Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a full sortable chart of candy bars so you can see how the exact nutrition stacks up!
What is actually the ?
Much like donuts or fast food, that’s an impossible question to answer.
Why? Well, because we all define “healthy” in our own unique ways!
For you, healthy might mean low calorie, but to another person, it may mean minimal ingredients or high-protein.
Now, let’s be clear: if you’re going to eat a , the odds are that you’re not too concerned with how healthy it actually is. I mean, it’s after all.
But, that doesn’t mean that it’s not helpful to know the differences! I always find it beneficial to know what I’m consuming, even if I’m not counting my or watching my weight.
Let’s break down the nutrition facts of various bars and sort through most of the popular options out there to figure out which ones may be considered the healthiest for our own diets.
Can you eat candy and still be healthy?
When we think of bars, we think of high , high , and very little nutritional benefit.
In that sense, a might not be considered “healthy” at all.
But just because you eat food that isn’t traditionally considered healthy, that doesn’t mean that YOU are unhealthy.
Sometimes you just want a , and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
It should never be “eat this, not that.” It should be “eat this sometimes, and that other times.”
Your approach should always be balanced, which is why I am such a major advocate for flexible dieting.
Protein bars (generally speaking) are a great snack to take with you on the go. They’re convenient, high in protein and fiber, and contain minimal ingredients.
But sometimes bars are also a great choice.
No, a is not going to nourish you with micronutrients and help you hit your protein goals.
But it’s convenient, delicious, and it’s going to make you happy.
I say it all the time, but I’m gonna repeat it in case you’re new here…
Every food choice you make does not need to be in the pursuit of perfect health.
If you’re presented with blueberries or Sour Patch Kids, it’s probably pretty easy to identify which option is “better.” Nobody is turning to for the health benefits, after all.
But if that’s all we thought about every single time we chose a snack, our diets (and our lives) would be BORING.
You’re allowed to eat food that doesn’t directly impact your goals. That doesn’t make you unhealthy!
I love protein bars. I’m going to continue to eat ’em. But I also love , and you bet your -loving butt that I’m going to continue to enjoy those sometimes, too!
The you snack on is only a tiny portion of a single day. When you look at the big picture of your overall health, it’s not going to negatively affect you in the slightest. I promise.
Balance and moderation are your two best friends, always.
For those reasons: yes, you can eat and still be perfectly healthy.
vs , which is healthier?
Depending on the type of you’re after, you may be presented with the option of or .
Which is the better choice?
Many people out there view a as an unhealthy option, but when it comes to , it’s often viewed as a healthy option.
When people set out to lose weight, they’ll avoid “ bars” at all costs, but have no problem enjoying some .
This is often because contains very minimal ingredients. In most cases, this means no , no , minimal (or no) , no , etc.
But I want to show you that is still absolutely fine to enjoy…
If we look at equal portion sizes, we can see that calorically, and are nearly identical.
If weight loss is your ultimate goal, then keeping your in check should be your priority. Calorie deficit = weight loss.
In that case, a might be a totally fine option for ya. Likewise, if you’re eating lower fat, then a is actually a more appealing option.
Of course, we have to look at the .
There’s no comparison here: contains much more than its counterpart. Does that make it “less healthy”? No, it just means it contains more .
By some people’s standards, that may mean it’s less healthy, but that’s not a universal truth.
What are the different types of chocolate, and which is healthiest?
There are tons of different types of out there: we can go from the most (100% bar) all the way down to , which doesn’t actually contain any at all.
There are plenty of variations with varying ingredients such as , , , peanuts, and more. For this comparison, let’s just look at the varying percentage differences for bars…
bars can contain as little as 10% , but fall within the 10-30% range.
99-100% are both going to be super bitter and are typically just used in baking. For me personally, even the mildest of is still far too bitter, and I much prefer !
Almost all of the different types of are going to fall in a very similar calorie range.
The ingredients will vary, but you don’t have to force-feed yourself only the darkest of if you hate it. A little milk or is absolutely okay.
Note that for this comparison guide, I stuck to 70% as the lowest of the , but there are other options that fall between the 30%-70% range as well. Most of those options have very similar caloric value!
Which type of is the healthiest? Whichever type fits YOUR preferences.
Many consider to be the healthy option, but based on your own dietary preferences, that may not necessarily be the case.
The healthiest candy bars
As you scroll down, you’ll come across a table containing 65 bars (and counting). Sort the table by or macronutrients, or search to see how your favorite stacks up!
While most of the bars are from the United States (we have the best bars) I snuck in a few others that I’ve tried in both Canada and the UK that I really love as well. Shoutout to Coffee Crisp!
While most bars will typically be in the 200 calorie range and have a similar nutritional profile, there are definitely differences between them.
York Peppermint Patty
150 , 2.5g Fat, 26g , 0g Protein
York Peppermint Patty’s are the smallest of all the “bars” out there, so it should come as no surprise that they contain the fewest . They have a mint filling and are coated with and are generally looked at as a option.
Second-Lowest : Reese’s Thins (170 , or 85 per )
With Most Protein
240 , 13g Fat, 21g , 7g Protein
Coming in at the top of the protein list is a PayDay bar, which is jam-packed with peanuts. Whereas most bars consist of mostly , PayDay doesn’t actually contain any at all and instead utilizes a coating around a center.
Edit: PayDay recently released a chocolate-coated PayDay bar which has 260 calories, 14g of fat, 27g carbs, and 5g protein.
Second-Highest: Reese’s Ultimate Lovers (6g protein)
220 , 12g Fat, 14g , 4g Protein
With 14g of bars that utilize , which are obviously much lower in ., Twix is actually the lowest option out there. Of course, this does not include -free versions of
Second-Lowest : Twix Cookies & Cream (17g of )
With Lowest Fat
York Peppermint Patty
150 , 2.5g Fat, 26g , 0g Protein
Along with the title of Lowest Calorie, York always wins the title of Lowest Fat. Since York Peppermint Patties don’t contain any , , or nougat filling, the fat content stays nice and low here. If you are worried about your consumption of or , York is definitely a great choice.
Second-Lowest Fat: 3 Musketeers (7g fat)
The Ultimate Ranking
A few notes on the table below:
- This is exclusive to bars. We’ll save our full guide for another post so we can compare like jolly ranchers and like .
- Technically speaking, Reese’s Cups and York Peppermint Patties aren’t in bar shape, but they fit the description enough for me!
- I chose not to include the full carbohydrate count here, but rather just list the . In most cases, the carb totals consist of almost , so you’re not missing out on too many carbs.
- Since new bars are consistently being released, I will do my best to keep this chart updated for you.
- If I left your favorite off this list, come find me on Instagram and let me know!
|Candy Bar||Calories||Fat (g)||Sugar (g)||Protein (g)|
|Snickers Almond Brownie||180||9||18||2|
|Reese's Big Cup With Pretzels||180||10||18||4|
|Milky Way Simply Caramel||200||8||26||1|
|Hershey’s Special Dark||200||13||20||2|
|Hershey's Cookie Layer Crunch||200||13||19||2|
|Twix Cookies & Cream||200||11||17||2|
|Kit Kat Chunky||200||10||21||3|
|Reese's Crunchy Cookie||200||11||21||4|
|Reese’s Big Cup||200||12||23||5|
|Reese's Ultimate PB Lovers||210||13||17||6|
|Kit Kat Duos||210||12||19||2|
|Kit Kat Mint||210||12||19||2|
|Hershey's With Almonds||210||14||19||4|
|Kit Kat Fruity Cereal||220||12||20||2|
|Aero Milk Chocolate||220||12||25||3|
|Twix Peanut Butter||220||12||14||4|
|Hershey’s Cookies N Cream||220||11||21||3|
|Milky Way Midnight||230||8||30||1|
|Oreo Chocolate Bar||230||14||20||2|
|Cadbury Double Decker||250||9||30||1|
|Snickers Peanut Butter||250||14||23||5|
|PayDay (Chocolate Coated)||260||14||27||5|