A month ago after writing about Lara Bars, I was contacted by Robert of Kardea Nutrition. Robert generously offered to send me a sample of his bars. A few days later, I had a package with not just one but four delicious bars to try!
The bars had a smoothed-over texture that tasted good and was nice in my mouth (smooth and satiny yet still heavy and filling). At first I wasn’t a fan of the appearance of the bar, which looked somewhat processed and artificial (interesting, because the bar is 100% natural and not artificial in the least!). I think a lot of people would find this appealing, especially if you’re not a big natural foods fan and are a little frightened of the crunchy-granolahead-type products. I’m not necessarily a granolahead myself, but I’ve gotten used to natural products looking a bit yucky and thrown together, so even though my brain knew it was all natural, the appealing visual actually made me feel like I was “cheating.” I had to keep reminding myself that this was not a cheat or treat, but something totally healthy and all-natural!
Nutrition-wise, at only 150 calories/bar, these are very light – much fewer calories than just about any natural bar out there of a similar size. In addition, they are designed to help manage cholesterol and are full of ingredients to naturally do just that. The bars contain 7g of fiber and 7g of protein, but just 5g of fat and 11g of sugar, so you’re getting a lot of bang for your caloric buck. And the ingredients list is superb! These are sweetened with brown rice syrup and agave syrup, both of which have lower glycemic indexes than sugar and are processed more slowly so they don’t hit your bloodstream too quickly. They also contain psyllium husks, an ingredient that is getting a lot of attention these days for cleansing your system and improving GI function.
The flavors were good, though mostly somewhat subdued. The lemon ginger was pretty lemon-y, with just a hint of ginger to keep it interesting. The cranberry almond was great, with the almond flavor pronounced and the cranberry providing a muted but tart contrast. There was also a chai spice, which I liked a lot. The absolute best, however, was the banana nut – it had a really strong banana taste that was absolutely bursting with flavor, and a crunchy texture underneath the smooth surface. This one had the most flavor of the four, and when I stock up, it’ll probably be on this variety.
Although I think I prefer Lara Bars because they’re mostly raw, the Kardea bars are much lower in calories, so I’m probably going to stock up on some of each. The Kardea bars are great when you don’t want quite as many calories as a Lara Bar, and they’re healthier than Clif Bars or other competitors. Kardea Nutrition has recently inked a national distribution agreement, so any natural foods store should be able to order them easily. They are also being sold at multiple Whole Foods stores across the country. Alternately, you can order them online from kardeanutrition.com, where they’re currently on sale for $24.95 for a 15 pack (you can get any of the four flavors, or a variety pack containing some of each). At just $1.66 each, that’s a great bargain compared to the $2.50-$3.00 I’m often paying for Larabars.
A big thank you to Robert for the chance to try and review these bars! I’ll definitely be buying them in the future.