Two “Real Food Approved” Store Bought Snacks

Sure, eating homemade food 100% of the time is ideal, but – let’s face it – not realistic! I love to cook and make meals from scratch, but I am the first to admit that when there is a “shortcut” I find completely acceptable I totally go for it. That includes sandwich bread (made with 5 whole ingredients from a local bakery), store bought plain yogurt (that is both organic and made with whole milk), strawberry “all fruit” jam (when the summer gets away from me and I just don’t have time for canning), and – no doubt about it – snacks!

When you find yourself cooking from scratch every night for dinner and even some days for lunch and breakfast, I agree it can be hard to muster up the energy to consistently make homemade snacks as well. So that’s why I am excited to share two of the “cleanest” store bought snacks currently on the market from two companies that I love, and that also happen to be sponsors of ours! We are very selective with the sponsors we work with on this blog, and there’s nothing better than being able to promote products that I already purchase on my own.

So I present to you…

LARABARS - As few as 2 ingredients! 100 Days of Real Food

Peeled Snacks - As few as 1 ingredient! 100 Days of #RealFood

LÄRABAR

I am not going to lie – I always have one of these in my purse for an “emergency snack” and it’s usually my favorite flavor, Cashew Cookie. I also always bring quite a few of these along when we travel. It’s a great way to supplement a meal or hold you over until you can find some decent grub.

Here are the highlights:

  • You will find no more than 9 ingredients in any of their bars (mostly different combinations of fruits, nuts, and spices).
  • All of their products are Gluten Free, Non-GMO, and Kosher, with the majority of them being Vegan, Soy Free, and Dairy Free, as well.
  • They are currently offering two seasonal flavors for the fall, Pumpkin Pie and Snickerdoodle (available through the end of the year).
  • The bars do not freeze or melt, making them the perfect snack for summer OR snow adventures.
  • Their brand is enrolled in the Non-GMO Project, and their products are in the process of certification – more info on that here.
  • Through a partnership with TerraCycle, their wrappers are recyclable – more info here.

Peeled Snacks

My daughters both love dried fruit, and I love knowing that Peeled Snacks brand is both organic and also has no added sugar (or oil or preservatives!), which is sometimes hard to find. The favorite variety in our house is dried apples, and it’s a great addition to a quick little trail mix either for a snack or the lunch box.

Here are the highlights:

  • Their fruit products are (naturally) gluten-, soy-, dairy-, and sulfite-free.
  • Their company is certified organic, and since some of the fruits they offer, like apples, are at the top of the dirty dozen list I think this is a great thing.
  • As I mentioned they do not contain any added refined sugar, oil or preservatives.
  • To find out where to purchase Peeled Snacks check out their website!

Well, there you have it…two great, super “clean” store bought snack options for when you are on the go. What are your favorite LÄRABAR and Peeled Snack varieties? Please share with us in the comments!

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88 thoughts on “Two “Real Food Approved” Store Bought Snacks”

  1. I recently printed out a list of companies that support GMO labeling and those who do not. Surprisingly, some of the food companies are makers of a lot of the popular organic foods. These companies usually started small and were bought up by big food companies. Larabar was on the list as “Not” supporting GMO labeling. I got this list from Dr. Mercola’s website. Or from http://WWW.cornucopia.org. I believe that is were you can find it and print it out. It will tell you which companies support GMO labeling. I no longer buy products (organic ones) that’s all I buy, if they don’t support us knowing what’s being put in our food.

  2. Hi Lisa,
    I was wondering if your girls play any sports? I have four boys and they all play a sport. After each game they get a snack. Not healthy. Mainly sugary drinks, chips and cookies. :( My boys are old enough to feel embarrassed if I bring “healthy snacks.” I found this article that helped me start thinking how I can change parents views about bringing healthier snacks for after the games. Please share if you would like. Thanks :)
    Becca

    http://www.thisweeknews.com/content/stories/clintonville/news/2012/05/02/soccer-mom-bananas-about-healthful-snacks.html

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Kimberly. Unfortunately, they do not meet “the rules” criteria. Here is an example of a kind bar ingredient list: Almonds, pecans, honey, blueberry pieces (blueberries, sugar, apples, plums, apple juice, vegetable glycerin, citrus pectin, sunflower oil, natural blueberry flavor), cashews, non GMO glucose, raisins, chicory root fiber, crisp rice, soy lecithin. These are the ingredients you are unlikely to find in our real food pantry: glycerin, glucose, sunflower oil, and soy lecithin. That said, they are better than most bars that are on the market and many are low in sugars. Lara now makes an “uber” bar that is very similar to the Kind bars but with a superior ingredient list: http://www.larabar.com/products/roasted-nut-roll.

      1. Hi Amy,
        I know this post is from awhile ago, but I just stumbled upon it and happened to read your comment. I wanted to correct your statement that “glucose” is not something you have in your pantry. Honey is made entirely of glucose and fructose (the individual building blocks of dimers and polymers such as maltose, sucrose, and starches) with roughly 45% being glucose and the remainder being fructose. It’s incredibly important to be correct when dispensing nutrition advice and suggesting that there is no glucose in your pantry when your actively promote the use of honey is a bit disingenuous.
        Thanks
        Lizz

      2. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

        Hello Liz. There was certainly not an attempt to deceive here but thanks for the clarification. We do not typically have a bottle of anything labeled just glucose in our pantry. We feel it is important to know the source. Is it a processed powdered form of glucose or is it a whole food ingredient, like honey? Kind now lists honey as an ingredient in addition to glucose. ~Amy

  3. Hello, my husband and I are starting the mini pledges for our New Years resolution, and are having a debate about whether Larabars are considered a fruit serving for week one. We read in your commentary that dried fruits such as raisins don’t count… Do the dried fruits in Larabars count?

  4. Does the amount of sugar in the LaraBar concern you at all? To me it is a big issue. I like Kind bars, a few of them have as little as 4g of sugar.

  5. Hello Lisa!

    I’m loving many of your posts and appreciate the information. I am studying to become a registered dietitian and I hope to one day help people incorporate real-whole foods back into their diet for optimal health. Another snack bar you might enjoy is Thunderbird Energetica and Epic Bars. They are 100% real food ingredients designed with optimal nutrition and health in mind. They include awesome nutrient packed ingredients like sweet potato, carrot, turmeric, cherries. They are my #1 snack when I am on the move and I think they would fit perfectly into what your lifestyle!

    All the best!

    Check it out!
    http://www.thunderbirdenergetica.com
    http://www.epicbar.com

  6. I love this blog!!!

    What do you all think of the Simply Balanced brand (it is a Target brand I think)? I love their fruit strips, dried fruit, fruit peel…etc. (All of their products are so yummy) From what I can tell, they are in the real food rules. Have you tried them?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi there. These must be relatively new? I have not tried them and I cannot find a place to view their ingredient lists online. I’ll have to check them out next time I am in Target. ~Amy

  7. Hello and thank you as always for all of your great info, recipes, tips, etc. I was wondering if you’ve ever “dehydrated” fruits by baking at a low temperature? I’m not even sure if my oven would go low enough, but I have been given a LOT of apples and was trying to think of another way to preserve/eat them (I don’t know how to can, but have frozen some applesauce)

  8. Larabar is owned by General Mills who has been a supporter of not labeling GMOs. They contributed to both the the No on 37 (CA Right to Know) and the No on I522 (Washington state Right to Know). I DO NOT want to support companies who want to hide GMOs, no matter how organic they claim to be.

    Didn’t see the entry right above mine but it corroborates what I said.

  9. Question to the Peeled Snacks:

    While the dried fruits look pure and good I have an issue with their “Apple Clusters”. The ingredient list (apples, apple juice concentrate, potato starch) sounds benign at first glance, but I am wondering if it is in line with your food rules. Apple juice concentrate is pure sugar in disguise, and if you consider cane juice as refined sugar you should also consider (apple) juice concentrate as refined sugar. Its only purpose in the product is to get sugar in without having to label it. Besides that, apple juice concentrate is a product only used in food industry. I don’t know anybody who would cook with it at home.

    1. I completely agree. I heard Robert Lustig, who has a ebook: “Sugar has 56 names,” on a radio program recently. “Fruit Juice Concentrate” does not resemble juice in anyway. It is straight sugar. We stopped buying Stretch Island fruit leathers and pouches of applesauce because of this.

  10. This is a perfect example of the type of product I love. While I enjoy cooking and experimenting in the kitchen … there are so many other things I enjoy doing too that I often need some easy go-to convenience foods. I try to freeze what I can … but larabars are perfect for work or pre-gym on the run. For people wanting other suggestions – Trader Joes has a lot of great snacks – not all “real food” but often free of dyes, HFCS, and a lot of the icky stuff at conventional groceries. Not always organic, GMO free … but they’re trying. Not perfect, but better. :)

  11. I’ve been searching for Pumpkin Pie Larabars all day with no luck! They sound so good! Love to read your posts.

  12. I love the idea of Peeled Snacks – eat them plain, add them to granola, awesome. But after looking at the website, I was shocked by how EXPENSIVE each bag is. :(

  13. Hi Lisa,

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing such valuable information!

    A year ago I was doing some research about what to feed my babies and I came across you page. Best Google search ever!

    I’ve been cooking real food since then. My kitchen is messy 90% of the time, my stove is a real mess, my pantry is empty (no cans for us!) and my fridge and fruit bowls are full with REAL food.

    If I could, I would give you a hug.

    Yesterday I made my kids real french toast for breakfast, and all I could hear was happy sounds full of satisfaction. The night before I baked some carrots with a little bit of grapeseed oil and mexican oregano, and it was a big hit! These are just a couple of examples of what you’ve inspired me to do.

    It is not easy, specially when we are on a tight budget! But I am so in love with cooking all over again that I always find the energy to wash another pot and get ready for the next meal!

    Thank you so much for sharing your passion for food and your recipes too! You rock!

    A very grateful follower,

    M.

  14. Hi Lisa! I would love a list of other “approved” prepared foods. I try to make as much as possible, but time is an issue. Thanks for all you do!

  15. Yes, I second the freeze dried fruit as another awesome option. Just Tomatoes was the first brand I ever came across…those raspberries just melt in my mouth!! f.d.f. is now available all over the place — even Walmart…dun dun dun, and Marc’s (a small, awesome chain in Ohio!) and of course Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods even makes some of their own! Yum! Good night!

  16. Ha! I’ve written posts about BOTH of these awesome brands/products/snacks! I love Peeled’s mangoes!!! Some stranger in Costco talked me into Larabars years ago when I hadn’t even heard of them, and I have been cheering them on to everyone I know ever since! If anyone wants to make them at home I have a bunch of recipes, like chocolate cherry and orange almond and chocolate mint and yum! I wish it wasn’t so late so I could make some now…don’t want to wake my sleeping family with the food processor :~ Well here are some recipes: http://fresh-you.blogspot.com/2006/06/laraballs-look-alike-larabars.html Enjoy!

    1. Clif brand has a bar just like Larabars. I think they’re called Kit’s Organic. Plus, they are pretty easy to make homemade.

  17. How about Triscuit crackers? Do you think that they are “clean?” I notice that one of the flavored brands has citric acid in it. Everything else is pretty straight forward. Not sure if that counts as “real food” or not.

    1. Citric acid is fine. It comes from citrus fruits. Of course you don’t want to ingest a gallon of it, but it’s fine and natural. Triscuits used to be in my pantry…they only have 3 ingredients (the originals) but I have had conflicting feelings about them…the main ingredient is wheat. Not organic wheat. And the wheat in our country is a former shell of its ancestor. Also, they use soybean oil (vegetable oil) and soy is even worse than wheat (unfermented soy that is…check out Dr. Mercola’s website for lots of info about soy and GMOs). So, I have stopped buying them. Personal conviction.

      1. I just have to say that the majority of information on Mercola’s website is thoroughly exaggerated, if not entirely made up. I’m all for whole foods and minimally-processed, but I’m also for science and truth.

    2. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi there. Lisa used to include Triscuits on her shopping list but no longer does. Triscuits are made with refined oil. ~Amy

  18. I also like to buy bulk whole dried organic mango from Whole Foods. It’s a great substitute for fruit roll ups for kiddos!

  19. Hello Lisa! I love lara bars, the Cashew cookie is my fav! Question…I couldn’t find a place to contact you via email so here it is via comment: where do you buy such things as brown rice crackers, whole wheat pitas, and whole wheat pretzels? These are some of the things you suggest for kids lunches.

    Thanks,

    Andrea

    1. Hi Andrea! I get the ak-mak crackers she recommends from Sprouts, they have whole wheat crackers and whole wheat pitas too. They are also all at Whole Foods!

    2. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Andrea. The whole wheat crackers and whole wheat pitas can be found at Traders Joe’s. The brown rice crackers with a pretty clean ingredient list can be found at Whole Foods, Earth Fare, and conventional grocery stores. ~Amy

  20. These are great although don’t meet the needs of my quick snack for the kids as most of the places we go to are nut free environments….school, sports etc. I’ve come up with my own recipe using a minimal amount of ingredients. Just really wish we could find good healthy nut free products.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Ann. Two whole fruit ingredients and nothing else looks like a good thing. :) ~Amy

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Katie. Here is an example of the ingredient list for Kind bars: Mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts), dried fruit (cherries, raisins, cranberries), sugar, honey, non GMO glucose, palm kernel oil, crisp rice, cocoa powder, chicory root fiber, soy lecithin, vanilla, whole milk, salt, sunflower oil. VITAMINS: Vitamin A (Vit. A Acetate), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin E (D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate). Sugar, soy lechithin, sunflower oil etc., do not fall within our real food rules. ~Amy

  21. Hi Lisa, I very much enjoy reading your page and have learned so much from you. Thank you! It’s because of you that I finally tried Lara bars (amongst many other things) and I really enjoy them. I just came across and tried a few of the different flavors of Kind bars. I wanted to see what your thoughts are on those. Some have more ingredients than others, but many of the ingredients are nuts or fruit and they’re non-gmo. Would love to hear what you think about these as I really like them. Thanks so much and keep being awesome! :) -Jenny

  22. Where do you find the Peeled Snacks? I see them in Amazon but am not sure if theirs is a good price and would rather buy from a “real” storefront possible.
    I haven’t got little kids any more but have been enjoying your posts on Facebook for a couple weeks now. You have inspired me to kick my food buying up a notch or two. I’ve never been a big processed food fan but I have been lazy about things lately!

    Thanks, Karen

  23. I have 3 boys i bought larabars once and my son who isually loves diff bars spit it into the garbage. Ive been considering buying a cpl more in assorted flavors and trying again. But my boys so LOVE Kind bars and Stretch Island in every flavor.

  24. I just bought some larabars for the first time in a long time. I never really paid attention to the ingredients so I was pretty impressed at the list of ingredients. More so, I think I saw on your blog how to make your own Larabars and am excited to try to make my own.

  25. Have you tried the Stretch Island Fruit Co snacks? What are your thoughts? My kids love the fruit leathers, fruit chews & smooshed fruit (I think that’s what they’re called, like fruit roll ups).

    1. I haven’t found any Stretch Island products that don’t contain fruit juice concentrate. This is just another name for sugar; it doesn’t resemble fruit in the least.

    2. They contain fruit juice concentrate, which is just sugar. It is so processed that it doesn’t resemble fruit in anyway.

  26. Hi Lisa! We have been trying to switch to real food, but I’m finding snacks to be the hardest. With 4 kids under 6, making everything is a little overwhelming!! Have you ever checked out Kind brand of bars or granola? My kids also love the cliff Zbars…hoping those aren’t too terrible! Sometimes I have to choose the lesser of the evils so to speak or I make myself crazy!! Thanks for all your work!!
    P.S. thanks for the heads up on Great Harvest…found one here and my kids love it! Win!

    1. My kids also love the Clif ZBars! I have to hide them when I but them though it they ask for them nonstop. ;)

    2. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi there. Both of those brands don’t meat our criteria for the real food rules. They use sugar, syrups, soy lecithin, and other ingredients that we would not. Here is an example of the ingredient list for Kind bars: Mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts), dried fruit (cherries, raisins, cranberries), sugar, honey, non GMO glucose, palm kernel oil, crisp rice, cocoa powder, chicory root fiber, soy lecithin, vanilla, whole milk, salt, sunflower oil. VITAMINS: Vitamin A (Vit. A Acetate), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin E (D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate). ~Amy

  27. Any of the Larabar Ubers flavors are delicious. I bring one to with me everyday for a snack in between classes.

  28. We love peanut butter chocolate chip Larabars! I even considered naming our new baby girl “Lara” but we went with “Clara” instead :)

  29. What do you think of “That’s it” bars and “Pure” bars. My daughter who can’t eat much likes these but would love to know more about them. Thanks!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Rachel. That’s It bars have 2 simple whole ingredients-nothing wrong with that. Pure bars have a couple ingredients that would knock them off our list if you are following “the rules”. They are agave and sunflower oil. ~Amy

  30. My 15 month old loves those dried apples! It’s hard to find on the go snacks for a little one who need everything cut up, so we love these for church! I am getting a dehydrator for Christmas, but we have been loving these until it comes! :)

  31. The cashew cookie bar sounds so good!

    I don’t believe the fruit is organic, but we love the Stretch Island fruit strips for a quick easy snack.

    1. I review ingredients when selecting store bought foods – not parent companies. I will buy from Kraft, GM, Kellogs, you name it, if it follows our real food rules. That is how I vote with my dollars – by letting them know which products I support. These companies are not going to go away, but we can help shape their offerings.

  32. Lynne,

    I researched what you said and sure enough Larabars are owned by General Mills, which contributed over half a million to to defeat proposition 37. That makes me sad, they are a staple in our house as an easy go to snack. I am going to have to rethink purchasing them in the future.

    1. I hear you Kara, but for us finding packaged foods that are “real food approved” is hard enough. I can’t imagine taking into account the actions of all the parent companies as well. We feel when buying their products that we do approve of is one way to “vote with our dollars” because let’s face it these companies are not going to go away – we can only encourage better choices and this is one way to do it!

  33. Another snack we like is “Just ________” – insert whatever fruit or vegetable it may be. They are freeze dried. Our current favorite is “Just Blueberries.” They are crunchy (a must for this mom) and taste like yummy blueberries. They also have “Just Peas”, “Just Strawberries”, and a couple of other fruits/vegetables available. My teenagers love them. The 20 month old I babysit loves them. The kiddos (6 yo twins) aren’t so hip on them….yet.

  34. Thanks for this. I’m always looking for things to send to my husband when he deploys. The food on the boat is horrible!

  35. Interesting. I have a nut-allergic kiddo, so we can’t do the Larabars. I thought you anti anything with more than five ingredients no matter what the ingredients (which I’ve never really quite understood if the ingredients are healthy, whole food ingredients).

    1. That’s right – those are our official rules, which is why I especially love the Cashew Cookie flavor (2 ingredients) and dried fruit shown (1 ingredient).

  36. I stopped buying Larabars when I discovered had spent over half a million dollars to defeat the GMO initiative in California (prop 37). Interesting to see they’re part of the non-GMO project.

    1. Lynne – I understand some people feel that way, but when buying packaged foods our family’s focus is to find those with 5 or less whole ingredients (which is oftentimes hard enough) – not the political actions of the parent company. LARABARS have been one of my favorite real food snacks to have on hand ever since we started this 3 years ago!

      1. The first thing a corporation does when they see a smaller company is providing competition or conducting business in a way that could ultimately take away from their profits, they go and buy that smaller company so that they are no longer competition. Ultimately, their actions politically will give them the power to mimic the practices of Larabar without actually complying with non-GMO standards in the future. Eventually Larabar will disappear and a similarly named company under the same parent company will be formed and they will use non-GMO ingredients and won’t have to let anyone know. These are the details that we need to be aware of when making choices about what foods we eat and especially what foods we feed our children. It isn’t a political issue, it has branches reaching into a political issue, but ultimately it’s a health issue that we still have some power to make choices about- those choices will begin to disappear. Kudo’s to Lynne for acting on her knowledge! Lisa, kudo’s to you for creating an incredible source of knowledge and discussion for people to begin to get on the right track to healthy eating.

    2. I’ve heard about what Lynn said about them defeating the GMO initiative in CA. Does anyone know more about Larabar? I also heard they are owned by a bigger company. We still eat them, but I still want to know more about it…

      1. Lisa – thanks for your comment. The only reason it concerns me is because the political actions can impact the trust of the brand/product. While the company may say something, they could be doing something else. It’s hard to trust anything with food these days, let alone it saying non-gmo or organic, esp as it comes from a larger brand. For instance, I would never buy an “organic” product from Kraft because I don’t trust them at all…regardless if it’s saying they are Organic. So if a larger company buys a smaller company (ie Stonyfield was bought Dannon) – I have a harder time going with that product. Just seems like ingredients can be compromised with tricky creative writing or whatever it is…

    3. While I agree with your point, if I researched every company, the smaller, healthier ones are generally run by the bigger, unhealthy ones. Even when you look at Silk, Cascadian Farm, Bear Naked, etc. I do try to follow the vote with my dollars principle and purchase the healthier versions. If you want more info on the brands that don’t support prop 37, check out Food Babe (if you haven’t already), she goes a little deeper into supporting only those who do support prop 37.

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