Tested: LARABAR Energy Bar

When I first saw a LARABAR, I thought it was a new offshoot of the CLIF BAR, kind of like another Luna bar. The packaging was similar and even included a story on the back of the wrapper. I bought a few to try without knowing anything about them. At first I was shocked, but that shock quickly turned into a pleasant surprise.

a pile of larabar wrappers

See, as I examined the package, I found a weird ingredients list – there were only three of them! They were dates, pecans, and almonds. I wondered where all the other “necessary” ingredients were to actually make an energy bar. The stuff about being “raw” also puzzled me. Then I was shocked when I looked at the thing!

It turns out that the bar was made mainly from a date paste with chunks of pecans and almonds thrown in, then formed into a nice rectangle. (I was expecting something like an oat bar with small pieces of dates in it.)

So once I understood, I was hooked! It turned out to be really, really good. Too bad I didn’t come up with the idea myself, though ;).

Here’s what was on the wrapper: No added sugar – Unprocessed – Raw – Non-GMO – Gluten Free – Dairy Free – Soy Free – Vegan – Kosher. Quite a nice list!

I’ve had a bunch of LARABARs since that first one, including Banana Cookie, Cherry Pie, Cinnamon Roll, and Chocolate. Banana Cookie is my favorite because it tastes just like fresh-cooked banana bread. Second place goes to Ginger Snap since it indeed tastes like a ginger snap. Pecan Pie and Cherry Pie were good along with Cinnamon Roll. One that was both good and interesting was Peanut Butter & Jelly!

I wasn’t too fond of Cashew Cookie, though. I like cashews but that bar just didn’t seem to have that much flavor. Same with the Cappuccino flavor. It was a weird flavor that wasn’t really a coffee flavor nor was it as enjoyable as a real cappuccino drink!

The chocolate Jocolat bar interesting; it was certainly a raw, bland chocolate, which was pretty good, although I preferred the other bars.

banana larabar

So the bars taste good, but do they make good energy bars?

They are great for snacking since they’re all-natural and deliver some fruit and healthy fats, but I have yet to try one during a bike ride. However, I assume they will work just fine. Dates are full of carbs for energy, and that’s all that really matters, right? Sure all the good fats and protein come in handy, but we need energy to ride. Looking at a Cherry Pie wrapper, I see 190 calories, 28 grams of carbs, 4 grams of protein, and a total 8 grams of fat. That sounds good to me. Granted a Powerbar usually has 230 calories and 45 grams of carbs, that’s not always necessary.

If you’re just looking for lots of carbs and nothing else, the Powerbar might be the way to go. But I recommend checking out the LARABAR if you want a healthier option for on-the-go snacking. It is “energy in its purest form” according to LARABAR.

My final verdict is…

Try a couple LARABARS – I suggest a Banana Cookie and a Cinnamon Roll. Based on the ingredients (or lack thereof), I can actually suggest this bar easily since it’s real food and not full of processed crap! You might even like these if you hate all the other energy bars.

Since they’re only a buck or two each, it’s not a huge loss if you don’t like them. And if you do like them, it’s a great way to get a serving of fruit during your ride.

Official website: www.LaraBar.com

Product Review Details
Company: Lara Bar.
Product: Lara Bar Energy Bar
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.2 out of 5
Date last updated: 2013-08-04
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

Click here if you would like to get your product reviewed on CoachLevi.com.
Want CoachLevi.com updates?

email envelope Click here to get CoachLevi.com updates via email so that you don't miss any of these great cycling and fitness tips!

Like this article?
pn fat loss video

17 Comments so far

  1. Shirley Harney on September 12th, 2008

    I am writing to ask if Larabars are non-gluten? Our Glens Falls Regional Celiac Support group is interested in samples to pass out at meetings. The next meeting is October 7th. Thank you for your consideration.

    Shirley Harney

  2. Levi on October 5th, 2008

    @Shirley

    You might want to contact someone from Larabar at http://www.larabar.com

  3. Claudette Hall on November 10th, 2008

    I need to know if there is an outlet in Toronto, Canada.

  4. Crystal on January 2nd, 2009

    Maannn, Larabar has horrendous customer service. They may have decent fruit/nut bars but when they call them “Jocalat”? That is just cheap. Had I known, I would not have shelled out 3 bucks for a brick of compressed dates.

    I commented on their blog with this message a 2 days ago, it has mysteriously vanished:

    So I sent this comment thru Larabar’s site last SUMMER, I never got a reply….

    Hi Larabar,

    Wow! With the influence of the West Coast and just choosing a healthier lifestyle I am familiar with your brand but did not have any of your bars until recently, and I regret to say that I was so disappointed with your product! I really expected Larabar, being pricey and with all its healthy, natural, fair trade propaganda, to actually taste good and deliver to its reputation. Well, I guess I am like all the other suckers. I bought your “Chocolate Jocalat”, took a bite and became seriously confused. I had a few more bites of this “chocolate” bar but could not taste any chocolate! Looking at the wrapper I realized that the first ingredient of the “Chocolate Jocalat” bar was DATES?! What a scam. I am sure I am not the first to be duped by this awful mislabelling. How can you call this a chocolate bar when all you taste is dates and some sort of crunchy fruit leather texture? I admit I should have looked more carefully before purchasing but still this is questionable advertising! Could you please get back to me and explain this hugely misleading claim you make about your product?! Honestly, I don’t mind date/nut bars that much- in fact I love them- however when I make a purchase of a product labelled “Chocolate Jocalat” I have chocolatey expectations.

    Disappointed,
    Crystal

    As you can see, it was already the second time I tried to reach them about customer satisfaction…
    and yet on their website it states, “Everyone at Larabar fully respects and supports blogging as means for people to express themselves”. Selective expression, perhaps?

    Why is it so difficult for them to address my very simple concerns about their product?

  5. Levi on January 3rd, 2009

    @Crystal

    As I mentioned in my review, the chocolate Jocolat bar does taste like chocolate, but it tastes like pure chocolate. (The unsweetened stuff, kind of like “baker’s chocolate.”)

    If you want something that tastes like milk chocolate then I suggest a Hershey’s bar.

  6. Kim on January 27th, 2009

    I just want to put in a plug for Larabar: I’ve tried lots of those products, and these are by far my favorite. They don’t taste artificial like most of the others, maybe because they aren’t artificial! My favorite flavor, however, is the cashew cookie — I think it’s very tasty and not too sweet, which is another problem with these bar-type foods.

  7. Missy on March 11th, 2009

    GROSS REALLY REALLY REALLY GROSS. TO THE POINT OF DISGUSTING.

  8. Kara on April 28th, 2009

    I am obsessed with the Pecan Pie Larabar! I love that the ingredients are raw, natural, vegan and gluten-free! It’s so hard to find a quick, health snack before the gym and Larabars are the answer to my prayers. Great review! To everyone who thought they were getting candy or some sort, I suggest reading the labels of what you’re putting into your body…

  9. Marie on June 9th, 2009

    As I am allergic to soy protein, I have been searching for great-tasting, all-natural energy bars that don’t contain soy products for years. I’ve finally found them or should I say my daughter found them. She brought home sample Larabars from the annual bike race. I tried the lemom, cherry pie, and peanut bars. Excellent tasting plus they do not contain soy. Thank Larabar for creating an all-natural, great-tasting energy bar.

  10. Alex on October 14th, 2009

    Hi Coach,

    Thank you for your posting about Larabar. These are the ones I like the most out of all. I have tried about 6-8 different kinds of bars and Larabar so far are the best. With just a few ingredients (very healthy) and minimum processing, they taste great and can be delicious. I would recommend to anyone interested who wants to stay in shape and become health conciuos.

  11. Meg on February 15th, 2010

    I have to say these bars suck. Yes simplicity is healthy, but these are so simple they can easily be made at home… Not that I would want to. I am sick of every single natural “energy” bar being nothing but dates with a smattering of bonus ingredients. I hate dates, and no matter how much organic free trade cocoa powder or raw pecans you add to the mix, it still just tastes like a date. There has to be another way to make a natural bar without that crap. I pay 75 cents more a bar and make my own at youbars. They too have dates on the menu, but unlike lara bars, they are completely optional. I really just don’t think eating that many dates is good for one person. I’m just sayin.

  12. Yun Chi on February 17th, 2010

    Having tried countless energy/protein bars and drinks over the years, I was certain that my latest bag of assorted bars would all taste like minor variations on the typically palate-abusing mineral/vitamin-esque-tasting bars out there. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the Larabars I’d picked up. The selection at the local store that carries the Larabars isn’t great, but the flavors I have tried thus far have all been a much appreciated and refreshing change. I’m now practically addicted to the Lemon, Cherry Pie and Apple Pie bars but also enjoy the Pecan Pie bar and give Key Lime Pie an honorable mention. Although the KLP has a good coconut-“regular”-lime flavor going for it, that very unique Key Lime flavor is missing.

  13. Stan on March 26th, 2010

    I finally tried these. They are ok. I do like dates and nuts and fruit, so what’s not to like? However the marketing names of these are silly at best. I don’t think they taste like “banana bread,” “apple pie,” etc…like I was expecting. I think I am going to lay off them because they can be addictive temptations in my healthy eating regimen!

  14. fernando esquayla II on August 4th, 2010

    Being a cyclist with Celiacs disease I can assure you Larabars are gluten free.

  15. Rambo on November 15th, 2010

    @Meg:
    way to go with whining.

  16. Elise on March 14th, 2011

    The main attraction to these bars of course is that they are all 100% natural bars with raw ingredients and fair trade fruits and nuts. All of the products have only 3-9 ingredients in them. When I was running often, I liked to buy LÄRABAR, because it’s unpleasant to run on a full stomach and these bars give you a lot of energy for their size. Dates are full of carbohydrates, nuts are always a main ingredient in the LÄRABAR, and they are high in protein, fiber, B-vitamins, calcium, minerals, and vitamin E. the main nuts that LÄRABAR uses are almonds, cashews and Peanuts, though they use others as well. For almonds alone, in just one medium sizes handful, there is an enormous amount of nutrition.166 calories, 5 grams of protein, 14 grams of fat, 4 grams of unbleached fiber (the highest fiber content of any nut or seed), 80 milligrams of calcium, 1.4 milligrams of zinc, 1 milligram of iron 6.7 milligrams of vitamin E, some B-vitamins, minerals, and selenium for energy. Looking at a Cherry Pie wrapper, I see 190 calories, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein, and a total 8 grams of fat. Simplicity is almost always more healthy, and these bars are so simple they can easily be made at home. This bar is now an international product, it demonstrates a great progression in the way food is processed and consumed. One can’t help but have high hopes that the consumers of this nation will continue to buy products like LÄRABAR and manufactures will recognize that we want our bodies to be healthy and happy.

  1. Step Away from the Shopping Cart | tea and chocolate

Leave a reply