The Hunt for Healthy Snack Bars – Lärabar
Time to look into Lärabar. I’ve been putting this off since I know it’s not one of my favorites, but as I look at their website, I see that they have some other lines that I’ve never tried. Let me see if they’re worth picking up.
As a reminder, when looking at snack bars, for now, my three rules are that
- they should contain whole grains, nuts, and seeds,
- they should be low in saturated fat (preferably less than 3g), and
- added sugars should not be listed in the top 3 ingredients.
This line of Lärabars has over 20 varieties! My son has sampled quite a few of them, and I think he liked all but the cherry one. Here’s a few that interest me the most.
Chocolate Chip Brownie
I’ve had quite a few of these. Of any I’ve tasted, this is my preferred one. My husband doesn’t care for it, though, because he’s not a big fan of bars or cookies containing dates (though he likes dates on their own).
One of the first things you should notice is the short list of ingredients, all ingredients that you can pronounce and picture quite clearly in your head. That’s really an amazing achievement. I’d say these are the closest bars to what you would make at home. I could easily throw all these ingredients into a food processor and end up with something similar, so obviously this passes the whole grains, nuts, and seeds, test.
The fat is reasonable, too, so not a problem.
The sugars, though. There’s no added sweetener listed, but the problem is that the ingredients of the chocolate chips aren’t listed. Most likely, there is sugar from those, but until “added sugars” is added to labels, it’s hard to tell what is sugar from the dates and what might be added from the chocolate.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Only 4 ingredients here, and because of the cashews, this has slightly higher saturated fat but still within reason.
Yet again, though, we don’t know what’s in the those chocolate chips. Sugars is still pretty high at 16 g, but we still don’t know how much of it is added sugar. And that bugs me.
I had to find out what was up with the chocolate chips. Usually, if an ingredient is made up of separate other ingredients, they need to be listed. I wonder how Lärabar gets around this, but I thought maybe their website talked about the chocolate chips somewhere. And they do…in their FAQ:
So, as suspected, the chocolate chips contain sugar. This might technically put added sugar in the top 3 ingredients for any bars with chocolate chips.
So let’s check out a bar without chocolate chips.
Holy crap. Two ingredients. Now that’s impressive. So obviously, at 18g of sugar from the dates, it’s possible that in the chocolate chip bars, the chocolate chips are actually making up a very tiny part of the sugars since this one has 18g.
In the end, I think this line of Lärabars fits all the criteria…and then some! (I just wish I enjoyed them more.)
These aren’t really bars but more like balls. I’ve been tempted to pick up a bag, though, especially because of this flavor:
Mint Chocolate Truffle
Dates and almonds are the first two ingredients. Saturated fat is good. Chocolate chips would add a little sugar, but they’re the third ingredient and sugar is not likely the first ingredient in them). Dates are the first and are most likely the cause of most of the 13g of sugar.
Might be keeping an eye out for these on my next shopping trip!
Lärabar Fruit + Greens
What you see in this picture is pretty much what you get with this line.
Strawberry Spinach Cashew
Nothing out of line here at all. Whole foods. No added sugar (though adding “unsweetened” to the apples makes me wonder if they added anything to the strawberries or apricots). Hardly any fat, and this combination actually sounds pretty good to me. And there isn’t even any chocolate in it!
Lärabar Nut & Seed Crunchy Bar
Dark Chocolate Almond
This is the most ingredients we’ve seen so far in Lärabars:
However, everything looks pretty good on it. Honey is technically an added sweetener but one I find acceptable. Maple sugar is in there, too. Also, acceptable, especially since there are only 7g of sugar in the bar total. Really, it sounds delicious.
I have yet to see these in stores, but I might pick up one to try (along with my bag of Mint Chocolate Truffle Bites!).
Lärabar Organic with Superfoods
Wow. This sounds like a mighty line, doesn’t it?
Hazelnut, Hemp, & Cacao
And really it doesn’t look a whole lot different than the other bars we’ve looked at except for the hazelnuts and hemp, which aren’t prominent ingredients in their other lines. Anyone else expecting this to take like healthy Nutella?
So, though I don’t care for their Original line much, Lärabar seems to have some varieties in other lines that I think might be worth trying. And I think, generally, they appear to be the most natural and whole-food-oriented brand of snack bars so far. I’m really quite impressed with that.