In this review, I want to introduce you to one of the best choices amongst commercially made whole-food, energy. These being Larabars.
Larabar Origin & Company
The bars were initially conceived and created by Lara Merriken in 2001 and became available on store shelves by 2003. Their popularity quickly grew and they became available in many countries around the world. In 2008, Larabar was bought by General Mills.
I created Larabar because a healthy body, mind and spirit are derived from what you eat. A magical harmony of fruits, nuts and spices, Larabar harvests only the best natural ingredients.
Nutrition & Characteristics of Larabars
The fruit and nut Larabars feature wholesome, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, non-GMO and kosher ingredients. The bars are mostly a mixture of dried fruits ad nuts. Some include some spices and salt. While the bars themselves are not sweetened, those that include chocolate chips have sugar as one of their ingredients. As of the original date of this review (2008) and and review update (2018), the bars are not using organic ingredients or certified in this area. Aside from ingredients, the bars have an excellent texture that is quite tender, chewy and not sticky in any uncomfortable way for the teeth.
In 2008, the bars came in 14 different flavors: Key Lime Pie, Cherry Pie, Pecan Pie, Banana Bread, Cashew Cookie, Chocolate Coconut Chew, Cocoa Mole, Lemon Bar, Cinnamon Roll, Pistachio, Peanut Butter Cookie, Apple Pie, Ginger Snap, Coconut Cream Pie.
The ingredients included no more than 6 whole, plant food ingredients. Here is an example of the ingredients of the Key Lime Pie:
- Organic Walnuts
- Lime Juice Concentrate
The flavors of these bars are amazing to say the least! I have had a chance to try almost all of them, and my favorites include Key Lime Pie and Coconut Cream Pie. The Cherry Pie flavor was very pleasant, mainly because it did not taste like most cherry flavored foods, which are very artificial. The Apple Pie and Lemon Bar were equally pleasant and delicious, reflecting the delicious flavors of these fresh fruits. I was not particularly fond of the Pistachio and Coca Mole; the latter actually tasted spicy in an unfavorable way for this kind of bar. Of course personal taste buds and preferences will ultimately dictate which flavors you will most enjoy. Either way, amongst so many flavors to choose from, there is something out there for everyone. Larabar also used to have Jocalat Larabars, which were less sweet and relied more on raw cacao powder, as a specialty line of bars.
By 2018, the flavors and ingredients changed a bit, and the bars now come in 10 different flavors, as per the official website listing: Apple, Lemon, Blueberry, Cashew, Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Chip, Cocoa Coconut Chew, Coconut Cream, Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. Larabar sometimes releases other, special flavors that are available for a limited time.
While they still uphold their commitment to whole, plant food ingredients, they use chocolate chips in several of their flavors that only recently became dairy-free and vegan. These chocolate chips, as mentioned above, are sweetened with cane sugar. Some of the flavors also contain other non-whole, plant food extracts, like added flavors and coconut oil. So there is no doubt that some less favorable changes were introduced after the General Mills acquisition.
The ingredients now include no more than 9 plant food ingredients. Here is an example of the ingredients of the Coconut Cream:
- Unsweetened Coconut
- Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Given the focus on mostly whole, plant food ingredients, you are guaranteed to get a good dose of healthy nutrients and a food that has a good nutrient density, as opposed to empty calories, which is the case for most commercial snack bars. The calories from these bars will mostly offer wholesome carbohydrates (our body’s ideal fuel), along with an excellent proportion of healthy fats and protein. The bars will also provide a good dose of vitamins and minerals.
The bars come individually wrapped in 48 – 51g foil lined wrappers. If buying in bulk, the bars come in cardboard boxes of 5 or 16 individual bars. (Please be sure to recycle the packaging.)
- $1.00 – $2.00 CAD/US per bar
- $8 — $10 CAD/USD per box of 5 bars
- $16 — $30 CAD/USD per box of 16 bars
- Health food stores, grocery stores and even some convenience stores across Canada, US, Europe and other countries in the world.
- In Canada, buy Larabars online from Well.ca (with free shipping).
- In United States, buy Larabars online from Amazon.com (with free shipping).
- Excellent variety of flavors
- Delicious Taste
- Great texture
- Minimally processed
- Not cooked or baked
- No artificial colors
- No artificial flavors
- High Fiber
- Fair Price
- Not made from organic ingredients
- Use some non-whole, plant extract ingredients
- May be too sweet for some
- Not an economical choice, if you can make your own fruit and nut bars