What are Cereal Bars?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Cereal bars are bars made from cereal grains like oats, rye, rice, and wheat. You may also hear a cereal bar called a “breakfast bar,” in a reference to the fact that many people eat cereal bars in lieu of breakfast, although this food can technically be eaten at any time. Many companies manufacture cereal bars, with most markets selling an array of options. It is also possible to make cereal bars at home, by combining a mixture of grains, nuts, and other ingredients with a thick heated syrup and allowing the mixture to cool and set in a baking pan before slicing it into bars.

Dried fruit is often included in cereal bars.
Dried fruit is often included in cereal bars.

In addition to the key cereal ingredient, cereal bars usually have some sort of syrup which acts like a glue to pull the grain together so that it stays in a bar shape. The most common choice of syrup is a sugar syrup, although other glue-like mixtures can be used as well. Ingredients like fruit, nuts, candy, and so forth may also be added to a cereal bar to enhance the flavor and taste, and some cereal bars are dipped in yogurt or candy coatings.

Oats are often an ingredient in cereal bars.
Oats are often an ingredient in cereal bars.

The idea behind cereal bars is that they provide a quick snack or breakfast for someone who is on the go. Assembling a full breakfast may be a challenge for someone with a tight schedule, and many people believe that breakfast is an important meal, so cereal bars fill the need. Someone can also snack on a cereal bar in the middle of the day, with some people carrying cereal bars so that they can keep their blood sugar under control. A cereal bar before a workout can provide more energy, and likewise with a cereal bar consumed at a low point in the work day.

The nutritional value of cereal bars varies considerably. Many companies make versions which are heavily sweetened, with a low fiber content and few vitamins or minerals. While these cereal bars may be tasty, they do not confer very much nutrition, and they may not provide the same benefits as a healthier version. Especially when cereal bars are being eaten as a meal replacement, it is important to seek out a cereal bar which provides some basic nutrition, rather than a cereal bar which is basically a sweet treat in wolf's clothing.

There are some things to look for when buying cereal bars which can be used to select a product with the most nutritional value. The sugar content should be low, ideally less than 15 grams, while the fiber content should be high, usually above five grams. High protein is another thing to look for, as are vitamins like C and A, with a cereal bar ideally having at least 25% of the daily value of two or more vitamins. Avoid cereal bars which are dipped in candy coatings, or cereal bars with ingredients like marshmallows, chocolate chunks, and other candy ingredients. Dried fruit and nuts are good ingredients to look for, as they can provide extra nutritional value.

Puffed rice grains can add a crispy texture to a cereal bars.
Puffed rice grains can add a crispy texture to a cereal bars.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


Sneakers41 - I tried the milk cereal bars and they are really good, but I was recently turned on to a product called Vita Tops.

These are vitamin enriched muffin tops that have about 50% of most of the daily required vitamins which include iron and have at least 8 grams of dietary fiber.

Not only is each muffin top nutritious but they taste incredible. One Vita Top only has about 100 calories and they have them in a variety of flavors including deep chocolate chip, banana nut, and even cornbread flavors.

I think that these are a great alternative to the yogurt cereal bars and they are loading with nutritional value.

I first heard about them from a site called Hungry Girl. This site offers a lot of information on great tasting food that is nutritious and low in calories. They also offer low fat recipes and alternatives to high calorie foods.


I really like the Nutrigrain fruit cereal bars. I normally buy the apple and strawberry flavors. They are great with a cup of coffee or as a snack.

I sometimes pack one in my kid’s lunch for them as a dessert.

The only bad thing is that they are not as fillings as some of the meal replacement bars like the bran cereal bars or the Luna soy bars.

I really like Luna bars because they are rich in vitamins and have enough fiber and protein to hold me over. For a bar to keep me satisfied it has to have at least ten grams of protein and at least four grams of fiber.

Post your comments
Forgot password?