Chewsday Review- Carman's Fruit Free Muesli Bars

Another Chewsday, another Carman’s Muesli Bar. Today’s review features Carman’s Fruit Free Muesli Bars. Are they any better than the fruit containing ones?


🔹This is another tricky ingredient list to interpret, but basic facts suggest it's 77% muesli. The muesli ingredients include oats (62%), sunflower oil, nuts (9%), seeds (9%), golden syrup, oat flour and cinnamon.

🔹If 77% of the bar comes from muesli, then obviously you want to know what the other 23% of ingredients are. Well, according to the information panel, it's just glucose (sugar) and natural vanilla flavour. So essentially, this product is Carman's fruit-free muesli, with sugar to bind it.

🔹Common allergens include: gluten, almonds, pecans and sesame seeds.

🔶 The positives:

🔹Reasonable fibre content, with 2.6g per muesli bar, which is good for little tummies. This works out to 18.4% of a young child’s fibre recommendation, and 14% of an older child’s daily fibre recommendations.

🔹Very low sodium (salt) content.

🔹High protein content (remember that Australian kids already have a high protein intake so don't necessarily need more protein in their diets!)

🔹The sugar content comes in at 12g per 100g, which is under the recommended limit, but that seems reasonably high given the only sugar is added sugar.

🔶The negatives:

🔹The overall fat content is relatively high because of the nuts and seeds (which are mostly a good fat), and because the muesli is toasted (baked with oil). They contain 20.1g of fat per 100g, which is more than the 10g recommendations. However, the saturated fat content comes in under healthy guidelines at 2.3g/100g.

🔹Although nuts are super nutritious, the inclusion of almonds and pecans means that these muesli bars are banned at many Australian schools.

🔹These bars are reasonably expensive at 94c/bar.

🔶 The marketing:

🔹Carman's do make a big deal out of their 'real food' ingredients. I think they've got a reasonable edge in the market, because most of the other muesli bars are made up of some stranger sounding ingredients like humectants and starches and multiple forms of sugars. These aren't 'bad' ingredients, it's just that they don't have a lot of nutritional worth or health benefits- they're there to keep the bar stuck together.

🔹“Source of fibre” Yes this is true.

🔹”High in wholegrain” Yes, also true with 22g in each bar.

🔹The ‘fruit-free’ nature of this bar makes me think that there would be more nuts and seeds, but really there’s just more oats. The difference in nut and seed content is only an extra 1 gram per bar.

🔶The alternatives:

🔹This product is an ok choice in a snack aisle often filled with foods containing very high levels of sugar, fat and salt. Compared to other foods it does ok, but the added sugar content is still too high for me to recommend as an everyday food.

🔹These muesli bars are essentially the same as the Carman’s Classic Fruit and Nut bars, and the Carman’s Muesli Bars but with more oats and less fruit.


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Dr Kyla Smith and Liz Beaton are paediatric dietitians specialising in fussy eating, feeding difficulties and childhood nutrition. Lauren Pike is an occupational therapist working in fussy eating and feeding difficulties. They have a private practice called Mealtime Building Blocks in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with Kyla, Liz and Lauren here

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