Reviewing Healthy(ish) Packaged Snacks and Treats for Toddlers & Kids: Chocolate Chip Clif Z Bar

I give the Chocolate Chip Clif Z Bar for kids the thumbs up!
I give the Chocolate Chip Clif Z Bar for kids the thumbs up! | Source

How often do you let your child have chocolate?

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The Never-ending Challenge of Finding Relatively Healthy Treats

I have a three year old who loves chocolate. I know this doesn't make me particularly unique or special, but this kid really loves chocolate. He jumps up and down saying "I love chocolate!!" Sometimes he adds extra emphasis: "I loooooooove chocolate." My challenge is that I love to see him happy, but I also know I can't let him subsist on only chocolate chips (though on one particular trip to Costco, he appeared to be quite capable of fulfilling his daily caloric needs through just chocolate chips).

I know I want to limit the amount of sugar he takes in, but I also know he's not often going to have as little as is recommended. I read that the daily allowance of sugar for children is 12 grams. Once I started paying a little bit of attention to the amount of sugar in anything packaged, it seems clear that is a very hard goal to meet. Though it should be the goal!

I would also feel irresponsible not adding that I do believe it's way better to make food at home. Your kid learns great skills and values by making food at home, they may be more engaged and interested in their food, and it saves money. Go here for great ideas about simple and healthy foods to make at home.

But realistically, there are going to be times when most of us need or want to grab a quick packaged snack for our kid to have on the go. I also sometimes want to give him a special treat, but one that is not just pure sugar and no redeeming value. This is what lead me to my quest for the perfect bar with chocolate in it that I can feel ok about giving my three year old as a treat.

I can tend to get a little obsessive with finding the "perfect" answer to things, so I ended up making a chart (below) comparing various bars with chocolate in them, as I searched for the perfect bar. I actually think all of the bars listed below are pretty good choices. As I will explain below the chart, there are a few reasons why I decided the Chocolate Chip Clif Z Bar is the very best.

Comparing Nutritional Information for Nutritional Bars with Chocolate in Them

Name of Bar
Calories
Calories from Fat
Total Fat/Saturated Fat (grams)
Fiber
Sugar
Protein
First Ingredient
Clif Z Bar - Chocolate Chip
130
30
3.5g/1.5g
3g
11g
2g
Organic Rolled Oats
Clif Z Bar - Chocolate Brownie
120
20
2.5g/.5g
3g
11g
3g
Organic Rolled Oats
Fiber One - Oats and Chocolate
140
35
4g/2g
9g
10g
2g
Chicory Root Extract (second is choc chips, third is whole grain oats)
Kashi Layered Granola Bar - Dark Chocolate & Coconut
120
30
3.5g/1.5g
4g
7g
4g
Rolled Whole Grain Blend
Nature's Valley Chewy Trail Mix
140
35
4g/1g
3g
12g
2g
Whole grain oats
Quaker Chewy Granola Bar
100
30
3g/1g
1g
7g
1g
Whole grain rolled oats
5 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of Clif Z Bar - Chocolate Chip
Showing the size of a Clif Z bar using a sippy cup for scale (I figure all parents will be familiar with the size of a sippy cup!)
Showing the size of a Clif Z bar using a sippy cup for scale (I figure all parents will be familiar with the size of a sippy cup!) | Source

Chocolate Chip Clif Z Bar - Why I Recommend It

In the chart above, I highlighted in bold which bars I considered to be the best in each category. Strictly going by wins, I should be recommending the Chocolate Brownie Clif Z Bar, but there are a few intangibles that pushed me towards the Chocolate Chip Clif Z Bar as the very best choice. And I do think the Chocolate Brownie is also a great choice. In fact, I think all the bars I listed are good choices, and would be fine giving any of them to my son. But this is about the quest for perfection!

First of all, I like the Clif Z Bars because I know they are made for kids and that gives me extra comfort that they have thought about the right size, ingredients, and nutritional value for a kid. I also like Clif Bar as a company and I know they are environmentally and socially responsible.

I like the chocolate chip bars over the brownie bars because I like to keep the amount of chocolate to a minimum when possible - chocolate chip is nice because it's still a chocolate treat in the eyes of my son, but it's not as much as the brownie. The more chocolate he has, the more he seems to want, so hopefully this calibrates his desire for chocolate at a more reasonable level.

The main drawback is the amount of sugar - following recommended intake guidelines, this would be basically all the sugar he could have in one day. But I figure if he's not having them very often, it's ok. And the sweeteners they use are all organic and natural: primarily organic dried cane syrup and organic brown rice syrup.

All these factors make the Clif Z bar - chocolate chip - my go to packaged chocolate treat bar for my three year old. And if I must be totally honest, also occasionally for me!

And if you don't want to just rely on my review, here's a quote from my son about why he loves these bars:

"I really lub deez z bars. Dey so chocolately right in my mouth!"

Enough said.

Six bars come in a pack of Clif Z Bars
Six bars come in a pack of Clif Z Bars | Source

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Comments 5 comments

CarlySullens profile image

CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

Great hub! I also give these bars to my children. Especially before a sporting event.


twoseven profile image

twoseven 4 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin Author

CarlySullens - Thanks for the positive feedback! Very much appreciated. I'm glad to hear they work well before sporting events - I can't wait til my sons are a little bigger and start sports!


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

My kids are young adults now, but I have nephews and nieces that can profit from what you've shared here. Thanks for doing such a good report on this interesting and universal issue. Now if I could just bring my love for chocolate to some reasonable level of restraint....


SolEscapes profile image

SolEscapes 4 years ago

My kids loves the brownie bars. I wish they had a little less sugar.


twoseven profile image

twoseven 4 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin Author

hawaiianodysseus - thanks for the comments! And even your grown kids might enjoy these bars - I've been known to sneak a few myself... And I have no tips for bringing a love of chocolate to any reasonable level of restraint - I am a hopeless addict myself!

SolEscapes - thanks for the comment! It does seem like the brownie bars are a major favorite among most kids. And I agree, I wish they had a little less sugar, since just one bar is basically all the sugar a kid is supposed to have in one day!

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