You have probably noticed the proliferation of gluten-free snack bars that have hit the market in the past year. The current selection goes well beyond the days of when the Larabar was nearly the only gluten-free snack bar on the market, and there is an incredible variety of formulations available now that target particular sub-sectors of the gluten-free diet market.
I snapped a picture of some of the latest incarnations of these diet / snack bars above (there are many more), which each have their own particular features (the features vary by bar, so read the label and make sure you find the one that fits your particular needs the best):
- Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free (an obvious requirement!)
- organic ingredients
- low GI (Glycemic Index)
- Nutrition Bars with various "Super Foods" in them - typically antioxidants, immune-boosters, and vitamins and minerals
- High-Protein bars - typically achieving their high-protein status with one or both of whey protein and/or soy protein isolates
- Vegan, dairy-free
- Allergen-Free (free of all common allergens)
- Wonderful Flavor Combinations
The Think Green, Think Thin, Think Organic, etc... serve their purpose too. The Think Thin type is all about high-protein (soy generally) and low GI impact, and as such I would not qualify these bars as a "gluten-free dessert" (which, I would consider some of the other sweeter varieties of snack bars on the market - especially the ones with chocolate and other dessert-like qualities). The "Think..." brand offerings have expanded rapidly, and there seem to be dozens of different ones to choose from.
The ever-popular LaraBar has now grown into a brand offering a huge selection of flavor combinations (though, they all still feature that Date-based formula, so an appreciation of Dates will sure help if you want to try these). The newer "Jocalat" varieties bring cocoa into what I regard as their "base formula", which makes them much more appealing to me (I love cocoa and chocolate). Again, there are quite a few flavors to choose from.
I didn't care for the original Larabars anywhere near as much as I do the new Jocalat varieties. The cocoa (in each of these new formulas) takes the edge off the overwhelming date-flavor the originals had. These new ones are quite nice. I personally LOVE the chocolate-mint one, and the chocolate and chocolate-coffee types are rather tasty too.
The only Jocolat variety I complete detested was the chocolate-orange (it tasted so strongly of orange peel or oil that I could not deal with it... I might as well been chewing on an orange rind). I like the flavors of chocolate and orange, but only when orange is used in a subtle manner. Perhaps they will update the formula if sales are slow for that variety - if so, I would try it again, otherwise I will never eat the chocolate-orange variety unless I am starving. :)
So, things have certainly changed for the better with the rather wide-ranging selection of gluten-free diet snack bars on the market. These treats are great for keeping handy when out on the road, or at a lengthy meeting, or otherwise away from easy access to your normal gluten-free diet items.
These bars give me a quick and easy SAFE (gluten-free) source of calories if I am finding myself hungry and stuck somewhere that otherwise only offers questionable (or definitely off limits) food options due to obvious gluten exposure possibilities. The bars fit easily in that cup-holder in my car, or in a jacket pocket or shorts pocket (note: I don't carry around any types that would *melt* in a pocket).
As for where to locate these gluten-free snack bars. I have found that I can get most of them at either Whole Foods or mail order via Amazon.com's grocery section, and other grocers carry some too. Amazon didn't have all the varieties, but for the varieties Amazon carries, their prices were rather decent. NOTE: Amazon has items they themselves sell and stock - which are usually a great deal and even include Free Super Saver shipping many times - but they also have many other vendors that sell items via Amazon.com that may not be such a good deal and will cost you shipping most of the time; so, if ordering from Amazon, take time to look around on there and make sure you get a good deal which most often applies to items "shipped and sold by Amazon.com" or such.
Happy snacking everyone!