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(National) August 11, 2006 - Whether in a briefcase or a lunchbox, cereal bars are a quick and easy snack on the go. But which ones are the best?
Consumer Reports just tested six kinds of cereal bars, including ones from Quaker, Kellogg's, and Kashi. They ranged in price from 31 to 72 cents a bar.
Consumer Report's trained taste testers evaluated each one for texture and flavor. It turned out some of them didn't taste great.
Tester Adam Kaplan found one tasted "like it has a lot of artificial flavors."
While tester Linda Greene objected to another, "I think this is very heavy on the cinnamon flavor."
The Kraft South Beach Diet High Protein Cinnamon Raisin Bar - the most expensive one tested - didn't do well in the taste tests. Greene says, "It tasted like a cheap, store-bought coffee cake."
Testers found one bar doesn't have enough nutrition to replace a meal and two bars can give you too much sugar.
Most of the bars tested were a good source of fiber, but Consumer Reports says if you're planning to eat one to replace a meal, you need to supplement it.
Maxine Siegel of Consumer Reports advises, "If you add a fruit or low-fat yogurt, it would make a reasonable breakfast."
Consumer Reports found two very good-tasting ones. The first, TLC Honey Almond Flax Chewy Granola from Kashi has a bit more fat, but testers say it has a great toasted nut flavor and a very chewy texture.
The second one is the Nature Valley Healthy Heart Chewy Granola Oatmeal Raisin. While high in sugar, it was low in fat and has a nice cinnamon raisin flavor - similar to a good oatmeal cookie. Either one would make a tasty snack.
To give you an idea how important it is to limit yourself to one cereal bar at a time: eating two of some of the test bars would give you 20 to 28 grams of sugar. That's five to seven teaspoons.