LARABAR Review - Healthy Energy Bars with Fruit and Nuts

Dec 22, 2010 by Visual Recipes | Filed in Reviews | 5 Comments

It can often be difficult to find a healthy snack while you’re out and about. Vending machines are usually full of junk, and most fast food restaurants’ “healthy” options are anything but. Because of this, I’m always on the lookout for healthy snack foods that I can slip into my pocket before heading out.

How to Choose a Healthy Snack

My criteria for selecting the perfect grab-and-go healthy snack: It must be around 200 calories with no corn syrup or artificial ingredients and there must be a few grams of protein to keep hunger at bay.  It must also be composed of mainly complex carbohydrates, with no sugar added.

What are Larabars?

On a recent jaunt to the local health food market, while looking through shelves of energy bars, I stumbled upon Larabars. The slogan on the Larabar wrappers reads “The Original Fruit & Nut Food Bar.”  Viewing the ingredients listings, I discovered that all the bars shared the same base ingredient: dates. I was amazed to find that most bars only contained a few ingredients. Not only that, but the ingredients were all natural. No fillers, preservatives, or colorings are used. Additionally, except for the Larabars that contain chocolate, no sugar was added. Also, all of the Larabars that do not contain chocolate are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, non-GMO, vegan, and kosher.

The bars met my healthy snack criteria, but how do they taste? To find out, we rounded up some tasters to taste-test seven different Larabar flavors.

Apple Pie Larabar Review:

Apple Pie Larabar

Taste: Tastes similar to apple pie. Everyone really liked it.

Apple Pie Ingredients: dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon.

Pecan Pie Larabar Review:

Pecan Pie Larabar

Taste: Not as sweet as real pecan pie but the texture was close to the real thing. One taster wished the pecan pieces were larger. In the photo you see large almond pieces, but the pecans are ground down. The pecans should be large and prominent, not the almonds.

Pecan Pie Ingredients: dates, almonds, pecans.

Cherry Pie Larabar Review:

Cherry Pie Larabar

Taste: The unsweetened cherries are definitely tart. While some liked the tartness, others did not.

Cherry Pie Ingredients: dates, almonds, unsweetened cherries.

Cashew Cookie Larabar Review:

Cashew Cookie Larabar

Taste: With only two ingredients, dates and cashews, this bar didn’t have much flavor. Tasters all agreed that it needed some salt. We called this the “neutral-flavor bar.”

Cashew Cookie Ingredients: dates, cashews.

Chocolate Chip Brownie Larabar Review:

Chocolate Chip Brownie Larabar

Taste: Definitely not as tasty as a brownie, but for something healthy, this was pretty good.

Chocolate Chip Brownie Ingredients: dates, chocolate chips, almonds, walnuts, cocoa powder, salt.

Coconut Cream Pie Larabar Review:

Coconut Cream Pie Larabar

Taste: Horrible! Even tasters who love coconut hated the taste of this bar. Everything ended up in the trash, as no one could swallow it. One taster proclaimed that it was like “getting your mouth washed out with soap!”.  The ghastly taste lingered in your mouth. We suspect the rancid taste to be from the extra virgin coconut oil.

Coconut Cream Pie Ingredients: dates, unsweetened coconut, almonds, cashews, extra virgin coconut oil.

Carrot Cake Larabar Review:

Carrot Cake Larabar

Taste: Good. Cinnamon flavor is too strong though. Being that everyone hated the coconut cream pie Larabar, we were surprised it tasted so well considering it also has extra virgin coconut oil.

Carrot Cake Ingredients: dates, almonds, walnuts, raisins, pineapple, unsweetened coconut, carrots, cinnamon, extra virgin coconut oil.

Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar Review:

Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar

Taste: Similar to the cashew cookie, but better flavor due to the added salt.

Peanut Butter Cookie Ingredients: dates, peanuts, salt.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabar Review:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabar

Taste: Tastes just like the peanut butter cookie Larabar but with chocolate flavor. We would choose this over the peanut butter cookie.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ingredients: dates, peanuts, chocolate chips, salt.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabar Review:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabar

Taste: Doesn’t taste like cookie dough. Very mild chocolate flavor. The dates overpower the bar.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ingredients: cashews, dates, chocolate chips, salt.

Key Lime Pie Larabar Review:

Key Lime Pie Larabar

Taste: Some tasters found the citrus from the lime too strong to enjoy the bar.

Key Lime Pie Ingredients: dates, cashews, almonds, unsweetened coconut, lime juice concentrate.

Summary

If you’re looking for a healthy snack, you can’t go wrong with a Larabar. Be sure to try out the apple pie, pecan pie, cherry pie, peanut butter chocolate chip, and the chocolate chip brownie.

Where to Buy Larabars:

Check your local supermarkets energy bar / protein bar / nutrition bar aisle.

You can also order online at larabarstore.com or purchase from Amazon:


Disclosure: free samples were provided for this review.

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5 Comments

Kristjan

Nov 03, 2011

Larabars are definitely my favorite energy bars, and this was an excellent article.

They’re sold pretty much everywhere in my country, and one of the very few brands that are gluten-free and without artificial sweeteners, which is important to me.

Tom Wallace

Jun 01, 2012

The apple and cashew are my favorite. Larabars are a great source of energy on the go.

Rudy

Aug 29, 2012

You know, I’ve seen these in my health store, but I never gave them a try. You’ve definitely peaked my interest. I’ll have to get a couple the next time I’m there. I’m thinking the chocolate chip and coconut ones. Thanks!!

Joe Mckeown

Nov 30, 2012

I hadn’t heard of Larabars, so your reviews on the different types are very welcome. Something healthy that my sweet tooth won’t feel guilty about. Thanks for sharing.

Richard

Jan 06, 2013

Thanks for posting this!  I was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease and I was searching for a energy bar that is gluten free and your site came up. I’m going to have to try these out!

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