HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Any Good Snack/Energy Bars Out There? [moved from Manhattan board]

I've tried a number of these so called energy snack bars and I gotta tell you they leave much to be desired, have you got some good ones for me?

Thanks for your input

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's not really marketed as an energy bar, more as a raw food snack bar...have you tried the Lara bars? Mostly dates & walnuts, with chocolate & other flavors like mint, cherry, etc. All made from minimally processed stuff, with no additives/preservatives. They're my candy bar of choice these days.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Hungry Celeste

      yes to Lara bars --
      and the reason I started buying them is because I'm trying to avoid products with palm oil, at least non-sustainably grown palm oil. The palm oil is not so much a nutrition issue -- I've learned that largely because of rapid forest clearing in Indonesia for palm oil, orangutans are likely to be extinct in the wild within 10 years (and many other animals also more endangered too). Palm oil is highly stable so an attractive replacement for transfats. Anyway, I know that's ot, sorry (but if you'd like more info, I can provide it.)

      But, with my heightened label reading, it seems Lara Bars have generally lots less stuff added, which I appreciate. Don't know if they really provide the "energy" that energy bars are supposed to, though. But I do like the taste (and I thought I didn't like dates.)

      So, I'm wondering if you all know of other energy bars w/o palm oil?

      And, yes, Trader Joe's has good prices -- altho in my town, Whole Foods now seems to meet TJs prices on power bars, go figure, perhaps competition actually works?

      1. re: mselectra

        Energy is energy -- a calorie is a unit of energy, and thus bars with the same amount of calories have the same amount of energy. What can be different is the rate at which the calories are absorbed -- most energy bars are designed to include ingredients that are absorbed quickly (simple carbs) for an immediate boost with ingredients that are absorbed more slowly (proteins, fats and complex carbs), for more sustained energy. Since fruit falls into the former category and nuts fall into the latter, any bar that has fruit and nuts is going to perform well as an "energy bar." The same concept, btw, is behind "trail mix."

    2. Most of the Clif Bar products are decent tasting and all are made from mostly organic ingredients (think the guarantee is 70%). The classic Clif Bars typically have a good amount of fiber, which is not typical of the protein bars. Recently, I came across the orange-cranberry-almond Karma Bars made by Worldwide Sports. This is also an organic product and has 13 grams of protein. It has a pleasant taste and good texture.

      4 Replies
      1. re: srcusa

        The company that makes Clif bars also makes Luna bars, which are supposedly designed for women. They're pretty good, both the flavors and the ingredients (my favorite is the lemon). Trader Joe's has great prices on snack/energy bars, and if you have a Grocery Outlet in your area, they often have a limited selection of Clif bars really cheap.

        My sister swears by Lara Bars.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Another vote for Luna bars. They're 'designed for women' because they include a decent amount of iron and folic acid, which women need much more than men. My favorite flavors are Nutz About Chocolate, Chocolate Pecan Pie, Iced Oatmeal Raisin, and Toasted Nuts & Cranberry.

          TJ's does have great prices on individual bars. I've also found boxes of 6 at Target for cheap.

          1. re: mojoeater

            I also like Luna bars, but I REALLY like cliff's version of the Larabar...I think it's just called nectar? Essentially just dried fruit and nuts, but I think the cliff's version uses less nuts per bar, since they are much lower in calories/fat than the larabars. My particular fave is the cherry pomegranate...even my 3 year old refers to them as a "treat".

        2. re: srcusa

          Seconding Clif bars. I used to be skeptical about bars in general, but my husband turned me on to the Clif bars and now I keep an oatmeal raisin Clif Bar in my purse for all kinds of emergencies, I always carry several before I head out for any kind of air travel. You can turn them into a meal with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk or a yogurt and they keep you from getting hungry for a good length of time. My husband also likes the cherry almond and the peanut buzz. We get them at Trader Joe's. They're cheaper there than anywhere else.

          1. re: welle

            Me too, I can't believe we are the only two that have mentioned these bars they are really good!

          2. I do not purport any of these as really *healthy* bars, but they are snack/energy bars...

            Taste-wise I LOVE Pro Max Cookies'n'Cream bars.

            Zone Chocolate Graham bars

            Body-for-Life Cookies'n'Cream bars (red wrapper)

            Pure Protein S'mores flavor (good graham cracker bits and marshmallow bits)

            Myoplex Carb Sense - Blueberry Pie (or something like that), Chocolate Cream Pie, Cookies'n'Cream all have several dimensions, like a creamy, a crunchy, and a chocolatey exterior...

            Power Bar Protein Plus Low Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor

            I personally can't stand them, but my mom and her fiance love the Gnu fiber bars... to me they're too healthy tasting; a lot of people love Luna bars, but I don't find them satisfying either.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Emme

              The Oatmeal Raisin Gnu Fiber bars are really good, and IMO don't taste too healthy. They have like 12 grams of fiber. I think the Zone Perfect Fudge Graham bars are pretty good if you're looking for more protein.

            2. Clif Bars.

              Best flavors: Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Crunch and Banana Nut Bread.

              1. I"m another Luna bar eater. I started with the chocolate peppermint, which isn't terribly chocolatey, but the peppermint "frosting" is good. I like most of their flavors well enough, and the "Sunrise" version are actually pretty good - the blueberry one has good dried blueberries in it.

                1. LARA bars are really really good. And they come in a ton of flavors... they have a high fat content due to the fact that one (or more) of their main ingredients is nuts, but it's the healthy kind of fat.

                  I used to like ProMax bars (as suggested by Emme) because they tasted like candy bars and didn't leave a funky aftertaste, but I can't find them anymore :(

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: wino22

                    I think it's the chocolate ProMax bars that I get at Trader Joe's cheap along with my peanut butter Tiger's Milk bars and the black cherry almond Clif bars.

                    1. re: wino22

                      Don't you find Lara Bars to be a bit too sweet?

                      It's like eating mashed fruit and nuts. Sort of like eating a PB&J without the bread.

                      I need some grains in my bars -- nuts and fruits just don't do it for me I guess.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Ha--the sweet factor is why I like the Lara bars. It's a candy bar with some redeeming value.

                      2. re: wino22

                        TJ's always carries several flavors of ProMax bars!

                      3. Lately I'm really digging the Clif Organic Zbars for kids. They're a smaller bar, only 110 calories, so it's perfect for a snack. The chocolate chip is my fave, followed by the brownie, PB is not so hot.

                        1. No one has mentioned Odwalla bars yet. I think they are pretty good. They have the texture of real food, albeit a bar, and the flavor is real rather than chemical. No bad aftertastes. One of the key questions is how much of everything you want in your bars: calories, proteins, various others nutrients. At the 200 calorie threshold, I find the Odwala super-protein bars excellent.

                          I currently live in London (just moved) and they have a good line of bars here called Nak'd (unfortunate name, but they are really quite good).

                          1. Lunas are really good with a lot of vitamins. I like the Chai Tea and Lemon Zest.

                            1. I can't believe no one's mentioned Odwalla bars. The berry and superfood are excellent, especially if you like the texture of lots of different whole grains.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: maestra

                                Funny, I really don't like Odwalla at all...For me it's the ingredient combos and flavor options that turn me off, but I also don't like that whole grainy taste that most of them have---they taste cardboardy to me. Just my 4 cents.

                                1. re: Emme

                                  Have to agree. To my taste, the Odwalla bars are too bitter and almost chemically (is that a word?) tasting. You can really taste the whey protein in the protein enhanced bars. Recently, I found the local 7-11 carrying Lloyd Price "Energy-2-Eat" bars. The have two flavors - banana and strawberry. The bars are sweet, but fairly low in fat and not bad on calories. Makes a good breakfast substitute. I think that Lloyd Price was a popular R&B singer years ago.

                                  1. re: srcusa

                                    I'll have to look for these--I'm fascinated by food products endorsed by non-food personalities...most bizarre I've seen yet: Dwight Yokam brand frozen chicken fries, available in the freezer case at your local WalMart.

                                    1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                      I did a bit of further digging into this product and it seems he's got an entire line of food products:


                                      1. re: srcusa

                                        I found his website, too: now my favorite Lloyd Price product is "Make Momma Proud" breakfast cereal.

                                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                          I was kinda of leaning more towards the "Soulful 'N' Smooth" Grits or the "Personality Pizza". This guy actually thinks of himself as the next Walt Disney. This has got to be one of the best food websites I've ever come across.

                                          1. re: srcusa

                                            Another budding food empire spawned out of New Orleans (tho he's really a native of suburban Kenner).

                              2. I really like Bora Bora bars. Essentially, they're a bunch of seeds, nuts, and sometimes dried fruit held together with agave fructose (according to website). http://www.wellements.com/borabars.asp

                                1. I like the Clif Peanut Butter Crunch bar and the Nectar bars. I'm not so crazy about Odowalla bars, but they'll do in a pinch.

                                    1. Yea, you have got to try the KIND bars! A friend introduced me to them ( she has a gluten problem) and I love them and my favorite is the yougurt one.
                                      Let me know what you think?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: gina brook

                                        have not tried yogurt ones, love walnut+date and almond+apricot

                                      2. Love the Clif and Balance Gold bars.

                                        Hate PowerBar (the plus is I don't pig out on them like I do on candy bars)