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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Love Beets: Building a Better Bar

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 10:00 AM

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If I had a dollar for every latest and greatest health bar that I've seen launch in the past six months ... well, I probably wouldn't be writing this blog post. General guidelines for a better bar include fewer ingredients, simpler packaging, an inspirational story, and a series of "frees" — gluten free, sugar-free, soy-free, dairy-free, GMO-free, etc. Of all the bars I've sampled lately, here are some of my top picks.

If purple is the new green, then beets are the new kale of the food world and Love Beets Energy Bars are full of them. Made with fruits, seeds, beets and a grain-based protein blend, they're a portable, textured, chewy, and pretty tasty. Though they don't quite make the cut of being low on ingredients, they do boast a "nut-free" bonus and were created by a husband-wife duo in England.

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Runner up for the title of "The New Kale" is Moringa, a green-leafed tree native to West Africa and featured in a line of nutrient-dense fruit and nut bars made by Kuli Kuli. Moringa bars contain less than five whole food ingredients and get their sweetness from agave. Started by a Peace Corps worker, Kuli Kuli wins points for amping up nutrition while providing opportunities. They taste healthy, which is good if you like that sort of thing.

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Another family-founded bar line is The Gluten Free Bar created by brothers Marshall and Elliot Rader. Points for being high in protein and coming in a variety of shapes (there are bars and then there are bites). A Certified B Corporation, GFB touts sustainable business practices and has high social aspirations. The products are also pretty darn tasty, with brown rice syrup, agave, fruit and chocolate putting them on the sweeter side.

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Winner of the environmental award is Barnana, a "super potassium snack" company that makes a whole line of products using imperfect organic bananas grown by farmers in Latin America. Barnanas bananas would go to waste if they weren't being transformed into chewy banana bites made with only a handful of ingredients. Plus, the founder was a triathlete, so essentially it's health food.

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Last but not least (well, actually least is just about the right word for it) is the the RXBar, a high-protein whole foods bar whose ingredients are listed right on the front of the package. Egg whites kick up the protein without adding dairy, flour, pea powder, or other supplements. Rxbar is all about the "no" no added sugar, no GMO, no dairy, no soy, no gluten, and "no B.S." as they say. Still, there's plenty of flavor, which is simply surprising.

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A. K. Carroll


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