Cereal bars are some of the hottest products in the grocery store. Sales have increased by 45 percent in recent years and they are expected to keep growing.
Consumer Reports just tested several and found some good ones.
Every time you go to the store it seems like there's a new cereal bar on the shelf. They can be a healthier alternative to chips or candy.
Consumer Reports just tested six kinds of cereal bars, including offerings from Quaker, Kellogg's, and Kashi. They ranged in price from 31 cents to 72 cents a bar.
Consumer Reports' trained taste-testers evaluated each one for texture and flavor. Some fell short in the flavor department.
The Kraft South Beach Diet high-protein cinnamon raisin bar, the most expensive one tested, didn't do well in the taste tests.
"It tasted like a cheap, store-bought coffee cake," said one taste-tester.
CR crews found one bar that didn't have enough nutritional punch to replace a meal and two bars that 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.
Consumer Reports' Maxine Siegel says, "If you add a fruit or low-fat yogurt, it would make a reasonable breakfast."
Consumer Reports found two very good-tasting cereal bars. 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.
Consumer Reports says limiting yourself to one cereal bar at a time can be important. Eating two of some of the test bars would give you 20 to 28 grams of sugar. That's five to seven teaspoons.
For those with a little bit of time and energy, the Internet is full of recipes for making your own cereal bars. Doing it yourself can often save money and it leaves you in charge of the amount of sugar that goes into the mix.