Nature Valley Granola Thins: Are These What Nature Intended?

Nature Valley Granola Thins

August 31, 2011   15 Comments

Chewy, crunchy, thin and all sorts of other adjectives are assigned to granola bars by food manufacturers. "Nature Valley" uses the word "natural" A LOT!

They use NATURAL so often, you would think this stuff is made of dirt, rocks, and water.

In fact, part of their food marketing campaign includes preserving our national parks. They are going to give $400,000 to the National Parks Conservation Association!

Now, I will point out that General Mills makes Nature Valley granola bars. General Mills generates nearly $15 billion dollars in annual sales. They even managed to grow their sales 2% last year (2010).

So, 400K for our nation's parks is a literal DRIP in the bucket for Nature Valley - what about the claim that they are 100% natural?

Here is the ingredient list for their peanut butter crunchy granola bars:

whole grain oats, sugar, canola oil, peanut butter, yellow corn flour, brown sugar syrup, soy flour, salt, soy lecithin, baking soda

Well, there is no dirt, rocks, or water - but, I recognize all the ingredients except for "soy lecithin".

and the nutrition facts for one bar:

90 calories, 3.5 g fat, 14 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 1 g fiber, 90 mg sodium, 3 Points+

You know, these are a bit too sweet for my tastes. This granola bar isn't bad for a packaged snack - as long as you can eat just one bar in the package of TWO.

But, Nature Valley is one step ahead of me with their latest product: Nature Valley Granola Thins!

These are individually wrapped granola bars that they feel is an "indulgence you can feel good about". They are not that big of an indulgence see the nutrition facts here:

90 calories, 4.5 g fat, 10 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, >1 g fiber, 85 mg sodium, 2 Points+

Just like a homemade oatmeal cookies are an all natural indulgence - so are the Nature Valley Granola Thin. You can feel good about them because they taste good and you gave yourself a TREAT.

General Mills got it right when they called them an "indulgence". My problem is their product placement in the store. They are in the cereal aisle at my local Stop & Shop. I think they belong in the COOKIE aisle.

Don't you?

Of course, many of the cereals could be confused with cookies as well.

Nature Valley granola bars (sadly) aren't that different from a cookie. You would think that the whole grains would have more of an impact on the protein and fiber content - but those values remain low.

My suggestion is to use these as a treat in your lunch box (or your kids lunch box) when you haven't had time to make my cereal bar with zero sugar added.

What do you think of Nature Valley granola thins?


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15 Comments:

Call me confused but these bars have less than half the points of your cereal bar recipe. I would think as a quick grab-n-go snack that the bars are a better choice in terms of fat and calories.

Seeing as the biggest problems for America, as it approaches 2030 and the predicted 50% obese population, is calories. Suggesting that something with twice the calories and nearly twice the fat would be the best choice doesn't make sense.

Sure from a ecological standpoint yours win hands down and they do have more fibre which is beneficial - but if we are talking snack and not meal replacement I think you missed the mark in your recommendation.

on August 31, 2011

Here is my problem with these -- did anyone catch in their commercial where they say that the dark chocolate variety is covered with, "Rich dark chocolate FLAVOR". That's not true dark chocolate which means you aren't getting the health benefits of dark chocolate. Why can't they use the real stuff?

on August 31, 2011

@Sioban - Thanks for the comment - I thought about your comparision - and my cereal bars are twice the calories (and twice the size) of the Nature Valley Granola Thins.
If you divide my recipe in half and make mini-muffins - you will get about the same calories, fat, and size - and 2.7 grams protein, 1.5 g fiber per serving vs. the nature valley granola thins.

I agree with you that calories matter, as does taste, and nutrition. I think mine taste better and are more nutritious for the same amount of calories per size.

on August 31, 2011

Here's some info about "Soy Lecithin" that I found online for anyone curious after reading this (like I was). http://www.fooducate.com/blog/2009/07/07/what-is-soy-lecithin-and-why-is-it-found-in-so-many-products/

on August 31, 2011

I just bought a box of Granola Thins at Sam's Club. They aren't peanut butter but they have a dark chocolate bottom! YUM! And for only 2 points. They give me my chocolate afternoon kick that I sometimes need. My 12 year old son found the box in the pantry and tried one. He loved them. Now I have to find a new hiding place! ;-)

on August 31, 2011

I agree - they do belong in the cookie aisle. Just like "fruit snacks" belong in the candy aisle too!

on August 31, 2011

The term NATURAL has absolutely no rules or guidelines. Nature Valley makes other products that they claim are "100% Natural" and are made with high fructose corn syrup! I think that is rediculous.

on August 31, 2011

I'd just rather make my own so I know EXACTLY what's in it :P

-Kathy from http://cupcakes-music-fashion.blogspot.com

on August 31, 2011

My problem with them is that they are so small, that if you are actually hungry, you would need about 6 of them to feel like you ate anything. I eat them simply to satisfy a sweet craving, but they usually leave me starving for more. They are good, but surprisingly small.

on September 1, 2011

The peanut butter ones are heavenly!! They are always fresh and delicious. They are a great grab 'n go snack!

on September 1, 2011

I agree that based on their size, they would not make a good snack by themselves if you were hungry. But they make a great lower calorie dessert if you want something sweet for under 100 calories!

on September 1, 2011

These are great when you crave sweet and crunchy. Are they filling, no, but isnt that the point of learning to eat healthier? We dont need to eat 6 to be happy, just a taste will do:0)

on September 6, 2011

My problem with these are its claims. I used to eat this as a healthier alternative to buying candy but then it dawned on me to start reading the labels ..and i might have well just eaten the candy bar because they really back on the sugar in those snacks gosh

on September 7, 2011

I think the NV Granola Thins with peanut butter and dark chocolate are delicious, albeit small. However, take a look at the awful ingredients including-- palm oil, high maltose corn syrup, peanut flour partially defatted, rice maltodextrin, soy lecithin, natural flavor. What are these ingredients? I Would love a healthy homemade version of these bars. If anyone, has a recipe online, I'd love the link. Snack Girl, are you up for the recipe experiment? I may just get busy in the kitchen myself with this challenge.

on February 1, 2012

I happened upon this site, while looking for a homemade recipe for these little jewels. I just bought my first box of these and I'm hooked already. I bouught the Dark Chocolate variety, although some people have mentioned a peanut butter version, that I must also try : ) My problem, is I read the ingredient list *after* I bought them, and tasted one. I LOVE them. But just because something is listed as *natural* does not mean it's good for you. There are lots of things that are natural that are not good for us. I love these so much, I'm trying to find a homemade recipe for these little babies : ) YUM!!!! But I want to control the ingredients : ) Anyone try...and succeed, in making your own good, and healthier version yet?

on February 16, 2012


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