DIY Lemon Zest Luna Bars
I admit it. There was a day when my breakfast was always some sort of bar – PowerBar, Clif Bar, Luna Bar, Whatever-Was-On-Sale Bar. You name it, it was in my rotation. It was a “healthy start,” in my mind – protein, vitamins, minerals, all in an easy form factor.
Boy, was I mistaken.
2Chili has always been against commercially-made bars, I have to give him credit. It took me a while to realize that these engineered foods were doing me more harm than good, and they are expensive to boot. Packed full of sugar, preservatives, and questionable quality protein, these bars are really wasted calories and your body doesn’t really know what to do with them. Some are better than others, yes, but in general if it has more than 5 or 6 ingredients, it’s best to steer clear.
So, when reader Jenni left a comment asking if I had a homemade Luna Bar recipe, specifically lemon zest, I was a bit out of sorts. I haven’t had a Luna bar in years, opting for my homemade Clif Bars or Lara Bars instead.
I had the best intentions to figure out how to make her requested lemon zest flavor right away, went out and bought a few Luna Bars, and promptly broke my kneecap a few days later. Talk about a detour!
So…this has been on the back burner for a while, and I have had lots of time to think about how I would replicate the lemon Luna bar, which is honestly a good thing, because it took some time to decipher the ingredients list. I couldn’t even read the ingredients list on the label, so I had to go out to their website to figure out what was in them. Here’s what’s in a store-bought Lemon Zest Luna Bar. Wow, that is A LOT of stuff.
LunaPro ® (Soy Rice Crisps Soy Protein Isolate, Organic Rice Flour], Organic Toasted Oats [Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Dried Cane Syrup], Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soy Flour, Organic Flaxmeal), Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Coating (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Palm Kernel Oil, Organic Palm Kernel Oil, Organic Soy Flour, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla), Inulin (Chicory Extract), Lemon Fruit Pieces (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Glucose, Lemon Puree, Pectin, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Natural Flavor), Organic Soy Butter (Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soybean Oil, Salt), Organic Oat Syrup Solids, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavor, Organic Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Sea Salt. Vitamins & Minerals Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Oxide, Ferrous Fumarate (Iron), Niacinamide (Vit. B3), Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vit. E), Zinc Oxide, Molybdenum Glycinate, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6), Calcium Pantothenate, Beta Carotene (Vit. A), Manganese Sulfate, Selenium AAC, Riboflavin (Vit. B2), Chromium AAC, Ergocalciferol (Vit. D2), Thiamin (Vit. B1), Cyanocobalamin (Vit. B12), Folic Acid, Cupric Oxide, Phytonadione (Vit. K), Biotin, Potassium Iodide
I am a little frustrated that Luna bars are marketed as “nutrition for women” since they are based around soy and the last thing most women need is more soy. I could say so much about so many of these ingredients, but rather than make this post even longer, let’s just skip ahead to making a simpler, better for you version, mmmm-kay?
DIY Lemon Zest Luna Bars
Makes: 10 bars
Ingredients for the Bars
- 2 cups puffed rice cereal (or Rice Krispies)
- 1/2 cup oat flour (you can make your own!)
- 1/4 cup golden flax seed
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons unflavored or vanilla flavored protein powder of your choice (I like this one)
- 1/2 cup brown rice syrup (I used this one)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Ingredients for the Lemon Coating
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut butter (AKA coconut manna)
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- Zest from 1/2 lemon (wash your lemon before zesting it)
- 5-10 drops liquid stevia, or preferred sweetener to taste
- Spray a small sheet pan or cookie sheet or line with foil or parchment and set aside – you only need about 8×8 size
- Mix the dry ingredients for the bars in a medium bowl
- In a small sauce pan, heat the brown rice syrup and vanilla over low heat until it becomes pliable – not quite boiling, just thin
- Pour the syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and combine. Stir quickly! This sets up fast!
- Spread the bars into the prepared pan, pressing down hard with a spatula, and set aside
- In a small sauce pan, melt the coconut butter and coconut oil over low heat, then add Stevia
- Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and lemon zest and spread over top of the bars
- Refrigerate 30 minutes before cutting into bars