Product Review - The YouBar Custom Energy Bar
Looking for a Sugar-free Bar
For a time, I was happy with my store-bought protein bar, one that listed no refined sugar in its ingredient list. Then one day, I was munching my usual chocolate-chip bar and thought that it tasted really good. Really, really good, better than usual good, in that sugar-high kind of way. Mystified, I checked the wrapper and read the ingredients. I found it right away: sugar, listed as the fifth ingredient in the list.
I was devastated. This was my favorite bar that, up until then, met all my requirements: dairy-free, soy-free, and refined sugar-free. Now I had to start a new search for the perfect bar.
The Larabar was always an option, but I've always found the Larabar to be tasteless and gritty, often stale, and with a sort of pruney aftertaste. I decided that what I wanted was a fresher version of the Larabar, without the prune finish. There didn't seem to be anything like that in the stores, so I turned to the internet to do some research.
I Found the YouBar
The YouBar company offers custom made energy bars and popular "stock" bars with names like "Great Date With Chocolate." The custom bars run about $3 each for a minimum order of one box of 13 bars. By "custom made," they mean that you pick a base of either organic dates, a nut-butter or both, then add-in a selection of protein powders, fruit, nuts, seeds, natural sweeteners, grains and other taste treats. They calculate the nutritional content of your resulting bar, and tell you if your selections will result in a pleasing taste combination.
The YouBar website is easy to navigate, of minimalist design and quite helpful. For my first YouBar creation, I chose a base of cashew butter and organic dates. To this I added organic rice protein, cashews and almonds, shredded coconut, cacao nibs and unsweetened cocoa, vanilla extract, crunchy rice cereal, and a combination of agave syrup and brown rice syrup as sweetener. Clicking on their "taste tester" button, I was told that my selection would be "mouthwatering" with "a pleasing texture." Satisfied, I named my bar "Karen's Fancy Bar" and placed my order.
My YouBar arrived in less than 10 days, well packaged in a YouBar box, wrapped in bubble wrap,and sent in a cardboard mailing box. On the invoice was a code that I could use to more easily order a batch of the same bar, if I wanted, rather than try to recreate the bar ingredient combination via the website.
My Fancy Bar was decidedly fresh, with good texture and lots of recognizable nuts and other ingredients. In other words, they looked like something you might make in your own kitchen if you had the time and the talent. While I would have liked a sweeter bar, it was sweet enough. I could taste the cocoa, and the cacao nibs were strangely addictive.
My plan was to eat half a bar at a time, about 100 calories, so that the 13 bars would last about a month. Half a bar was never enough, though, and within two short weeks, my Fancy Bars were gone.
How to Build a YouBar
I Recommend YouBar
I've since ordered another box of custom YouBars, this time with a peanut-butter and organic dates base, those addictive cacao nibs, and a little extra sweetener. I anticipate that they will be as good as the Fancy Bars, possibly even better.
YouBars are an excellent custom choice for someone who wants to know exactly what's in the bar, or for someone who doesn't want a bar made with refined sugar, whey or soy. You can select the size of the bar - small, medium or large - which also changes the calorie count a bit. I chose the small bar for my second order.
Custom YouBars are more expensive than the typical bar you buy at the grocery store, but the tradeoff is that you get a much fresher bar, you know what's in it, and you can get something tailored to your needs. If you are like me and need something without whey, soy or refined sugar, you can get what you need and it tastes good. In my opinion, it's well worth the cost.