Most of us like to have a little snack with our main lunch, and for years that would have been something like a chocolate bar or a bag of crisps. But nowadays we're spoilt for choice when it comes to healthy snacks that we can buy as part of our lunch deal.
KIND bars are an example of a snack which is positioned as a healthier alternative to a chocolate bar, and you can now buy KIND bars as part of a lunch meal deal in most UK supermarkets. But are KIND bars actually healthy? We wanted to find out, so we decided to take a close look at them. Let's get into it:
What are KIND bars made from?
One of the slogans that the team at KIND uses is that they have nothing to hide in terms of the ingredients in the bars, as they don't smother their bars in any sort of chocolate or other topping. And that definitely is true - you can actually see the ingredients in a KIND bar just by looking at it. Every single KIND bar within the standard range lists almonds as the main ingredient, and this actually really impressed us. Typically, nut chocolate bars will use peanuts as the main ingredient because they're cheaper, but it's great to see almonds used in KIND bars as almonds have a host of nutrients that you won't find in peanuts, such as Vitamin E. It's also worth mentioning that there is not a single KIND bar which contains any artificial flavours, colours, or preservatives, which we definitely find impressive as they're packed with flavour. Some people will be quite surprised to see ingredients such as sugar and glucose syrup listed in these bars as many people assume they're sugar free, but they're definitely not.
What are the nutritional statistics of KIND bars?
So far so good with KIND bars - they're packed with the goodness of almonds, they're all natural, and they taste great. Let's now look at the positive nutritional aspects of KIND bars.
Because KIND bars are mostly made from nuts, most of the bars in the KIND range are pretty high in protein. In fact, we couldn't find a bar in the KIND range which contained less than 11g of protein per 100g. The highest protein bar that we could find in the standard KIND range was the Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt bar, which contains 17g of protein per 100g. This is pretty impressive, but if you're looking for a lunch snack that's high in protein you can do a lot better - for example, the Grenade protein bars contain 35g of protein per 100g, and you can buy those bars as part of the Tesco lunch meal deal currently.
The high nut content of KIND bars also means that they're packed with fibre, a really important nutrient that many of us don't get enough of. We were very impressed to see that the Caramel Almond & Sea Salt KIND bar (pictured) contains a whopping 17g of fibre per 100g, which is a lot more than you'll find in just about any other type of snack. To put that into perspective, the Cocoa Oat Trek Protein Flapjacks contain just 3.9g of fibre per 100g.
Once we started to look at other nutritional statistics of the KIND bars, we became a bit more disappointed. For example, most people would assume that KIND bars are a healthy alternative to something like a chocolate bar, and in many ways they are. However, we were surprised to see that the Almond & Coconut KIND Bar contains 21g of sugar per 100g. This is still lower than most chocolate bars out there, but it's more sugar than you'll find in many other health bars - for example, the Grenade protein Lemon Cheesecake bars contain just 2.7g of sugar per 100g. Having said that, KIND bars are still much lower in sugar than other health bars such as Nakd bars and even Trek bars, which can contain as much as 28g of sugar per 100g in the case of the Trek Cocoa Oat Flapjacks.
The real issue with KIND bars for many people will be the calorie content - having bars which are packed with nuts is great for protein and other nutrients, but it does mean that KIND bars are pretty high in calories. For example, the KIND Dark Chocolate and Orange Almond Bars (pictured) contain 539 calories per 100g. That's more calories per 100g than you'll find in Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate!
Even the KIND bars which would seem like they'd be lower in calories are calorific - the Almond & Sea Salt bars (pictured) contain 534 calories per 100g, which is the exact same amount of calories per 100g as you'll find in Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate.
We actually couldn't find a single bar within the standard KIND range which contains fewer than 520 calories per 100g. This surprised us, as even when compared to other health bars on the market the KIND bars are high in calories. We expected the Trek Cocoa Oat flapjacks to contain more calories, but they only contain 454 calories per 100g. It's still quite high, but it's also 70 fewer calories per 100g than you'll find in the lowest calorie KIND bar.
Fat is also an issue with the KIND bars - every KIND bar we looked at contains at least 37g of fat per 100g, mainly due to the nuts. The Grenade Lemon Cheesecake bar contains just 16g of fat per 100g, and the Trek Cocoa Oat Flapjacks contain just 22g of fat per 100g.
What about the KIND protein bars?
We should clarify that all of the above information relates to the standard range of KIND bars, and that the KIND protein bars do vary slightly in terms of nutritional statistics. As the name suggests, they KIND protein bars are higher in protein, with the KIND Protein Dark Chocolate bar containing 23g of protein per 100g. This is 5g more protein than you'll find in a standard KIND bar such as the Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt bar, which contains 17g of protein. But the KIND protein bars are also higher in calories than the standard range - the KIND Protein Dark Chocolate bar contains 548 calories per 100g, which is 25 calories more per 100g than you'll find in 100g of the Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt bars.
Final thoughts - are KIND bars healthy?
Overall, we have to say that although we love the high protein and high fibre content of KIND bars, they're too high in calories and fat for us to describe them as healthy. KIND bars definitely make for a healthier alternative to something like chocolate, but there are other snack bars on the market which you could choose if you want a healthy snack.
What do you think of our guide? Let us know in the comments what you think of KIND bars and if you think they're healthy.