A Protein Bar Kids Love to Eat

Healthy food and kids don’t mix. Every mom out there has struggled getting their kid to eat some berries or nuts when all they really want is chips, some weird roll-up or better yet, they eat nothing at all.

And don’t try to shame me, or anyone else out there. We’ve all caved! Kids are stubborn little sh!ts and even the most committed moms have a hard time having their kids eat healthy food 100% of the time. And I’m not just talking about little kids. My teenager acts the same way. He’ll always choose a packet of Doritos or some other crap before choosing to eat fruit.

And when it comes to meal bars, I’ve bought every single kind. Meal bars are always expensive but my kids don’t like to eat those either. Sure, they’ll eat the ones that lean towards the taste of candy, but they’ll never choose an actual good for you bar. I’ve had RxBar in my pantry for months, and my kids avoid it like the plague. Quest bars? You’ve got to be kidding. Those might as well be door stops because my kids hate them, and I hate them too.

So when my friend gave me some Battle Bars to try, I was skeptical. She suggested I tell my kids they were rice crispy treats with frosting. Well dang. That worked. They ate them without complaint. So here I am still skeptical. Was I going to buy more? Well, before I bought some for my house, I had to do a review.

First a little about me. My name is Jennifer and I’m a CPA. I know, a nerd.
Whatever, everyone needs accounting. My kids are active. I have a teenage son who plays ice hockey, a 10 year old that plays soccer, and a 7 year old that doesn’t play organized sports yet, but she does love some trampoline and exploring the creeks.

I work full time and so does my husband so we’re on the go when it comes to kids activities. From the moment they step off the bus, we’re on the move. Soccer practice, Hockey practice, Jiu-Jitsu, Swim, Birthday parties, whatever, we’re on the go.

We almost never get to eat dinner before 7pm, and my kids are also the types of kids that will always say they are not hungry. I literally cannot comprehend how that’s possible. I think a few of you are out there, where your kid ate a bowl of cereal before going to school, for lunch pulled the meat out of their sandwich, and at dinner says they aren’t hungry. Is this scientifically possible? I thought humans needed a minimum amount of calories to grow but clearly my twiggy kids don’t think so.

Anyway, this all leads up to a long period of time without access to food. From lunch in elementary school which can magically begin at 10:50 until past 7, they won’t have anything to eat unless I bring them food.

And I work all day. My husband works all day, so we’re both guilty. We’re not at home like June Cleaver cutting up apples and peanut butter, making fresh smoothies or other good stuff. So when we can, we grab food, and that food is usually a meal bar.

So I have a few Battle Bars as a gift and I decided to pull out all of the uneaten bars in my pantry to do a test.

Did I mention that I am an accountant?

How I calculated the data to find out the best protein snack for kids

Ok, time to nerd.

The first thing to do is break things down by a common unit of measure since all of these bars say a serving size is a bar, but the bars themselves are wildly different sizes. So we broke it down by gram.

The next thing to figure out was good stuff per gram vs. bad stuff per gram.

  • Good stuff: protein and carbs. 
  • Bad stuff: sugars, fats: and prices (hey, inflation is a real bitch).

Here are the bars I measured:

  • Larabar Apple
  • Nature's Bakery
  • Smash Crispy
  • Clif Chocolate Chip
  • Quaker Chewy
  • Larabar Cashew
  • Made Good
  • Kodiak Oats
  • Kodiak Maple Brown Crunch
  • Kind Kids
  • Battle Bars Strawberry
  • Kind Chocolate
  • Kind Almond

Here were the stats. 

When it came to calories per gram Larabar Cashew bars were the most caloric (5.11 calories per gram), while Battle Bars (3.42 calories per gram) were the least caloric. That wasn’t a big deal from my perspective because these were mostly for my kids and they kind of need good calories for fuel. So many moms struggle with getting quality calories into their kids.

However, if you’re like me, ahem, over 40 years old, you know that eating overly caloric dense food is a problem. So I really sat back and thought about it, and started asking my kids and my husband… Who is eating them? 

Well damn. Turns out that my kids hate them and my husband and I are the ones eating them. 

My kids were eating other bars like Kodiak granola bars and Quaker Chewy bars (aka pure sugar and junk) but we were eating the Larabars. Ehhhhhh. Not what I wanted.

The next thing I wanted to measure was protein. As I mentioned, my kids are big time into sports and they are all on the skinny side. Did I mention that they don’t like to eat? Ok, so getting quality protein into them is also hard. All 3 of them don’t like the taste and texture of meat except for Chik-Fil-A (junk food) or Sushi (Too expensive). Kids, can you just eat some of the chicken I make for you with broccoli and brown rice? Why do they have to act like this?

The Battle Bars ranked the highest servings of protein (.31g of protein per gram) while the Smash Crispys were pure sugar. My kids love some Smash Crispys though. They eat them up! But after doing this, I can see that it’s basically useless beyond a sugar rush to get them fired up. I was happy to see Kodiak still ranking so highly because that was a snack that they liked to eat. I was surprised to see that Kind bars had 50% less protein. I thought for sure with all of the nuts in the bar that it would be more highly ranked.

Now onto some of the bad stuff. Sugar and Price.

Before we continue on, I want to say that I’m just like you. I can fall victim to the packaging and when you see the serving stats for per bar, you can lose some comparative clarity. I encourage anyone out there to try this measurement with the snacks in your pantry too to see how you fare.

Ok, let’s continue.

Larabar Apple was by far the most Sugars (.40g per gram) while the Kind bars tied with Battle Bars (.13g of sugar per gram) for the least amount of sugar per gram of serving. That’s important since you want your kid’s energy to come from quality carbs vs. sugars. Otherwise, grab a Jolt Cola like I did in the 80’s and get lit.

Finally price. I get it. Some out there will say it’s too expensive to feed your kids quality meal bars but I didn’t really know how much bars cost compared to each other either. Again sizing, packaging, box counts all cloud our decision making when it comes to determining value too.

So here it is:

I’m sure many of you will look at that and say Quaker is the best bet because it costs the least. My first reaction was wow, Kind Kids is such a RIP OFF!!! It’s just repackaged Kind Bars that cost almost DOUBLE the full size bars. Definitely throwing those right out the window and never to buy again now that I see that table.

The Final Verdict

Food choice is of course very personal. However, after my analysis, it’s clear to me that Battle Bars and Kind Bars are the best snacks to give to your kids for ingredients, price, and consumption. However, Kind Bars don’t really have the protein I want my kids to consume given how many sports they play and how active they are. Add in the fact they don’t like eating meat and I have fewer options to give them that are high in protein.

We often overlook my final reason (consumption). What is the point of buying something your kids don’t want to eat? Do you think I want to argue with those little sh!ts after a full day of work? You’re lying to yourself if you think you want to fight that battle either. I always vote for less friction. Give me the healthiest bar I can afford that the kids will eat. For that reason, Battle Bars wins for me.