Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Vegan energy bar roundup

I generally try to eat fruit or nuts instead of energy bars. I figure I get more fiber that way and avoid any refined sugar. However, I'll often reach for an energy bar when the alternative would be a cookie or chips. Here are some that I've tried:
Luna tea cakes: These are new on the market. I had the Vanilla Macadamia one today. "Tea cakes" is a great name, isn't it? I picture a scone-like treat, soft and fragrant with tea and spices. The Luna tea cakes fall a little short of this vision. They're very similar to Odwalla bars, but with a little squiggle of frosting on top. And sadly I could discern neither vanilla nor macadamia.
Lunabars: most people are familiar with these. The best flavor by far is Chai Tea. These were my steady companion during grad school. The nutrition profile is not as good as most of the other bars on this list, though. They contain saturated fat.
Lara bars: Originally marketed to raw foodists, Lara bars have toned that image down to go mainstream. These are the bars I buy most often. They're sweet and flavorful, but have some staying power. Best flavors: Chocolate Coconut, Gingersnap, and Cherry Pie.
Jocalat: Made by Lara bar, these are marketed as brownie-like energy bars. The cute package and good copywriting convinced me to try them. Jocalat, I won't be back. Your chocolate orange flavor seems to have rye seeds in it (or something that tastes very similar).
Clif Nectar: My second-favorite energy bar, with potential to unseat the Lara bar. The ingredients are almost identical to Lara bars, but Clif has a lemon/vanilla/cashew flavor that's really tasty.
Organic food bars: The packaging was a little out there for me (it looks like something that would be advertised in a weightlifting magazine), but Hot Slice (known here as HS) convinced me to try them. They contain masculine, slightly frightening things like "phyto-nutrients" and "alkalizing protein." They taste very much like one of the major ingredients, almond butter, which is not a bad taste. I only had a nibble before HS, browsing the label, said "uh-oh" because he'd discovered my archenemy agave nectar was among the ingredients. I'm highly allergic to agave, of all things. When I eat it, it makes me want to curl up and die for about 15 minutes. It's all in the portion, though: a gram in an energy bar is OK. But tequila (distilled from agave): never again.


Katyola said...

You're like Consumer Reports! Actually, I am a big fan of the Clif nectar bars, and today I had a cherry pomegranate bar (a flavor I hadn't tried before). It was very good.

Allison said...

Hello from the LARABAR team in Colorado! We have read your blog and really appreciate your honesty and feedback about our products. We are disappointed that you had an unfortunate experience with our Jocalat Chocolate Orange bar as we strive to create products that are not only healthy but delicious too.
If you would like to give our JOCALAT bars another try we would love to send you some free product. All you have to do is write back to us and let us know. We hope to hear from you! Please reply to info@larabar.com

the LARABAR team

The Grammar Hammer said...

Ironically, it was this negative review of a LARABAR that led me to try a LARABAR for the first time. Just had the apple pie variety, and it was pretty good! I've been looking for vegan energy bars to try and didn't realize that all LARABARs were vegan, so I'm going to stock up. Thanks!