Jun
08

Larabars: Easy to Get Hooked!

Hi, my name is Ellen Francis and I am a Larabar-aholic!

There, I admit it and I feel so much better. Thank goodness I don’t need a 12-step program to quit this healthy habit!  But it IS my latest weakness. I have a powerful sweet tooth and even vegans don’t always have the strength to resist a tasty, sweet snack in the afternoon or in the evening…or both, sometimes, I admit it! (Maybe I do have a problem!)  When a snack is this healthy, vegan and whole, you can forget feeling guilty.

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There are many reasons to love Larabars….They are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, non-GMO, vegan & kosher.  These qualities are essential because they allow Larabars to play in the vegan ballpark, but what makes them hit a home run?  The taste!  I’ve taste-tested many different kinds of bars and lots of them are good but there’s something about the taste of a Larabar that satisfies that craving for me.  The tantalizingly-named flavors all promise something your tastebuds will recognize as your favorite dessert.  But I digress…first, let’s talk about nutrition because we are responsible, healthy, plant-based eaters, first and foremost, right?

Each Larabar is made from a blending of up to 9 whole food ingredients: unsweetened fruits, nuts or spices from whole foods.  Some bars only have 2, 3 or 4 ingredients. So simple.  Each bar is about 200 calories, give or take a few, and there is somewhere between 3-6 grams of protein, depending on the bar. There’s fiber, vitamins and minerals in there too. Of course, there is natural sugar and fat, but it is derived from the fruit and the nuts and sometimes, chocolate and coconut if there is any. But if it didn’t have that, it wouldn’t taste much like dessert, would it?

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Basically, the ingredients are ground up, blended and shaped into a bar.  If you’ve never tried one, the consistency is similar to a cohesive batter that’s not over-blended. But it’s soft, not a tough brick like some bars. There are some DIY recipes online that try to mimic Larabars at home and maybe, someday, I’ll give that go, but for now, I’m just trying to keep my habit to one or 2 a day.  Since there are so few ingredients, it seems that if you have a food processor and the motivation, it might be simple to make.

My first time trying a Larabar was when I had picked up a variety box of 18 bars at Costco with 3 different flavors.  I didn’t know what to expect but anything labeled “vegan” calls out to me and says “try me”!  It wasn’t like other fruity, nutty bars that I’d eaten–not crunchy or chunky–so I was surprised when I tasted the Apple Pie bar. The ingredients in the Apple Pie bar are: dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins and cinnamon. That’s it. I can see why Lara Merriken, founder of Larabar, tried her hand at blending it all in a food processor at home over ten years ago and coming up with something wonderfully different.

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My favorite flavors are Cherry Pie, Apple Pie and Key Lime Pie (seeing a trend yet?) Eventually I’m going to try Blueberry Muffin, Lemon Bar, Peanut Butter & Jelly and Pecan Pie.  There are so many more, it’s almost like standing in a bakery and being bombarded with 20 desserts you need to try.  On the Larabar website, there’s a Beginner’s Box with 16 flavors that would be interesting to test out.  There are also boxes of mini-bars! The company offers other products that beg to be bought: Alt, the vegan alternative protein bar, Uber, the sweet and salty bar, and Jocalat, for the chocolate cravings.  It seems like Lara is doing everything right–donating to local events, recycling wrappers and participating in the Non-GMO Project–especially committing to healthy, whole, plant-based nutrition.

Enjoy!

xox Ellen Francis

Leaning Into Veganism

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Comments

  1. Personally speaking, the Cashew Nut Larabars are my favorite! You are right..no reason to feel guilty when you are eating a whole foods bar like the Larabar!

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