Is It Healthy? Meridian Nut Bars

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Up until now, Meridian Foods have been best known for their super-healthy, super-natural nut butters but now they’ve branched out into snacks with the recent launch of two new Meridian nut bars.

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I first tried these a few months ago at a press day for health store Holland & Barrett where they were listed as ‘coming soon’ and thought they were pretty good, but then I saw them again at the Natural and Organic Products Show Europe at Olympia, found out they’d now launched – and had another sample. Turns out they had been reworked a little since my first taste.

‘I think you’re eating about version 17,’ said Mr Meridian. ‘The last one you had was around no14.’

It was a good change – the last time I tried the bars my overwhelming feeling was ‘yummy, but a bit oily’ – now, they’ve got rid of most of the excessive oil – and just left me with the yummy.

So now you know how they taste, let’s answer the question we ask a lot on this blog… are they healthy.

Meridian Nut Bar Nutrition

The bars are made mostly of nuts (55 per cent of the ingredients) with added brown rice malt, agave nectar, rice bran and other bits and bobs to form them into a bar shape.

According to figures on the Meridian website, the 40g Peanut Bar has 178 calories. It has 8.8g of fat – but very little of that is saturated fat. It has 7.68g of protein and 2.68g of fibre. That’s all pretty good and healthy.

But, then we get to carbohydrates – and specifically sugar.

Each bar contains 11.2g of sugar – all that rice malt and agave nectar adds up.

And while the sources of sweetness in the bar aren’t refined sugars, rice malt does have a high GI source and there are a few worries about agave as it contains high levels of fructose which might not be the best choice for our bodies which does mean we can’t give them top marks for health (for more on agave and other sweeteners check here).

The bar also just tips into the NHS’s definition of a high sugar food (classed as one as more than 22.5g sugar per 100g)

The Almond Bar has 191 calories a bar, 12.6g of fat – but even lower saturated fat than the peanut bar. It has slightly more fibre at 3.36g and 6.6g of protein – it does have slightly less sugar though – 8.96g. Overall it contains 22.4g per 100g which means it doesn’t class as a high sugar food – yay!

Of the two, therefore, the Almond Bar is slightly more healthy than the Peanut option.

Both bars do contain slightly more calories than a 28g serving of straight peanuts (although fewer than an ounce of almonds), but, if you’re like me and tend to eat nuts by the handful quite quickly, you’re also likely to eat them more slowly than a handful of nuts.

In fact, because they are quite sweet, you might find you don’t actually need a whole one to satisfy your craving which would help a lot – although see below for how that plan is working out for me!

Are Meridian Nut Bars Vegan?

Yes, in fact, if you’re on any kind of special diet there’s a good chance you can eat them……Deep breath……They’re vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, those watching their salt will be pleased to hear they don’t contain any.  Oh, and monkey lovers, there’s no palm oil either.

Obviously, the sugar count does mean that they are not keto-friendly.

Meridian Bars - the orangutans thank you for your snack choice.
Meridian Bars – the orangutans thank you for your snack choice.

The Verdict

I like them – a bit too much. I keep trying my ‘cut the bar in half to reduce the calories’ trick with these – and then heading back into the kitchen for the other half within about two minutes.

If you want to have your bars and abs too, top sports nutritionist Anita Bean suggests using them after exercise as a quick, easy way to supply both the protein and carbs you need for optimum muscle recovery.

If you want to see what has me hooked, you can order the bars online via Amazon and have the yumminess arrive at your front door!

Click here if you want to try the Meridian Peanut Bar.

If you’d rather try the Meridian Almond Bar then click here instead

Orangutan image: freedigitalphotos.net

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