Green Product Review: CLIF Kid Organic ZBaR

Review summary: My household tries CLIF Kid Organic ZBaRs and most of the organic flavors are winners, plus these bars have almost zero cons.

Product: CLIF Kid Organic ZBaRs from Clif Bar & Company. Available in seven flavors; Spooky S’mores, Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate Chip, Honey Graham, Peanut Butter, Blueberry and Chocolate Brownie.

Use: Created for kids. Good for a snack or when paired with fruit and milk can be a decent fast breakfast.

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Cost: At my local grocery store I think I’ve been paying around $3.00-$4.00+ per box (6 per box). A better deal is to buy these in bulk. Such as the Clif Kid Zbar Variety Pack from Amazon which works out to 58 cents per bar.

Ingredients: Vary by flavor of course. I’m posting the ingredients for Cedar’s three favorite bars Chocolate Chip, Spooky S’mores and Honey Graham.

Chocolate Chip – Organic Chocolate Chips (Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavors), Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Oat Flour, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Fig Paste, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice Syrup, Organic Maple Syrup, Organic Soy Butter, Organic Chocolate (Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavors), Natural Flavors, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Oat Fiber, Baking Soda, Salt.

Spooky S’mores – Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Oat Flour, Organic Fig Paste, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Chocolate Chips (Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavors), Organic Evaporated Cane Juice Syrup, Organic Honey, Organic White Chunks (Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Rice Extract, Organic Vanilla Extract), Organic Soy Butter, Organic Chocolate (Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavors), Natural Flavors, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Oat Fiber, Baking Soda, Salt.

Honey Graham - Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Oat Flour, Organic Fig Paste, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Honey, Organic Soy Butter, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice Syrup, Organic Oat Fiber, Organic White Coating (Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Rice Extract, Organic Vanilla Extract), Natural Flavors, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Baking Soda, Salt.

Green & healthy benefits:

  • USDA Certified Organic.
  • 120-140 calories per bar (per various flavors). This is higher than many conventional granola bars on the market (see Quaker comparison below). Many granola and snack bars aimed at kids have about 80-100 calories, however, they also lack whole grains, real ingredients like dried fruit and have fewer vitamins. ZBaRs weigh in with a few more calories because they’re more nutritious. It’s like comparing white bread to whole wheat.
  • Zero pesticides, no high fructose corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils and no artificial flavors.
  • Each CLIF ZBaR contains 7 grams of whole grains and 3 grams of total fiber from oats, which is as many whole grains as found in ¼ cup brown rice or cooked barley and twice the fiber.
  • Non-GMO sourced ingredients.
  • Each ZBaR flavor contains 12 essential vitamins and minerals which is healthier than many conventional bars on the market. For example, we can compare these bars to a typical bar I see parents give kids – Quaker Chewy Granola Bars.  Quaker Chewy no longer have added high fructose corn syrup, or so they say, but take a closer look and you’ll see that the chocolate chips in their bars DO have high fructose corn syrup and there are corn syrup solids added. Also, their bars have a lot of extra ingredients your kids don’t need like added citrus acid, artificial colors and flavors. The Quaker bars aren’t a significant source of vitamin C or A and are much lower in iron and calcium than ZBaRs. Plus, Quaker bars aren’t organic.
  • Full disclosure – the company lists ingredients at their website, on the boxes and on individual bar packaging.
  • Clif Bar & Company has many eco-friendly perks as a company and very few cons. Learn more about Clif Bar & Company in general.

What we think:

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Cedar (nine years old) + Dave and me (adults) + my best friend and her three-year-old daughter taste tested all the flavors except Apple Cinnamon. Flavors tested include Spooky S’mores, Chocolate Chip, Honey Graham, Peanut Butter, Blueberry and Chocolate Brownie.

No one complained about any of the flavors except Chocolate Brownie. My son Cedar says, “The chocolate brownie is way too sweet!” Cedar likes sweet snacks sometimes, but I’ve noticed he doesn’t like too much sweet in whole grain type snacks.

The three-year-old, Bella, almost got violent when her mama tried to take the blueberry bar away so she could taste it – Bella REALLY liked the blueberry bars. Cedar’s favorite bars were the S’mores, Chocolate Chip and Honey Graham – he said, “All kids should get to eat these!

Overall the kids ate these up and asked for more, more, more. Every time we go shopping now Cedar wants these. A major perk for us is the lack of high fructose corn syrup. Cedar’s school banned it, so Cedar has become frantic about following the rule. These bars are perfect to send for a snack because well, they’re not banned.

The adults liked them too. I’m not an energy bar fan at all, although Dave is so we got two different opinions. For an energy type bar I thought these tasted pretty good and they were not so chewy and tough but soft. Basically I could eat these, although I probably won’t as a general rule just because I don’t eat bars. Dave really liked them citing better flavor than most adult bars he eats although he says, “They’re not as filling as adult bars” which we figure makes sense as these are for kids. Dave’s still taking them to work as a snack though.

I also like that the box is made with 100% recycled materials and carries a recycling reminder.

Were there any negatives?

  • Cedar really loved the S’mores flavor and it’s impossible to find at the store. I frequent two grocery stores and each only seems to carry the Chocolate Chip and Honey Graham. That’s annoying.
  • Still more packaging than homemade. If you make a homemade bar at home you’ll likely end up with more calories, less nutritional value, but also less packaging and less sodium – it’s kind of a toss up. If I could find a homemade bar that’s nutritionally comparable to these, I’d make them at home.
  • Chocolate Brownie and S’mores may be too sweet for some kids.
  • I can’t tell if the individual bar wrappers are recyclable. We’ve been recycling them anyhow, but we don’t know if we can.

Overall score:

4.5 little trees out of 5. So far as taste goes CLIF Kid Organic ZBaRs were a total winner. The kids can’t get enough of these. So far as buying prepackaged over homemade – well it bothers me which is why I took off half a point. We try to limit packaging. Overall though I get that time-wise and nutritional wise homemade isn’t always the best choice, so I’m recommending these to green families on the go. Your kids will love them, you’ll even like the taste and there’s nothing in these bars to be concerned about health-wise unless your child has a soy/nut allergy – these bars may contain trace amounts of peanut, dairy, wheat and nut trees.

Learn more:

See my green product rating system and green product rating criteria or read more green product reviews.

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