There’s an emergence of fruit (and nut)-based bars, balls and bites in the market. Some, however, are better than others.
What’s in them?
These snacks are more like a handful of nuts, seeds and dried fruit mixed together, and can be a healthy and satisfying snack, either between meals or as a sweet treat. They can provide fibre, good fats and sweetness with those few ingredients: seeds, nuts and fruit.
The energy in a fruit-based snack is affected by both its ingredients and the size of the bar, so the kilojoules can vary widely. Bars containing nuts and seeds are higher in (good) fats hence higher in energy. These are a good choice for those needing a higher energy snack or needing to put on weight. For example, 45g Blue Dinosaur Paleo The Original bar has over 1000kJ, whereas one 14g Frooze Ball Original has only 245kJ. If you’re watching your energy intake, we recommend choosing a fruit-based snack with 600kJ or less.
We know that too much saturated fat is not good for heart health. Coconut (around 50 per cent saturated fat) and coconut oil (around 80 per cent saturated fat) are often used in these bars, so the saturated fat content of some products is high. For example, one Blue Dinosaur Paleo Cacao Mint bar has 28g of saturated fat per 100g (12.5g per bar). We recommend choosing a fruit-based snack with no more than 8g saturated fat per 100g.
Free sugars include all added sugars plus those found naturally in a syrup or extract. Some of the products we looked at contained free sugars in the form of juice, honey, agave, cranberries with sugar and rice syrup. It’s recommended we reduce our intake of free sugars. The dried fruit in these products adds sweetness without the free sugars and has the extra benefit of fibre. It can be hard to discern the amount of free sugars in some products, so to make life simple we recommend checking the ingredients list and choosing fruit-based snacks with no added or free sugars. Save the others for a sweet treat.
In general, higher fibre diets are linked to lowering the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Fibre also helps keep us feeling satisfied for longer by slowing down the rate of digestion. These snacks with dried fruit, seeds and nuts will be naturally higher in fibre than many other snack products. We like products that state the fibre content in their nutrition information panels. We recommend choosing a fruit-based snack with 6g fibre or more per 100g.
- Keep the kilojoules down by halving some of the larger-sized bars and sharing them.
- Try making your own! See our recipes for fruit (and nut) snacks, such as Peanut and cocoa balls, Date and orange balls, Orange, apricot and cashew bliss balls, Gluten-free chia and walnut slice, to name but a few.
How to choose
Use the criteria below to compare fruit-based snacks.
Some of the healthier choices we found
$2.19 per pack (5 balls)
Per ball (14g): 245kJ; 0.4g saturated fat; 1.1g fibre; $0.44
Per 100g: 1750kJ, 2.6g saturated fat; 7.9g fibre
Tastes like homemade. We love them!
Per 30g bar: 519kJ; 1.7g saturated fat; 3.1g fibre; $2.20
Per 100g: 1730kJ; 5.6g saturated fat; 10.4g fibre
A moist, chocolatey flavour. Good portion size.
Per 50g bar: 710kJ; 1g saturated fat; 7.2g fibre; $4.10
Per 100g: 1420kJ; 2.0g saturated fat; 14.4g fibre
Great fig flavour and a nice chewy texture. Yum!
Per 35g bar: 669kJ; 1.4g saturated fat; 2.1g fibre; $2.49
Per 100g; 1910kJ; 3.9g saturated fat; 6g fibre
Sweet and nutty with only two ingredients — dates and cashews!
Per 35g bar: 623kJ; 0.8g saturated fat; 2.2g fibre; $2.49
Per 100g: 1780kJ; 2.2g saturated fat, 6.4g fibre
A delicious natural banana flavour.
Per 45g bar: 1050kJ; 1.8g saturated fat; fibre not stated; $5.70
Per 100g: 2330kJ, 3.9g saturated fat, fibre not stated
Delicious! A tasty nutty flavour.
Per 50g bar: 839kJ; 0.7g saturated fat; fibre not stated; $4.10
Per 100g: 1680kJ; 1.5g saturated fat; fibre not stated
Love the ginger flavour.
Per 60g bar: 952kJ; 1g saturated fat; fibre not stated; $5.10
Per 100g: 1590kJ; 1.7g saturated fat, fibre not stated
Good texture with the chia seeds. Moist and tasty.