Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I've been trying to figure out something different for breakfast for a while now, because it turns out I am far too lazy to make breakfast at home (even cereal), so I've gotten into this rut of going to McDonald's every morning, which is both expensive (I spend either $2.15 or $4.65 depending on what I get) and unhealthy. Also, it takes time, though not very much at all.

So, I have discovered Lärabars. These are sold in the general power/snackbar section of the grocery store, but unlike a PowerBar or Luna bar, each variety is made of very few ingredients. All of them start with dates and are a soft, chewy bar with nuts and possibly other fruits inside. For instance, yesterday I had the "Cherry Pie" flavor, which is made of dates, almonds, and unsweetened cherries, with no other ingredients. Today I am having "Ginger Snap" which has dates, almonds, pecans, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.

Unlike the other brands of bars I've had, Lärabars don't seem to have any kind of funky or weird taste - they really just taste like fruits and nuts. And I really like the soft, non-crumbly texture. You also get a full serving of fruit in each bar. They cost about $1.25 each.

I originally felt some qualms about the nutrition. The bar I'm eating today has 220 calories (a bit low for breakfast), 5 grams of protein (decent for a bar), 14 grams of healthy fats (nice), and 17 grams of sugars. The sugars bit is kind of scary - that's the equivalent of 4 teaspoons of sugar!

But then I thought of it this way. The sugar comes from the dates and other fruits; it doesn't come from sugar, corn syrup, or ingredients that are secretly actually just sugar (e.g., "concentrated pear juice"). This is really the sugar found in a single (medjool) date, which I certainly wouldn't hesitate to eat.

Also, while there is no doubt a more ideal breakfast to be had, what I've been having is McDonald's. And there is no way that if you showed me, on one side, an Egg McMuffin, and on the other side, a small handful of dates, nuts, and other fruits, that I'd think the Egg McMuffin was the healthier choice. Right? So, yeah.

I also do find these bars surprisingly filling. If I were a more mystically health foody type, I might speculate that my body recognizes when it's getting "real foods" and responds with satiety. Instead I just consider it basically a mystery.

Also, for having so few ingredients, the Cherry Pie bar really did taste like a tart cherry pie, and the Ginger Snap bar was really good and gingery. They do an excellent job with these flavors. I still have the following flavors in my desk waiting to be eaten: Banana Bread (almonds, dates, bananas); Pecan Pie (dates, pecans, almonds); Lemon Bar (dates, cashews, almonds, lemon juice concentrate, natural lemon flavor); Cocoa Mōlé (dates, almonds, walnuts, unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, chili); Apple Pie (dates, almonds, apples, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon).

Anyway, Lärabars - I recommend 'em.


susan said...

I checked 3 different breakfast cereals in my cupboard and they have 11, 12 and 21 grams of sugar per serving. Protein is 6, 9 and 4. It sounds to me that your breakfast bar is very reasonably nutritious. Add a glass of milk and it would be similar to having cereal for breakfast.

Tam said...

Each of the varieties seems to have 3-5 grams of fiber as well, which is comparable to the amount in a cereal I would choose.

Sally said...

The apple pie one in particular sounds fantastic except for the fact that I'm not sure I'm very fond of dates.

How big are they? They sound kind of calorie-dense (for my purposes).

No doubt Leo would suggest that I try one since he would be more than happy to eat whatever I don't. Seeing this post made me think that I should try a bit of date on him (I have some dried, chopped date) and see how he responds (expectation: with immediate chomping).

Tam said...

Sally, they're pretty small - smaller than a Snickers bar, for instance.

They don't seem to taste very strongly of dates even though it's clear that dates form the base of the bar.