Navigating Larabars on Whole30: How to Stay Compliant

Larabars have become a popular on-the-go snack among the Whole30 community. While many flavors of these fruit and nut bars are Whole30 approved, some flavors include ingredients that are not Whole30 compliant. It is important to do your research to be sure you avoid non-compliant bars during your Whole30 program.

What Makes a Larabar Whole30 Compliant?

Some members of the Whole30 community refer to Larabars as “the Whole 30 candy bar.” It’s true that Larabars’ naturally sweet ingredients, often consisting of Whole30 compliant ingredients like dates and cashews are often Whole30 compliant. But some would argue that using Larabars to cure a sweet craving during the program goes against the Whole 30 philosophy. This has sparked some controversy as to whether Larabars are an acceptable food to eat on the Whole30 program.

Candy bar debate aside, even though many flavors of Larabars are technically Whole30 compliant lots of flavors are not allowed. In order to determine if a Larabar is Whole30 compliant, you must carefully read the labels of each flavor. The good news is, we’ve done the work for you, compiling a list of all the compliant Larabars and their ingredients.

When looking for Whole30 compliant Larabars, the primary ingredients to avoid include sweeteners such as vanilla extract, chocolate chips, and peanuts (or peanut butter). These ingredients fall under the “no added sweeteners” and “no legumes” rules on Whole30, making any Larabars with these ingredients non-compliant.

It’s safe to assume that if you see chocolate chips listed as an ingredient, that bar is not allowed on Whole30 Other ingredients may be a little more tricky to identify. Making this even more complicated, Larabar has also recently released three new product lines including Fruits & Greens, Protein, and Organic with Superfoods, whose ingredients differ from the original bars.

One sneaky ingredient to look for in Larabars is anything labeled as “extract.” Extracts are a type of artificial sweetener and are not allowed on Whole30. Common extracts found in Larabars include vanilla extract, blueberry extract, and lemon extract. Some bars will have flavored oils, which are different from extracts since they typically come from a natural source. If a Larabar contains lemon oil, it is considered Whole30 compliant, but if it contains lemon extract, it is not.

Another ingredient found in many Larabar flavors that is not necessarily banned on Whole30 is cocoa powder. According to an interesting debate between the Whole30 founders, even the couple who wrote the diet plan don’t agree on whether or not cocoa powder should be consumed during the program. However, it would appear that if cocoa powder is going to be allowed on the program, it should only be 100% pure cocoa powder.

The cocoa powder found in Larabars is labeled “unsweetened” but it has been processed into powder form so we do not know if it is truly 100% cocoa. Additionally, while cocoa powder is not totally forbidden on Whole30, remember that it is highly discouraged to combine cocoa with other naturally sweet ingredients to make a dessert-like snack. Many Larabars including cocoa powder are labeled as Whole30 compliant, however, so we’ll let you draw your own conclusions on whether to include Larabars with cocoa powder in your Whole30 program.

The most important thing to remember about Larabars is that they’re to be used in emergency snack situations only, and not as a regular staple in your Whole30 diet.

Whole30 Compliant Larabars

Below is a list of Larabar flavors that are considered Whole30 compliant based on their ingredients. For the sake of this list, we have included the flavors with cocoa powder as long as all other ingredients were also Whole30 compliant.

Original Bars

Apple Pie

Dates, Almonds, Unsweetened Apples, Walnuts, Raisins, Cinnamon

Banana Bread

Almonds, Dates, Unsweetened Bananas

Carrot Cake

Dates, Almonds, Walnuts, Raisins, Dried Pineapple, Unsweetened Coconut, Carrots, Cinnamon, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Cashew Cookie

Cashews, Dates

Cherry Pie

Dates, Almonds, Unsweetened Cherries

Chocolate Coconut Chew

Dates, Almonds, Walnuts, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened Coconut

Coconut Creme Pie

Dates, Unsweetened Coconut, Almonds, Cashews, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Key Lime Pie

Dates, Cashews, Almonds, Unsweetened Coconut, Lime Juice Concentrate, Dried Lime Juice Concentrate

Lemon Bar

Dates, Cashews, Almonds, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Dried Lemon Juice Concentrate, Lemon Oil

Pecan Pie

Dates, Pecans, Almonds

Pumpkin Pie

Dates, Cashews, Apples, Almonds, Pumpkin, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Ginger

Organic with Superfood

Blueberry Lavender Hemp

Dates, Almonds, Apples, Hemp Seeds, Blueberries, Lavender Oil

Buy at Walmart

Turmeric Ginger Beet

Dates, Almonds, Unsweetened Apples, Beet Powder, Turmeric, Ginger

Fruits & Greens

Strawberry Spinach Cashew

Strawberry, Spinach, Cashews, Apricot, Unsweetened Apples


Pineapple Kale Cashew

Dried Pineapple, Kale, Cashews, Apricot, Unsweetened Apples

Blueberry Spinach Cashew

Apples, Apricot, Cashews, Blueberries, Spinach

Protein

Apple Cobbler

Dates, Almonds, Pea Protein, Apples, Cinnamon, Sea Salt

For a list of non-compliant Larabars, click here to jump below.

Use Caution During Whole30

If you are incorporating Larabars into your Whole30 program, keep in mind that they should be used only in food emergencies and not something you’re eating on a daily basis. A “food emergency” is described by Whole30 founder Melissa Harwig as “unexpected situations in which you may find yourself needing sustenance without an easy Whole30-compliant meal in sight.” These situations could include stuck late at work, kids sporting events, delayed flights, or a social gathering serving non-compliant food.

Larabars are not a good source of protein, so they will not keep you full for very long meaning you’ll be looking for more to eat shortly after the first one. Always try to eat a meal containing whole foods from the Whole30 meal template rather than a grab n go type of snack.

You should not depend on Larabars during Whole30 because they go against the spirit of the program that encourages you to eat real, whole foods and avoid snacking. Although the ingredients may be compliant, that doesn’t change the fact that you are eating a snack bar.

Another reason to avoid Larabars on Whole30 is because they may inadvertently become a meal replacement, treat, or dessert to satisfy your sugar cravings. This wholly violates the spirit and intention behind the Whole30 program which is why Whole30 strongly recommends you do not eat Larabars on the program.

There are other bar options that are technically Whole30 compliant, including some flavors of Rxbar, Chomps, and Epic Bars. Rxbar is a better choice than Larabar because the egg white ingredient provides a complete protein. Both Chomps and Epic Bars are meat-based, meaning they also provide better satiety than Larabars. However, these bars still fall into the “emergency only” food category on Whole30 and should be used sparingly.

Whole30 founders Melissa and Dallas Hartwig recently released a letter to the Whole30 community announcing the end of their partnership with Rxbar and two other previously Whole30 approved partners, Beaver Bites and Yawp bars. In the letter, they stated the reason for ending their partnership with these products was due to the Whole30 community misusing the bars outside of emergency situations, and instead using them as a sweet treat to satisfy sugar cravings. They wanted to clean up their messaging to ensure the Whole30 community was getting the right information to help promote a successful Whole30 program.

The Whole30 founders went on to say that meat based bars like Chomps and Epic Bars are still considered Whole30 partners since their products could not be mistaken as a sweet treat, but they too should be used only occasionally on Whole30.

The Bottom Line

No matter what you choose for your emergency food, make sure to read the nutrition labels carefully. Brands might advertise their products as Whole30 compliant but it is up to you to read the ingredients. In particular, ensure that you are avoiding ingredients such as processed sugar or added sugars of any kind, dextrose-like ingredients, MSG, white wine, extracts, corn starch, or carrageenan.

With Whole30 revoking their endorsement of all nut and fruit bars, they are sending a clear message that these snack bars should not be a staple in your Whole30 program. Think about your goals with the Whole30 program and plan your snacking habits accordingly.

Non-Compliant Larabars

Below is a list of all Larabars that contain at least one ingredient that is not Whole30 compliant.

Original Bars

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip

Almonds, Dates, Semisweet Chocolate Chips, Apples, Cocoa Powder, Sea Salt

Banana Chocolate Chip

Dates, Almonds, Unsweetened Bananas, Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Blueberry Muffin

Cashews, Dates, Apples, Blueberries, Vanilla Extract

Chocolate Chip Brownie

Dates, Chocolate Chips, Almonds, Walnuts, Cocoa Powder, Sea Salt

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Cashews, Dates, Semisweet Chocolate* (Unsweetened Chocolate, Cane Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Vanilla Extract), Apples, Sea Salt, Vanilla Extract

Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl

Dates, Hazelnuts, Almonds, Semisweet Chocolate Chips* (Unsweetened Chocolate, Cane Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Vanilla Extract), Pears, Cocoa Powder*, Sea Salt, Vanilla Extract

Cinnamon Roll

Dates, Walnuts, Almonds, Raisins, Cinnamon, Sea Salt

Coconut Chocolate Chip

Dates, Semisweet Chocolate Chips, Unsweetened Coconut, Cashews, Almonds

Gingerbread

Dates, Cashews, Almonds, Raisins, Cinnamon, Ginger, Allspice, Vanilla Extract

Mint Chip Brownie

Dates, Almonds, Semisweet Chocolate Chips, Cashews, Cocoa Powder, Peppermint Oil

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Dates, Peanuts, Unsweetened Cherries, Sea Salt

Peanut Butter Banana

Peanuts, Dates, Unsweetened Bananas, Apples, Peanut Oil, Sea Salt

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Dates, Peanuts, Chocolate Chips, Sea Salt

Peanut Butter Cookie

Dates, Peanuts, Sea Salt

Snickerdoodle

Dates, Cashews, Almonds, Cinnamon, Sea Salt, Vanilla Extract

Organic with Superfood

Hazelnut Hemp Cacao

Dates, Hazelnuts, Cacao Nibs, Hemp Seeds, Almonds, Cocoa Powder

Coconut Kale Cacao

Dates, Almonds, Coconut, Cacao Nibs, Kale, Cocoa Powder

Fruits & Greens

There are no fruits & greens bars that are non-compliant.

Protein

Lemon Blueberry Muffin

Dates, Almonds, Pea Protein, Apples, Blueberries, Blueberry Extract, Sea Salt, Lemon Extract

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

Dates, Peanuts, Pea Protein, Semisweet Chocolate* (Unsweetened Chocolate, Cane Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Vanilla Extract), Peanut Oil, Sea Salt

Almond Butter Chocolate Brownie

Dates, Almonds, Pea Protein, Semisweet Chocolate* (Unsweetened Chocolate, Cane Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Vanilla Extract), Cocoa

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