Sunday, June 24, 2012

Traveling With Food Allergies - A Review on Snack Bars and Nut Butters

Earlier in the week I posted information on successful allergy-free travel.  I mentioned some of my favorite bars and individual pouches of nut butters, but I didn't do much of a review.  

So on Friday when I unpacked the last of my emergency food kit I came across the things I had left over and thought I'd share them with you before we change the subject and dive into the Pros and Cons of a Raw Food Diet.

As I briefly mentioned in one of my posts from last week, some of these are a bit more like a dessert, and can even fool you into thinking you are eating a candy bar, while others have a bit more protein.

Let's go through the options in this photo . . .

J Robb bars are the highest in protein because they incorporate whey.  This whey does come from cow's milk and so some of you may find that even whey is problematic for you.  If you can tolerate some whey now and then, this is a good option as a protein meal replacement for those emergencies.   It's very peanut-buttery and chewy.  While I do use them from time to time in a real pinch (especially on long airline flights) you can see that it was in my stash of "left-overs" because I was doing my best to avoid the whey on this trip.

Larabars are raw fruit and nut bars.  Dates provide the sweetness and account for the 18+ grams of sugars and 23 grams of carbs.  They do contain approximately 6 grams of protein and healthy fats from the nuts and coconut.  Think of these more as a snack than a meal replacement.  I am particularly fond of the Chocolate-Coconut Chews and ate a couple of them along the way.

Kind bars come in a variety of flavors like the Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew variety.  Like Larabars, they are essentially fruit and nut bars.  The big difference is the variety of fruit and the whole, rather than ground nuts.  However, Kind bars do contain some sugar . . . so once again this bar, while a delicious dessert substitute or a snack was also left in my stash!

Cliff Mojo bars are, in my opinion, can best be described as a healthier candy bar.  They are very sweet and contain both cane sugar and brown rice syrup but surprisingly only 10 grams of sugars.  They also contain soy (non-GMO) for all of you who are avoiding soy. However the addition of the soy upped the protein to 6 grams.   My daughter Angela warned me that it was going to be really good . . . and it was!  

Pure Organic bars are also a lot like a GF healthier dessert . . . especially this chocolate brownie bar!  The only grain involved is in the form of rice protein.  The sweeteners are both dates and agave nectar and total 16 grams of sugars.  The nuts include almonds, cashews and walnuts, and with all of them included I actually expected more than 6 grams of protein.

All-in-all I do use them sparingly, and consider that when it comes to "road trip emergency snacks" they are great with a cup of tea or coffee when you really need a little pick-me-up!

Now on to the foil packets of nut butters . . .

I don't have any of the Artisana brand options in the photo - I guess you can tell I enjoyed them along the way!!!  My particular favorites are the walnut and the cashew varieties.  Lots of creamy protein, healthy fats and no added sugars!

However Justin's offers a few really delicious varieties like Chocolate Hazelnut, Almond Butter, Chocolate Almond, Maple Almond, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Peanut Butter.  Even though the chocolate and maple varieties do contain sugars, there are only 3 grams of sugars and 6 grams of protein - so a better ratio than the bars.  I like to combine them with celery sticks or apple wedges for a healthier option.  Each "mess-less" foil pouch contains 1 serving although I often eat only half at a time.

I hope you find this info helpful in making good decisions about your "road trip" vacation food!

Here is the type of cooler I used . . .

I have found these soft sided coolers invaluable in my travels!  I purchased mine at a Walgreens drug store and it was a fantastic size.  To help keep your food cooler I used cool packs.  You can either go with the traditional variety or you can find these covered gel packs that do not sweat!  You can find them at

I hope these give you some ideas for your next allergy-free vacation.

Dr. P

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