The Santa Barbara Bar

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I’m not a huge fan of granola bars. I just don’t like how dry they tend to be, or how they stick in your teeth, and some of them are downright rock hard (I generally avoid eating rocks, y’know). But every now and then I get a wild hair, and try a new flavor or brand, especially if it claims to be super healthy, and avoid nasty chemicals, fillers, and genetically modified ingredients.

The Santa Barbara Bar claims to be all of that, and a good source of protein, so when a complimentary sample showed up on our door step, we decided to give them a shot.

Santa Barbara Bar

Santa Barbara Bar

Santa Barbara Bar provides you with a delicious taste, wonderful chewing experience, and great nutritional benefits from super foods like cranberries, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. Best of all, our bars are gluten free, provide a good source of protein and fiber, and contain no added soy protein or refined sugars. ~ Santa Barbara Bar website

Sounds great, no? Of course! Unfortunately, we have some concerns about these claims, but I’ll get to that in a minute. First, let me tell you about the bars we tried…

Santa Barbara Bar: Peanut Chocolate Cherry

Santa Barbara Bar: Peanut Chocolate Cherry

The Peanut, Chocolate, Cherry Santa Barbara Bar was first out of the box. Serenity saw it, and about lost her little toddler mind – she LOVES cookies, and was convinced this was the cookie to end all cookies. Because of her injured teeth, we couldn’t let her have it, but Nick gave a good showing as “Dad of the Year” and mushed a few pieces up for her to try. From her reaction, you’d have thought they were full of baby crack! HUGE hit with the toddler tastebuds. See her photo bombing the picture on the right, there??

Nick didn’t like the Peanut, Chocolate, Cherry bar. He said it was too tough, and not sweet enough. After trying it myself, I had to agree with him, but it wasn’t all bad. It does boast a nice combination of crunchy and gooey, and I liked that the sweet-factor was pretty mild. In my opinion, it would have benefited from additional chocolate.

This bar claims the following health benefits…

  • Good Source of Protein
  • Gluten & GMO Free
  • No Soy Protein Added

Taking a great deal of care with what kind of ingredients go into our bodies on a daily basis, I couldn’t help but read the ingredients list automatically, despite the wonderful health claims on the front of the wrapper. Unfortunately, what I found was very disappointing.

The majority of the ingredients are fantastic – peanuts, gluten free oats, dried cherries, chia seeds, sea salt – but one glaring ingredient leaped out at me immediately. SOY LECITHIN.

While the front of the package says “no soy protein added” rather than “soy free”, most people are going to assume that it’s the same thing. The problem, here, is that while soy lecithin is unlikely to be a big deal for a generally healthy individual, not so for anyone struggling with fertility issues, hormone imbalances, or soy sensitivities or allergies. Furthermore, the amount of soy protein found in soy lecithin is not well regulated, and can vary wildly depending on its source, AND unless it’s labeled in the ingredients as “organic soy lecithin”, consumers are generally advised to assume that the soy it is derived from comes from a GMO source. The soy lecithin in this product is not labeled “organic”, so it leads me to question whether the Santa Barbara Bar is truly 100% GMO Free. Could it be a slip on the part of whomever wrote the ingredients list? Or…? Either way, I consider this less than honest labeling practice. (Learn more about soy lecithin here.)

Additionally (though less important from a health perspective), the website indicates that this bar is made with dark chocolate, but the ingredients list semi-sweet chocolate instead.

You can learn more about the Peanut, Chocolate, Cherry Santa Barbara Bar on their website, and view the full ingredients list and nutrition label for yourself. If you’re not concerned about soy content, and this sounds like something you would enjoy eating, you can purchase a box of 12 bars for $23.88.

Santa Barbara Bar: Coconut Almond & Cranberry White Chocolate

Santa Barbara Bar: Cranberry White Chocolate

Next up, we tried the Cranberry White Chocolate Santa Barbara Bar. After a massive tantrum when she realized she would not be given the previous “cookie”, Serenity was ensconced in blankets and distracted by Sesame Street, so the toddler taste buds didn’t weigh in, this time. Nick bowed out, too, so I had the pleasure of taste-testing solo.

I loved the fruity notes of the cranberries, and how their tartness played off of the sweet notes from the white chocolate. This bar was also far more pliable than the first one, and much easier to bite and chew, which I appreciate in a granola bar.

This bar claims the following health benefits…

  • Good Source of Protein
  • Gluten Free
  • No Soy Protein Added

This bar boasts a line up of truly wonderful ingredients, too – sunflower seeds, cranberries, cashew butter, gluten free oats, pumpkin seeds, chicory fiber, currants, chia seeds. But like the first bar, the Cranberry White Chocolate Santa Barbara Bar also contains soy lecithin.

You can find out more about the Cranberry White Chocolate Santa Barbara Bar on their website, and read the ingredients list and nutrition label for yourself. If you’re not concerned about the soy content, and this sounds yummy to you, a box of 12 is $23.88 online.

Santa Barbara Bar: Coconut Almond

Finally, I broke out the bar I was most excited to try – the Coconut Almond Santa Barbara Bar.

I am a huge fan of coconut and the sweet tones of almond, and I was not disappointed by this granola bar. Like the previous bar, it was easy to chew, and easy on my teeth. All the flavors of the bar married for a wonderful taste sensation that was both bursting with flavor, and mild in sweetness. TWO THUMBS UP!!!

This bar claims the following health benefits…

  • Good Source of Protein
  • Gluten, Soy, & GMO Free
  • No Refined Sugar

Delicious ingredients followed suit with the previous two bars – almonds, gluten free oats, raisins, pumpkin seeds, coconut, dates, honey, chia seeds, sea salt. And this time, the bar was actually soy free!! Which made me EXTREMELY happy, not just because it was honest labeling, but because I really LOVE these granola bars, and would consider picking them up if I see them at the store. #happydance

You can learn more about the Coconut Almond Santa Barbara Bar on their website, and read the ingredients list and nutrition label for yourself. If these sound as delicious to you as they do to me, you can pick up a box of 12 for $23.88 online.

Want to know more about Santa Barbara Bars? Find them here…

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Note: These products are produced in a facility that also produces products containing milk, peanuts, soy, and eggs.

Diclosure: The products discussed in this post were provided to us complimentary, for review consideration. All opinions are our own. To learn more, you can read our Disclosure.

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4 comments on “The Santa Barbara Bar”

  1. Dominique said:

    These look rather good! I don’t stick to a special diet, but I LOVE good granola bars! Had never heard of this brand, but I will have to keep an eye out for them now!
    Dominique recently posted…My Favorite Paid Survey Sites That Pay In Cash or Amazon!

    1. I really do love the Coconut Almond Santa Barbara Bar. It’s something I would buy, for sure, if I saw it in stores!

  2. Amanda Love said:

    Don’t you just hate false labeling? I’ll have to check them out myself as well. My toddler and oldest daughter loves granola bars.
    Amanda Love recently posted…Get a Healthier Smile with Branam Smile – Review & Giftpack Giveaway

    1. Yes, it drives me bananas. #annoyed Especially since I already have to read the entire label anyway, to avoid soy, so when it says there’s no soy it’d be nice to be able to just trust that.

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