Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snack Bar reviews

I realized that I’ve only posted one review on here, so I thought I’d better add a few more! I’m new in the corporate world, having just recently graduated from university, and adapting to an 830-430 lifestyle has been a challenge.

I find that I need to have a few snacks to keep me going throughout the day, usually one at 1030, and one around 230. Now that it’s Christmas, I’ve been having a mandarin orange as one snack, and usually, a handful of almonds or apple slices with peanut butter for the other.

But, sometimes I’m in a meeting (or I’m lazy and forget to bring something), so I have a drawer in my desk filled with pre-packaged snack bars. In my pre-gf days, I used to love having granola bars around (in my purse, backpack, car, you name it). I loved the portability and the ease of these snacks (plus, you could roll out of bed, grab one, and be off to class really quickly!).

Now that I’m not eating gluten, I’m not finding the snack bar quite as delicious, but I am finding it more of a necessity. I still keep them in my car, purse, gym bag, etc. but now I rely on them more as foods I can eat when everyone else is eating fast food, or having wings after work, or whatever. I also find that my new snack bars don’t work as well for breakfast (maybe just the kinds I’ve been buying). But, it takes me a lot longer to get ready in the mornings, so it’s not a big deal to eat some fruit and yogurt, or have a piece of gf toast while my hair is drying (I know, I was surprised, too, when I wasn’t allowed to show up to work with my hair in a pony tail and my sweats on, as I did all throughout my university days. At work, you have to look presentable and professional, which can take a little work in the morning!).

I’ve found that, as usual, the gf version of something is way more expensive than the “regular” version. That makes it a little difficult to try a bunch of bars, because I hate spending $6 on 5 bars that taste like a crumbly version of fig newtons. But, I’ve tried a few, and I’ve found some that I actually like!

First up, the lara bar. A larabar has very few ingredients, the first one being dates. I hated dates growing up. Hated them. I didn’t like the taste, the texture, the consistency, or even the colour. But I loved raisons. However, at some point, I began to like dates. Not love, but I can appreciate them. So if you don’t like dates, you probably won’t like this bar.
The next ingredient depends on which bar you’ve got. I’ve tried the apple pie/cherry pie/ pecan pie flavours (because they come in a variety pack at costco, 18.99 regular for 12 I believe, but I got them on special for 14.99), I’ve also tried the banana bread, cinnamon roll, and cashew cookie.

The pros – these bars are all-natural, no added sugar, gluten, dairy, soy free, vegan, and kosher. You feel like they are a healthy choice. And at around 200 calories for a bar, they do taste like a substantial snack (maybe more so for me because I feel like I’m had enough after a few bites, because I don’t want anymore dates). They’re also easily portable, and aren’t really trying to be a “regular” bar substitute. These are a solid fruit and nut bar. They pack a decent amount of iron, usually 8-10% of your daily value (important if like me, your iron levels are always on the low side), plus other good nutritional stats depending on your flavour. It doesn’t melt when it sits in your car for days, and it doesn’t matter if it freezes and then thaws (say when you leave it in your car in the winter). Although those might not be selling points for everyone, it certainly was to me!

The cons – you feel like you could easily replicate the taste yourself by mixing up a bag of dates and crushed almonds (or walnuts, or whatever else you’ve got in your version of the bar). They’re expensive, you can usually find them for about $2 a bar (or less if they’re on sale at costco ), but that’s more then I want to spend on my morning snack (it’s ok if I’m going to have it to replace a meal – or to sustain me when I’m starving). It doesn’t really compare to the granola bars I used to eat (I know, it’s a very different bar concept, but still.).

Overall, a good bar that I will continue to buy when it’s onsale. And probably for when I’m travelling. It’s not trying to be something it isn’t – like a gluten bar. My favorite so far is the pecan pie flavour. I didn’t love the cinnamon roll one (and I thought I would) but maybe that’s because I tried it first, before the bars had a chance to grow on me. I also haven’t tried the chocolate that larabar has (called jocolat, I think) but I’d really like too!

I’ve also tried nature’s path’s envirokidz organic crispy rice bar in peanut butter. I adore peanut butter, but sadly, I didn’t really love these bars.

The pros: It’s a decent sized bar, made with rice, so I was anticipating a peanut-butter rice-crispie treat (which could have been the problem, I was expecting too much from the bar!). The rice is light, the peanut butter flavour is light, and it tastes like a nice, light snack (only 28 grams, compared to the denser 48 grams of a larabar). There are no additives to the bar, and they donate 1 % of the sales to wildlife. Also, there’s a cute picture of a panda on the package! These bars are low in fat, and produced right here in Canada!

The Cons: There really isn’t much to these bars. They’re very light, and won’t keep you full for long. They also don’t pack much in terms of nutrients. Obviously, if you’re allergic to nuts, or can’t have soy or dairy(may contain traces), you’re out of luck with these.

Overall, these are an ok bar. They’re a little closer to what I used to have, and they are a light snack. Granted, I may not be the target market (envirokidz), but I would buy these bars again. They weren’t great, but they weren’t bad.

I'll post more reviews later, because I have tried more bars than this. If anyone has tried anything good, let me know!


Lauren said...

Yeah, I'm not a date person, so Lara bars have always been weird to me. The envirokid ones aren't bad though. Some bars that I really like are Think Protein bars, which you can get at Costco, and they have 2 chocolate flavours and one peanut. Another bar brand that I really like are Kind bars. They're a bit harder to find, but are amazing.

Simply...Gluten-free said...

Snack are vital for me - if I get too hungry then watch out! Happy Holidays!