The story of Larabar is simple. Lara wanted a good energy bar to eat that is delicious and healthy, so she created one. She mimicked the popular cookie and dessert flavors, decided on five, tested them out on her friends and family and then introduced them to the world.
The first 500 she sold, she had to seal them all by hand. She stuck with it, however, and now she has 21 flavors of the original bar and different bars with super greens, nuts and seeds, fruits and greens, and bits added to her product line.
Her purpose in creating these energy bars was to help people enjoy wholesome foods that satisfy their needs of delicious snacks that are convenient but made with minimal ingredients that are non-GMO.
There aren’t any strange and complicated words that I have to explain to you in this ingredient profile. Larabars contain only whole foods that you will recognize. They do, however, have powerful healing properties. Each ingredient was chosen to make the bar delicious, healthy, and of good texture.
No two bars have the same ingredients, but many use some of the same. I will discuss a few ingredients that are used in many of the bars, why she chose them, and how they will benefit you.
Larabars’ main sweetener and binding ingredient is dates. Dates have been used for centuries in the Middle East for their amazing nutritional value. They come with an onslaught of health benefits.
First of all, dates are an energy booster. They contain natural sugars that the body can use for energy. They also contain many energy boosting vitamins and minerals. They are a good source of carbs, 18 grams in a single date in fact.
Dates are also proven to help with digestion. They do this because they have so much dietary fiber. Each date contains almost 7 grams of fiber. You would have to eat a whole cup of berries to get that much fiber. This fiber aids to get things moving through the intestine well and relieve constipation.
This fiber also helps to lower cholesterol levels which is good for the heart by keeping plaque out of the artery walls. Eating dates also helps to lower triglyceride levels, another boost for heart health.
Dates are also great for strengthening bones and preventing osteoporosis. Their phosphorus and calcium content is the key to this health benefit.
Overall, dates are a superfood that will help the body be in the best health that it can be in.
Almonds are one of the main ingredients in their original bar and in three other bar flavors. Almonds are a great choice in a protein bar because they are high in nutrients but relatively low in calories.
They have a high antioxidant content, among which is Vitamin C. Almonds have so much vitamin C that just an ounce of almonds delivers 37% of the daily recommended dosage. These delicious nuts are also high in fiber and protein with healthy fats. This makes for a great weight loss aid because it helps keep you full and satisfied for a longer period of time.
Almonds are also a great source of magnesium. Magnesium is proven to help reduce blood pressure in this study.
Walnuts are an ingredient used in many of the Larabar flavors. This nut is known for many health benefits, mostly for the heart and the brain. The power of walnuts lies in their omega 3 fatty acid content. In fact, walnuts are over 65% fat.
These healthy fats are responsible for supporting memory, aiding in the movement of neurotransmitters that make us happy and reducing the decline of cognitive skills. They also benefit cardiovascular health by keeping blood flowing well throughout the arteries and by reducing inflammation.
Walnuts have also been proven to help combat metabolic syndrome. Walnuts are also a good source of copper, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin E, and vitamin B6.
Cinnamon is a common ingredient in Larabars. This spice has been used for centuries for its medicinal powers. Cinnamon is high in polyphenols, antioxidants that are strong fighters against inflammation and free radicals in the body.
This helps to combat any inflammation-related diseases as well as cancer. Cinnamon also helps to reduce insulin resistance, making it great for diabetes patients because it helps lower blood sugar levels. Cinnamon also has powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Studies show that cinnamon is the most powerful combatant of the HIV virus.
Another ingredient used in these energy bars is unsweetened coconut. Although this food is full of fat and sugar, it can also help to increase the nutritional value of some foods because of the vitamins and minerals it provides.
Coconut provides a small dose of protein and fiber with each serving but its value is really in the content of iron and zinc that coconut has. One serving of coconut can fill about ¼ of the daily dose of iron and zinc for men and about 1/8th of women’s.
Nuts are popular ingredients in Larabars. Cashews are another example of this. They have fewer calories than walnuts but provide many of the same benefits like being good for the heart and help support brain function.
Cashews are 46% fat but they are the good fats that keep you satiated and help the body stay lubricated. These nuts also contain vitamins A, D, and K along with the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium. This makes cashews great at preventing osteoporosis and increasing bone health.
I’m sure that a quick look at the ingredients in Larabar will help you see that these bars are indeed very healthy to eat but will they provide what you with all the ingredients that a protein bar should?
First of all, these bars don’t boast a lot of protein and we are talking about protein bars. That’s a big ding in the nutritional value of this bar. Yes, everything is completely natural and plant based but if your goal is to get protein, you should be looking elsewhere.
Larabars contain a measly 4 grams of protein per bar. That is less than half of the standard of most bars and many protein bars have five times that much protein. That begs the question, is this really a protein bar? It’s more of an energy bar. It will definitely give you plenty of energy because of all the fat and natural sugars they contain.
Each bar has about 200 calories and 10 grams or more of fats, some being saturated fats. These fats are the healthy omega 3s but the big downfall is the sugar content. These bars contain upwards of 20 grams of sugar. They are natural sugars so they won’t give you a spike and crash but too much sugar is still too much sugar.
Many of these bars contain huge amounts of minerals and some vitamins which is a plus, especially when it comes to repairing tired muscles. They have a little bit of fiber and a little bit of carbs. Nothing to make too much of an impact on the nutritional value of the bar.
Taste and Texture
Since Larabars have no protein powder in them, they don’t have that strange chalky aftertaste to worry about. The two main ingredients of all the bars, some nuts, and dates, makes for a pleasantly chewy and crunchy bar.
Larabar started out with only five main flavors but they have branched out since with plenty to choose from. Here are some of our favorites.
This bar has a lot of the taste of an actual apple pie with the cinnamon and cloves. It also tastes like apples, of course, and it is definitely sweet.
You can definitely taste the strong banana flavor in this bar. It doesn’t taste like a moist cake bread but with dates and almonds what can you expect?
This one definitely has a veggie texture to it with all that carrot but it also has a nice cinnamon flavor with a little sweetness.
Chocolate Chip Brownie
This bar doesn’t have quite enough chocolate flavor to count as a brownie but it tastes good. There are chocolate chips in it to up the chocolate flavor but the dates are too prominent.
This bar will definitely pucker you up. The lemon flavor is intensely sour and sweet and the icing on top makes it even sweeter.
You can definitely taste the pumpkin in this flavor and the dates aren’t quite as present as with the other flavors. The texture is less chewy without the dates but it is a nice change from the rest.
Chocolate Coconut Chew
This bar has a thicker consistency but not much flavor to back it up. It also doesn’t have much chocolate flavor but the coconut is nice. It’s pretty bland otherwise.
This seasonal flavor has a nice spicy cinnamon flavor with sea salt and cashews. It doesn’t taste like a cookie but it is edible none the less.
Peanut Butter and Jelly
This one starts out tasting like your childhood memories of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but something happens along the way that just makes the flavors taste weird. The aftertaste is horrible.
Pricing and Where to Buy Larabar Energy Bars
These energy bars are extremely affordable. Most places you can buy them at just under a dollar each in a five pack. You might even find them cheaper if they are having a sale. However, the price per gram of protein isn’t worth it.
It seems pointless to try and save money with this bar when you can pay just a little more and get triple the protein. When you do the math, it just seems logical to go for a more expensive bar with more protein because, in the long run, it is results that we are paying for and I’m afraid to say that these bars won’t produce much results.Check price
Pros and Cons
These bars are pretty simple so these lists will be quite short. Some pros are very important, however, as are the cons. One con in particular just makes these bars so far down the list of potential protein bars for me that it is almost pointless to talk about (and I think you already know which one I’m talking about.)
I guess Larabars never claimed to be protein bars and they fall flat when compared to the other bars being reviewed because of their extreme lack of protein. They focus more on being a natural energy bar than anything else, in which they certainly achieve their goal.
If you are reading through these reviews, I’m assuming you want to increase your protein intake in a delicious and convenient way with minimal processed ingredients. Larabars are convenient, they are minimally processed, and somewhat tasty. However, they won’t help you increase your protein intake, at least not enough to make any real difference. Think of Larabar as energy bar if anything.
Larabars are a great choice to add to a snack to get you through a rough afternoon when you can’t seem to get going. They are a great breakfast option. They are perhaps a good swap for some of your favorite desserts, but they are not a good choice for those seeking higher amounts of protein.