The Energy/Snack Bar Experiment – Pt I

Hello, friends.

So one day I’m headed out the door with my sister-in-law Katie, when she grabs us a couple of LaraBars to go.

larabar

I don’t know if you’ve had these before, but they’re yummy snack bars made of whole and healthy ingredients.  They’re the perfect on-the-go snack when you’re in need of some energy.

They’re nice to have.  When you’re wealthy.

Snack bars like Larabar, Kashi, Cliff, KIND, etc. are all awesome snack bars, but they get so darn pricey.  It’s easy to rip through a box a week, especially during those busy seasons of life, but sometimes I just can’t bring myself to spend that kind of money on those convenient little bars.  (I saw one individual Larabar at the whole foods store by my house for $2 bucks a pop)!

As I chomped on my favorite flavor Larabar, “Peanut Butter Cookie,” I thought to flatten the wrapper and read the ingredients:

Peanuts, dates, sea salt.

…Seriously?  Three ingredients?  I started checking out other bars ingredients and kept reading the same things.

Almonds, walnuts, chocolate chips, cashews…

It got me thinking:  why can’t we make these?

And so birthed today’s post:  THE ULTIMATE ENERGY SNACK BAR EXPERIMENT

food bar     vs.      IMG_3665
(Defending Champion)                                              (#1 Contender)

Enlisting my sister-in-law, we got together and made a bunch of bars–different flavors, different kinds, different health benefits–to see how many we can make, and how much we save.

Are you ready?  Let the fights begin!  (ding! ding!)

Experiment #1:  Kamut Dark Chocolate Bars

I arrived at Katie’s Thursday afternoon with a bag full of goodies.

IMG_3650  IMG_3651

Her being a dietitian by trade, she had her own spread of nutrition-packed foods:

IMG_3652

We found three recipes for nutrition bars:  one no-bake (less ingredients & time), one that required some stove top cooking (mostly melting of the moist ingredients), and one that was very involved (many ingredients, stove top cooking & oven baking).  All three were packed with protein, healthy fats & natural sugars to get you through your day.  The perfect energy snack bar!

IMG_3688   IMG_3678   IMG_3664

Maca Energy Bars, Quick ‘n Easy Protein Bars, and Kamut Dark Chocolate Energy Bars.

We started with the more involved one:  the Kamut Dark Chocolate Energy Bar. (Recipe from healthbean.ca).

It called for a few things that you don’t find at your typical grocery store, (kamut flour, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds), but the neat thing about homemade bars is that they’re very easily adaptable to use whatever you have on-hand.  In our case, we didn’t have kamut flour, so we used a mix of almond, buckwheat & brown rice flour.

IMG_3658

It took the full 20 minutes as predicted in the recipe, and we chatted through the 25 minute bake time.

IMG_3676

We were skeptical at first of how far one batch would go, but it turned out making 20 full-sized bars.

IMG_3684

After taste-testing them, we decided that they most resembled Pamela’s Whenever Bars.

pamelas

I personally am not all-out crazy over the taste of either bar, but I’m also not a big fan of prunes.  If I redid the recipe, I’d probably substitute the prunes with dates.

The Verdict

  • Time:  Long.  With less-than-common ingredients and the cooking/baking necessary, it was a little more involved than we’d like.  (Although with a friend, time flies ;) )
  • Taste Comparison:  Close.  We thought it was comparable to a Pamela Whenever Bar, but I personally don’t care for prunes.
  • Cost:  With a retail cost of $5.49 for a pack of 5, one Pamela Whenever Bar would cost you $1.10.  How much we paid making it at home:  $0.63/bar.  For a total savings of:
  • 43% savings, or $9.36 per 20 bars.

Nice!

But the other two bars were sooo much yummier.  Check them out tomorrow!

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7 responses to “The Energy/Snack Bar Experiment – Pt I

  1. I love this post. I enjoy energy bars! I can’t wait to see the other recipes and maybe try it myself sometime!

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