus, large amounts of unfermented soy could cause health problems. We don’t consume large amounts of soy products, so I’m not worried about that, either.

Is this the perfect granola bar? No. I haven’t found one yet that is. But, I’m reminded, once again, what Robin O’Brien, author of "The Unhealthy Truth," told me. Don’t make perfect the enemy of good. There are times when I need something pre-packaged to feed my 8-year-old while running from a 1:30 baseball game to a 4 p.m. soccer game. Clif Crunch granola bars are one of the things I'm good with. 

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