By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, member of the Badatz of Crown Heights
When we eat one of the five types of grain for which Eretz Yisroel is praised – other than in the form of bread – we usually say the brachah borei minei mezonos, and the brachah acharonah (after blessing) of al hamichyah. This brachah acharonah is also called mei’ein shalosh (an abridged form of benching), and is recited only on foods that Eretz Yisroel is praised for.
When the grains are eaten whole, as in standard granola bars, or in puffed wheat cereals, it is not considered derech achilaso (the usual way grain is consumed, since it’s usually ground), and therefore the brachah is ha’adamah.
The question then arises: which brachah acharonah should we say on such items? We can’t recite the brachah acharonah of mei’ein shalosh, since Eretz Yisroel hasn’t been praised for the consumption of these grains in this form (when they are eaten whole). Ordinarily, we say borei nefashos after eating food which is a ha’adamah – and indeed this is the mainstream view.
Nonetheless, Rabbeinu Tam writes that whenever we say the brachah of ha’adamah on one of the five types of grain for which Eretz Yisroel is praised, perhaps we should recite a special brachah acharonah, “Al ha’hadama v’al pri ha’adamah”. However, he acknowledges that no such nusach is found in any source.
In order to avoid this issue, there are two options: a) to eat items like granola bars exclusively as part of a meal with bread, after which the unabridged birchas hamazonis recited, or, b) to eat a small amount of this kind of food at a time, taking care not to eat a kezayis or more within a time-span of achilas pras (approximately three-seven minutes; in other words, we can eat several kezaysim, but not more than a kezayiswithin each achilas pras time-span). If eaten in this manner, we make no brachah acharonah. In the event that a person did eat a full shiur outside of a bread meal, the brachah acharonah of borei nefashos should be said.