Real Simple went in search of the tastiest bars in the two top-selling flavors.
Winner: Kellogg's Nutri-Grain, $3.35 for eight.
Testers called the ratio of filling to crust "just right." The filling was "like apple preserves without the fruit pieces" and left "no artificial aftertaste."
The nutritionist's verdict: A Nutri-Grain bar is fortified with calcium, providing 20 percent of the Daily Value recommended by the FDA.
Runner-up: Quaker Fruit & Oatmeal, $3.60 for eight.
"Too sweet" was a common comment for other bars, but not for this number-two pick, which has just enough sweetness to taste like a treat. Testers enjoyed the bar's texture and overall moistness.
The nutritionist's verdict: It contains 25 percent of the Daily Value of folic acid, a vitamin crucial to a fetus's brain development, making it a smart choice for pregnant women.
Winner: Health Valley, $3.20 for six.
Approximately 70 percent of the ingredients in this cereal bar (and all Health Valley cereal bars) are certified organic, which helped this bar pull ahead of the pack. "It wasn't fake tasting, like many of the others," said one tester. Another, unafraid of superlatives, stated, "It was the best bar I've ever had. It's not too sweet, and it actually tasted good."
The nutritionist's verdict: Here's a good pick for those watching their sodium intake, with 50 percent less than the amount found in the Nutri-Grain and Quaker bars.
Runner-up: Nature's Choice, $3 for six.
This bar has no additives, is dairy- and wheat-free, and has twice as much fiber as the average cereal bar. "It is the most natural-looking bar of all," said one tester. In other words, try not to look at it. Just close your eyes and enjoy the one that "tastes like real whole grains and fruit."
The nutritionist's verdict: This bar is lowest in calories, lowest in fat, and highest in fiber of all our winners. The additional fiber helps you feel full and curbs your appetite until the next meal.