This post brought to you by LÄRABAR. All opinions are 100% mine.
Sorry about the comments being down on my last post, Nature’s Candy Bar (which, by the way was inspired by Larabars!). They are open now.
Many of you know that I experienced some pretty bad morning sickness with my last pregnancy during the first couple of months. Soon after I started feeling better, we found out that my mother in law had stage four cancer and she passed away soon after. It’s been a long, hard year. While I generally try to make all of our food, snacks included, from scratch, it honestly hasn’t been possible all of the time this year. So there were a few premade/prepackaged, natural food products that we bought to tide us over.
One of the them was a box of LÄRABAR bars which we bought at Costco. I kept them in my purse for when out and about and it saved me from low blood sugar more than once during my pregnancy. So when I found out that the company was interested in a review on my site, I couldn’t resist. Here’s the pro’s and con’s of this product.
What I love….
I love that they are all natural bars. Almost all of the flavors are sweetened entirely with fruit, which fits nicely into my food philosophy. They are also dairy free, which also fits in well with our restrictions. (My gluten free readers will be glad to note that they are also gluten free). Our favorites include apple pie, cherry pie, lemon bar, and coconut cream pie. They are kind of like a bar version of many of the raw desserts you see on blogs. The cherry pie and lemon bar are tart, which I love. And the coconut cream pie is actually kind of creamy with the addition of coconut oil. I also love that they leave out all of those weird ingredients, like soy protein, and other funny tasting additions that many sport bars use. Blah.
What I wish was different….
I wish they used organic ingredients, and I wish that I didn’t have to throw away plastic when I buy these (one of the “evils” of premade food). I would also love to see some lower sugar options (even though they are sweetened almost entirely with fruit, they do have a high amount of fruit sugar in it). Because of the above issues, I am glad that I can make my own versions of this treat, but I am very glad to have an option for an instant snack, especially in a year like this last year.
They are offering a coupon for a dollar off, if you are interest in this brand. You can get your LÄRABAR coupon here, if you like.
I would love to hear from my readers. When you are in a season of stress or hard circumstances, do you have packaged/premade food that are healthy as well as convenient?
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One of my ‘go to’ packaged snacks is raisins! I buy little boxes of raisins from Halloween clearance and toss them in the freezer. They stay fresh a long time in the freezer and my kids (who wouldn’t normally eat raisins) love having their own tiny box of raisins.
Another favorite with my kids (and me) is stretch island or Trader Joe’s fruit bars–fruit leather in a 1 1/2 inch by 4 inch bar. Sticky, sweet, messy–what more could you want? I ate several of these while I was in labor! They just tasted great when nothing else sounded good.
I love cherry pie flavor!
My dad has just been diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. We are currently in the process of changing his diet, my husband and I already feed our family whole foods.
I’ve found the stress of trying to help my mom, feed him nourishing foods, and care for my own family slightly overwhelming.
If anyone has any recipes or any other ideas of quick nourishing foods I would be very appreciative.
We have him on an alomost completely vegetarian diet with lots of raw foods, no sugar, caffeine, etc.
Have you heard about treating cancer with intravenous vitamin C for treating cancer. It is supposed to be almost like a miracle. I hope you can research it.
Blessings on your family. I know from experience how stressful that period of time is. You can check my recipe index for some recipes that may fit into your father’s dietary needs. However it may be most helpful to find a website that makes recipes that are solely for the type of diet he is on. It would simplify things for you. 🙂
I also wanted to mention the book, Knockout: Interviews with Doctors Who Are Curing Cancer–And How to Prevent Getting It in the First Place. It’s a very interesting, and I think helpful book. 🙂
I am terribly sorry for what you are going through, I have not been in your situation, but a while back I watched a movie called “The beautiful truth” which was in reference to the Gerson cancer cure, I am unsure if this will be of any use to you.
Wishing you and your family all the best
Please read about the Gerson Method. While not embraced by the AMA, it has a rich history of reversing and curing cancers that “regular” doctors deemed hopeless. It is a serious nutritional approach to restoring the body’s ability to heal itself.
We also eat Larabars in our house when we need something quick that’s not full of icky ingredients. I really wish these products had sprouted nuts in them. I posted this comment on their Facebook page about a year ago. I don’t know if that would increase the expense of the product or not, but I think it would be a good change, if any were to be made – besides the less sugar you mentioned in some of their choices. Some of their flavors such as the cookie dough and brownie actually do have sugar in them, and I try to avoid those types and stick with the fruit/dates as much as possible.
It would be wonderful to have sprouted nuts…….or roasted (since that also reduces phytic acid).
I’m pretty sure they do now use roasted or cooked nuts, as larabars used to say they were raw vegan and now don’t say that on the package. I too wish they had more nuts or coconut oil in them then the dried fruit, but they are yummy.
I love love love these for all the reasons you said. I recommended them to my friends and family just last week.
Plus if you look they do go on sale for $1 a piece…that’s a deal around here in NC.
Perfect for pocket to go snacks. 🙂
I know they probably aren’t the healthiest, but they are my go-to for my kids if I need to grab something easy for them…I love the Cliff Z bars!
I buy a coconut cream pie or a cherry pie Larabar at the store sometimes when I want something candy-like. The coconut one is particularly good since all the fat helps keep my blood sugar from spiking and it tastes so rich.
I love making these, so much cheaper! Just made some last night. I snuck in a couple (or more) chopped dark chocolate chips for a treat!
do you have a recipe? Please share, Thanks!
Loved the apple pie version!
I would buy them more, except that I can male them from scratch in about 30 minutes for about $0.50 each!
Definitely a go-to in a pinch, though. I’d much rather this than many other protein bars, at least there’s no soy, processed sugar, or even grains.
I would LOVE the recipe!!! Can you email it to me, please….
I would love it as well…would you please send it to me? firstname.lastname@example.org
I have recently tried the larabar and will buy them if they are on sale and a need just in case snack. I would really love if anyone would be willing to share a recipe for a Larabar type snack. I would love to make them for my girls. My biggest wish for them is to use at least some organic ingredients and I love the idea about adding sprouted nuts. 🙂
We use the organic Larabar- Jocolats- there are a few of them- hazelnut, mint,
and I think a cherry- I think they all have organic chocolate in them, and I don’t think the nuts are sprouted, but they do use dates as sweetener, no refined sugars etc.
They aren’t as easy to find as the Larabars, but some stores do carry them.
I don’t trust the word “natural”… I think a lot of companies hide behind that terminology.
I think Larabars started out to be a great product, but if I remember correctly, they were bought out by big cereal or other…. not sure how safe the ingredients are any longer.
Yes, it may come from “natural” fruit, but is that fruit genetically modified?
Unfortunately that is a big issue so we make sure that we don’t eat anything or feed anything to our children that isn’t real…no gm products for us.
Raw Revolution makes snack bars too- coconut chocolate, coconut cashew etc-
organic and raw- and for the money a “safer” snack.
I forgot about the Jocolats! Yummy. Buying organic is definitely a better route to go to avoid GMO’s (though even organic foods can have traces, unfortunately). Fortunately, I don’t think most fruits and nuts are being widely genetically modified yet. I haven’t tried the Raw Revolution bars yet, are they similar?
Raw Revolution has agave in them, and I find them very, uh, artificially sweet because of that. Is the agave that they used processed?? Some of them are processed as much as HFCS so you have to really watch and see which “raw” bars are actually “safe”.
True! I happened to look out them today at the store and was disappointed to see that some used agave.
Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama
My kids know on grocery shopping days (every 2 weeks), they are likely to each get a Larabar. It’s my go-to snack if we’re out! They love the cherry ones, and the Jocalat ones (which are organic). I’m finding them a bit too sweet for me these days, most of the time, so I usually pick up a salad and some kombucha (HUGE weakness of mine to do both!!). But they are really great. My daughter calls them “nola bars” (meaning “granola bars”) and happily accepts them as snack or treat.
I have found the same thing for me now. I have wondered if I could make a less sweet version and have it still stay together…….I may have to experiment! I love kombucha too. 🙂
We love Larabars but I do have some of the same concerns as others have already mentioned. When the peanut-salmonella outbreak occurred a couple of years ago, Larabars with peanuts were not available for a while. I realized at that time that while I had been assuming they were using the best of ingredients, it was just that – an assumption. On the other hand, Larabars are an excellent “go-to” bar that has only whole foods in it, nothing processed. I am SO THANKFUL that Larabars do not have any soy.
Amy, I remember that with the salmonella outbreak. A scary time. A lot of brands I’ve bought in the past were recalled. Ditto on the soy. 🙂
I feel the same way about Larabars! My favorite is the peanut butter. I sometimes take them when I go hiking but really don’t want all the sugars. What I really want is protein! I think its strange that “protein bars” are so heavy in sugars.
My favorite premade healthy product is Vega protein powder in the berry flavor. Its a quick, easy and healthy breakfast for me and it keeps me full until lunchtime, even on the mornings when I’m working out. This is a good sign that its a complete meal!
Nicole- I LOVE the Vega protein powder! I have one scoop of the chocolate flavor with water everyday for a mid-morning snack. The ingredients list is impressive and clean. I just wish it was a little cheaper!
Do you order it from Amazon? That’s the “cheapest” 🙂 way to go with Vega! I agree that the ingredients are really impressive. I think it’s the best protein powder you can find. My body can’t handle the soy or the whey products and most vegan powders just don’t have the array of nutrients that Vega has. yay Vega!
Nicole @ Holistic Health Counseling
Oh and think of it this way; you can save money on multivitamins, mineral supplements, and omega 3’s because its all in the Vega.
I just went grocery shopping this after noon and got the Chocolate Chip Brownies!! I love them so much!!
I try and make a constant effort(when I can afford it) to really buy healthy snack for me and my family. It can be hard at times with the kids and their wants of all the junk foods, so I try and find similar items that are healthy for them and don’t contain the “JUNK”!!!
Life happens and I am nowhere near perfect. Items such as these Larabars are, imo, an almost perfect “bridge” at least for me. They’re perfect for when I’m underprepared, very hungry, and nowhere near a place to get something healthy. I work fulltime outside the home and spend most of my weekends preparing NT food for the week. Until I get my system down pat, these keep me from getting discouraged about my slow progress.
What we love about the Larabars is their portability. Over the past several months we’ve had a family emergency that has necessitated frequent air travel. We always bring our own food since airport food doesn’t really offer any options we would choose, plus it is outrageously expensive! Since we have to carry our food around, we need food that can stand up to the rigors of backpacks (especially food that falls to the bottom of said backpacks). Enter Larabars. They don’t melt or squish or leave a pile of crumbs in our backpacks. We usually bring some raw cheese, carrot sticks and sliced apples which keeps us satiated until we get to our destination. I do agree that they are on the sweet end, but when we combine them with the raw cheese they compliment each other very nicely.
I also just made some larabars….Here is how I did mine. Maybe others who have made it can chime in.
I duplicated the Cherry bar by putting 7-8 pitted dates and 3/4 cup dried tart cherries in a food processor, chopped till nice fine (added about 1-2 tbsp water to help them chop up enough), emptied them out into a bowl. Then in the empty food processor chopped up 1 cup of soaked and dehydrated raw almonds (you could also soak till sprouted, then dry on low, then chop, but I only soaked overnight, then dehydrated on low (110 degrees)). Once these were chopped up nice and small I mixed them up with the fruit in a bowl. At this point you can do one of two things. Either you can press firmly(using wax paper and a hard surface to press down with) in a flat dish (like 8×8) then put in fridge or you can shape onto dehydrator trays and dry for 12 hours on low. Either will stay together…mine taste the same as the larabar I paid 1.69 for and the whole batch cost me around 5-6 dollars and I got about 10-12 bars out of it.
I started getting lara bars for my faimly this past year. I love the fact that they are NON GMO and contain very few ingredients and my boys will eat them. Trying to get us off all of the suger has not been easy and i am greatful to have choices like lara bars with all of the other junk that is out there lara bars have my vote for a better snack.
The cinnamon makes it “apple pie”
16oz pitted dates
1 cup (raw unsalted) cashews
1 tsp or to taste cinnamon
Pulse cashews in food processor until the size of ice cream topping with cinnamon; put on a plate. Process dates until a pasty dough; mash into cashews.
To store I like to use a 1″ cookie scoop and put them on wax paper in the refrigerator. You can shape them into bars or logs. If you want to grab a few and put them in your purse, they can be out of the fridge, they just get a little mire sticky 🙂 I cant wait to try more flavor variations! The peanut butter cookie version subs in peanuts instead of cashews and no cinnamon… Lots of options!
i am laughing because i am reading this post after returning from a huge grocery shopping trip … and guessed what i snacked on *while* shopping?! a larabar. =) i am pregnant – due in 3 weeks! – and needed something, asap. i had the cashew bar – yummy.
We liked the Raw Revolution bars better than the Larabars and they were better nutritionally (organic and they had greens in them!) but I overdid them with my family some years back–cases were deeply discounted at our cooperative warehouse and we lived on them during a road trip. No one could stand the sight of them after that 🙂
Re: convenience foods…I live with chronic pain due to a genetic joint issue so I’ve found I need some short cuts because the standing in the kitchen, cleaning, chopping, and preparing all of these wonderful foods just does me in physically. Emerald Valley makes great organic hummus and salsa–they put them on sale often at Azure Standard (where we get most all our bulks and other food items…sorry about all of you East of the Mississippi who can’t get their free truck delivery!). I get cases when they’re on sale and freeze them so we have it until the next sale.
We also get Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted products when on sale (cold cereal, breads, english muffins, tortillas, pasta). We usually make our own cool rise sourdough bread and tortillas but it’s nice to have backup in the freezer for times of sickness, busyness, or emergencies.
Crofter’s makes an organic “just fruit” spread with acai, pomegranate, and other antioxidant rich fruit that are reasonably priced (esp on sale by the case). Wilderness Family Naturals has nut butters made from SPROUTED nuts and seeds. This saves me a ton of time and painful effort soaking, sprouting, dehydrating, and grinding nut butters plus there’s no way I could do the variety of nuts and seeds they use (ie the Fall Harvest flavor has brazil nuts, pecans, and pumpkin seeds while the Nut Medley flavor has walnuts, cashews, almonds, and pecans). Once again, I got cases when they were deeply discounted to save money b/c these are expensive.
The time and effort I save on these are well worth it–my sanity, strength, and time with family are too important to “do it all”. I religiously ate only fresh whole foods for a full year because I was in healing mode from fighting constant sickness and fatigue from stressed adrenals but once I got better I realized I had to cut back the time dedicated to food organization and prep (basically all day!) before my 5 children rebelled against good food just b/c it completely consumed their momma’s energies!!
Sorry so long…just felt like some explanation might help 🙂
My daughter just pointed out our “Bird Seed Bars” (that’s what those who persecute us for our healthy eating call them 🙂 They are Nutiva’s Hempseed bars which contain sunflower, flax, pumpkin, and hemp seeds plus honey to hold them together. Nutiva has a subscription list that sends out great recipes for using their coconut and hemp items plus you get notification of free shipping and great sales. We got cases of these for less than the Larabars, plus they’re Organic! Just 3 flavors tho–not as much variety: just original, raisin, and chocolate.
I went through a big Lara Bar phase…was busy and SO happy to find a healthy gluten free bar in the grocery store for emergency food. I still eat them occasionally, but they have more sugar than I prefer – am trying to eat in a manner that I don’t get big blood sugar spikes. I recently discovered California Sun Cakes — really dense snack that is less sweet and it’s gluten free as well as vegan…they are very dense and keep me satisfied for hours.
Christy @ Raising Knights
We love Lara Bars but I have to hide them from the kids or they’ll eat them up quickly. If they are on sale, I usually buy several to stash in the van or my purse for “emergencies” like when I’ve been out too long and one of us is hungry and cranky. I was able to print two coupons and used them in conjunction with Kroger’s sale price of $1/each tonight. We love the coconut cream pie, key lime pie, pecan pie, cherry pie… I may have to try one of the copycat recipes.
Other snacks we enjoy are a handful of dried fruit (raisins, Craisins) with nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans) and/or dark chocolate chips. Some of us like dates too. When we are heading to the soccer field, I try to make air-popped popcorn with olive oil & sea salt or take along some apple or orange slices or bananas.
I love nuts in all forms on the go. Coconut bars work great too. So do homemade protein bars. Baby carrots in little baggie and apples are my go-to option. I recently discovered banana chips as well. They do have sugar, but are made with coconut oil and are satisfyingly crunchy. My favorite Lara flavor has to be the new BLUEBERRY MUFFIN and Cashew Cookie (very sweet). Also Tropical Fruit Tart FROZEN is great. My Jocolate favorite is the mint-chocolate bar.
Organic Food bars original for breakfasts on the go!
Oskri organic coconut bars!
I love Larabars too! They equal= great for long car trips when I need a snack and didn’t have time/ran out of homemade snacks. They’re available in many gas stations.
I enjoy Larabars, also! Thanks to the gals who shared their recipes…I’ve saved them to try in the near future, as the cost of $1.69 each adds up.
Because we live in a rural area I always have a list a mile long when I go to town which means I am gone all day and usually too busy to stop for lunch. So I take along carrot sticks and soaked almonds to munch on throughout the day. And I always have my water bottle with, too.
I LOVE Larabars and so do my kids! They make great treats for the kids when we are out and I don’t want to stop to buy processed food.
But I truly can not afford to pay such a price for them. My natural store sells them for $1.50 per bar and I have 4 kids (& a baby who will soon be a hungry kid – lol). I didn’t know that Costco carried them, so maybe I can get a better price there.
Also, my hubbs just got me a dehydrator, so I’d like to find a way to make things like this at home in order to save money.
Rebecca in Michigan
I haven’t tried a Larabars, but I will have to look for these next time I go shopping. I just purchased an exotic coconut almond bora bora foods bar (http://www.boraborafoods.com/our-bars.aspx) and really enjoyed it. This one had honey in it and all organic items, and it is also gluten free.
I prefer pure bars. They are organic & much better than lara bars!
Don’t they have rice protein powder in them? Perhaps an okay ingredients, but certainly not a “whole food”. 🙂
I think they are pretty good choice if you’re on the go. I personally have to be careful with them. As I’ve battled yeast and all that for a while now and can’t take the high sugar. The only one that doesn’t seem to ramp up my system is the peanut butter one. Most of the other ones get my heart racing a little. But I’d rather my wife and daughter eat these than a lot of other things, if we just didn’t have time to prepare a better meal on the go. Thankfully, it’s not all that often. My wife takes them to church. I eat them very sparingly. If I don’t have nothing and I’m just really hungry and know it’s going to be a while before I’m going to be somewhere. Plus, they’re priced very competitively. Very. I also have used bars by North American Pharmaceuticals, which seem pretty good also. More expensive, but also bigger.
Michelle @ Find Your Balance
Love Lara bars for all the reasons you do. But Pure bars are very similar and they are organic! More expensive though.
Thank you for your post. I, too, love the Lara bars, however, as others have mentioned, they are way too sweet and expensive. A quick google search revealed the following blog for making your own plus other flavors. http://enlightenedcooking.blogspot.com/2008/02/home-made-lara-bars-energy-bars-part-3.html.