Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bars Bars Bars

I love Power/on-the-go/Food Bars. I'm experimenting making my own (much cheaper, no disposable wrapprs and I can control what goes into them) but I haven't perfected my technique yet. (You'll be the first to know when I do!!) While they can get a little pricey- (I am currently refusing to spend more than 1.50 per bar. Which means Pro Bars are out of my range). My staples are LaraBars and I have yet to find anything that beats them. I do like Cliff Bars and Odwalla Bars, as portable lunches (usually with fruit). They are sweetened, but only with unrefined sugars. But I've been trying to branch out as of late and here are the results of my experimentation.

1. Pure Bars. Several vegan bloggers have been raving about these. They said they are better than LaraBars so I had to check them out! But they are much harder to find! While you can pick up Larabars in most convenience stores, my haunts-Whole Foods, and Harvest Co-op didn't stock them. I found them at Trader Joes for 1.50 each, and they only had two flavors- Cherry Cashew and Chocolate Brownie.
Since Lara Bars are my golden standard, here's a side by side comparison:
Lara Bars vs Pure Bar
$1.30 vs $1.50
180-210 calories vs ~200 calories
4 g protein vs 6g protein
3-6 ingredients (nuts +Fruit) vs. Nuts+Fruit+Agave Nectar+BrownRice Protein
No GMOs vs. Certified Organic
1 serving fruit vs. 1.5 servings of fruit
Gluten, dairy, and Soy Free
1.7 oz
No refined sugars
The chocolate brownie wasn't as excited as I had hoped-raw chocolate in these bars doesn't do anything for me. The cherry cashew was better than the ThinkOrganic bar, but I still like the tartness of Larabar's CherryPie the best. Whole Foods at Symphony had a wider selection, and to round out my tasting I tried the choc trail mix. You couldn't even taste the raw cocoa nibs in with all the agave and rice protein.
PET PEEVE- The bars have a little asterisk on the nutrition facts panel that says *Natural Fruit Sugars which is a LIE. The second ingredient is Agave Nectar, which while unrefined, is not a fruit sugar. I hate it when companies mislead consumers like that.

2. Heart Thrives Picked up a package of these adorable heart-shaped treats in Portland. They taste like a ginger spice cookie!! Too bad I'll never find them on the East Coast! The Date Heart Bar is made of: OATS, DATES, BROWN RICE SYRUP, BROWN RICE FLOUR, SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SOY FLOUR, INULIN (CHICORY ROOT EXTRACT), RICE BRAN, NATURAL FRUIT JUICE, DRIED PLUMS, CALCIUM CITRATE, GINGER, CINNAMON.
The cinnamon and ginger make this delicious-I'm going to have to try that combination in my own bars.

3. Cherry Yotta bar. I had never seen this bar before and it claimed to have one serving of fruit and veg. no refined sugar or GMOs so I tried it out. Each has 120 calories and is really targeted to children, ie their busy parents. The ingredients are baby oats brown rice syrup honey pear juice dehydrated veeg (tomato, asparagus sweet potato carrot red bell pepper beets corn. dried apples, evap can juice natural flavors canola oil. The taste wasn't bad-the texture a littl odd but bareable. I was a little disapointed though, because they contained only 1 g of fiber which suprised me, with all the veg and fruit they are supposed to contain. It just goes to show that the best way to get your fiber and all the vitamins fruits and vegetables contain is to eat them whole, the natural way. I also didn't like that the cherry flavor had NO ACTUAL cherries-they just added some "cherry natural flavor" which could be anything. This may be a good way to "sneak" vegetables into a diet, but its definitely not for me!

4. ThinkFruit Cashew Acai Protect
Whole Foods keeps giving out coupons for these bars, so I keep trying them!
I've moved on past the ThinkOrganic Bars and am branching out into thinkFruit. The Cashew Acai Protect boasts the "Superfood" Acai berries, no added sugars, and flaxseed for omega 3 fatty acids. The only other ingredients are cashews, dates, chicory root fiber, and pectin. I liked the taste- the acai almost added a blueberry like tinge.

Oh how I love trying new things!! Lots of projects and tests coming up, so my posting may be sporadic, can't wait for "summer" to come! Happy Hump Day!


Gina said...

I love Pure bars, way more than Larabars :) The Cherry Cashew was my favorite until I tried the Orange Cranberry last week. The Chocolate Brownie does nothing for me either, meh. Also, I don't really think it is THAT misleading to say clump agave in with natural fruit sugars, since it does come from a cactus. That's just my opinion though! I don't really eat bars all too often though. I usually buy them when I see something new, and then forget about them, haha.

That little heart bar is so CUTE!

Annabelle Ho said...

i agree- the heart-shaped bar is too cute! what a great idea! it's too bad they don't have them over here!

Fitnessista said...

thank you for the reviews! i wasn't a huge fan of the pure bars...
the heart-shaped bar is adorable! i'll be on the lookout for those
have a great day!

healthy ashley said...

I just found your blog via Twitter and love it! I've only had the Yotta Bars from this list so it looks like I have some catching up to do :)