Luna Bars: “Nutrition” for Women

Apple-and-Peanut-ButterI had no idea until today that Luna Bars are actually specifically marketed to women. The Luna brand is a sub-brand of Clif. Now I don’t know if the packaging has always said “for women” on it, but today when I was shopping I noticed it because they had a sample station where you could try the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut bar and the S’mores bar.

Let me say up front that I have nothing against Luna bars. In fact, both of my samples were delicious, like eating a candy bar really.  But it’s the idea that they are “for women” that got me curious.

I asked the woman who was in charge of the Luna samples.  She said something about iron and vitamin D, and then as she walked away she mumbled something like, “I don’t actually know why they say ‘for women’ on them.”

So when I got home I went to the website. The Luna Bar website is quite an interesting place to go.  It’s got a whole section about nutrition where it tells you that when you get a snack attack at the office you can reach for hummus and veggies or…I’ll give you one guess.  Yes! A Luna Bar.

The nutrition page also has information about how to find your “power curve.” That’s about keeping fueled so you don’t run out of energy before the end of the day. You can find your “happy place” between lunch and dinner with a S’mores Luna Bar. In other words, the Luna Bar (of any flavour) is, according to the website, a great thing to include in “smart snacking.”

Luna’s four key ingredients that make it a “whole nutrition bar for women” (trademark) are calcium, vitamin D, iron, and folic acid.  Adults need all of these, but the blurbs say that women of childbearing age especially need folic acid to fend of neural tube birth defects and that women under 50 need 18g of iron per day, over 50 they need 8g.

Using the White Chocolate Macademia Nut bar as an example, you’ll get 15% of your daily vitamin D, 30% of your daily iron (for women under 50, let’s assume), 35% of your calcium and 100% of your folate.  You’ll also get 7g of fat, 25g of carbs, 11g of sugar, 9g of protein and a total of 190 calories.

That’s not too bad for an occasional snack, I agree.  It’s a bit better than a Kit Kat Bar. A Kit Kat’s 210 calories will give you 11g of fat, 27g of carbs, only 3g of protein, 6% of your daily calcium requirement, and undisclosed amounts (if any) of iron, vitamin D, and folate. And despite how much I love Kit Kats, I actually thought the Luna Bar was tastier.

In the end, I didn’t buy it because (a) the fact that it’s marketed as “whole nutrition women” seemed a bit….I can’t quite find the word I want…”shady” maybe?  (b) I’m already maxed out of storage space with a box of Clif Bars and a box of Protein Builder bars, and I actually don’t eat them all that often (maybe twice a week at most).

In the spirit of many websites these days, Luna’s website goes far beyond the bar itself in a section called Luna Life.  Why?   Because…

You’re not only what you eat. Here we take a look at what feeds your strength. Whether you’re an athlete, an artist, a foodie, or just plain awesome, we hope you’ll find something here just for you.

And they are indeed doing some good things on that page, all by way of encouraging us to incorporate Luna Bars into our lifestyle.  Do I object to that broad kind of marketing? Not necessarily.  In a capitalist economy the bar that can lodge itself into our brain and become associated with our healthy and active lifestyles is the bar that will do the best.

In targeting women, Luna is attempting to do just that — to become associated with a certain type of lifestyle–active, yogic, accepting of who we are, providing us with positive messages such as “love your legs for what they can do, not just how they look” (though someone who can’t walk might not appreciate that message, non-disabled women with body image issues sure can use the pep talk).

And of course Luna supports causes that appeal to many women — breast cancer research, and a charity called “healthy child, healthy world.”

But let’s get back to the Luna Bar and its place in a well-rounded diet.  Whatever they say about “whole nutrition for women,” the fact remains that a Luna Bar is not the best or the worst thing to reach for if you need something between meals.  It’s got a treat-like quality and, I think, is probably as satisfying as a chocolate bar while slightly more nutritious.

The thing is, you’re probably better of still going for the apple slices with peanut butter that they mention, or the hummus, or a handful of almonds and a few raisins.  For me, I need to be cautious of my motives for purchasing things like this. If I like them too much, then they become regular parts of my diet when they only deserve to be occasional.

But now I’m rambling.

LUNA is all about good food and good nutrition, but let’s face it: You’re not ONLY what you eat. Here we take a closer look at what feeds your strength. Whether you’re an athlete, an artist, a foodie or just plain awesome, we hope you’ll find something here for you. – See more at:
LUNA is all about good food and good nutrition, but let’s face it: You’re not ONLY what you eat. Here we take a closer look at what feeds your strength. Whether you’re an athlete, an artist, a foodie or just plain awesome, we hope you’ll find something here for you. – See more at:

24 thoughts on “Luna Bars: “Nutrition” for Women

    1. I bought a 15 pack of the Lemon Zest ones, because they taste good, my wife doesn’t eat them, I do. I started buying them at the store because they said Lemon Zest on them, later I found out they said “for women” on them. I don’t care though, I love ’em #Luna. #lemonzest

  1. There are protein bars out there that will give you 20g of protein or more. I’ll eat Quest bars, and even Atkins bars that have only 15g of protein – maybe 3 or 4 a week – and they’re definitely a treat. But 9g of protein? IMHO, that’s a joke for a protein bar.

  2. I started buying Luna bars for my kids for a quick snack at school that had a decent amount of protein to keep them satisfied, but without as many crappy ingredients. It took forever for one of them to notice that it says “For women” on it, and then he just shrugged it off. I keep a few with me in my purse, in case a quick snack is needed by either them or me. It’s convenient and it’s pretty tasty. Like them, I ignore the whole “for women” marketing. It’s a decent amount of protein for a snack and tastes significantly better than any bar by Atkins and has better ingredients.

  3. Just read an article on the Internet entitled “The 5 best and worst nutrition bars”. Luna bars ranked as the worst nutrition bar on the market! I can’t say whether this is true, as I do not have the requisite expertise. Quest bars with 20g of protein ranked as the second best.

  4. I don’t eat them, not enough protein, and I don’t much like them but I’ve also assumed that it’s a portion control thing based on women’s size/daily calories intake. They’re in the middle category, not an energy bar, like a cliff bar, good for long bike rides, quick easy carbs. And not enough protein to count as a protein bar. You can find granola bars, much cheaper, with 9 gram of protein a bar, less than $3 for the box. (That’s what I buy for kids.)

    1. I also don’t eat Luna bars for the same reason – I want more protein in them. I like the Clif Builder bars for this reason. They have like 20 grams of protein, plus their chocolate mint flavor is so good it’s like eating a candy bar.

  5. Sam, I haven’t seen any granola bars with that much protein. Which ones do you buy?

      1. The ones I have at home have only 2 grams. Are they nut-heavy? The problem is that my kids won’t eat them with nuts.

  6. The problem with alot of these nutrition bars is the high levels of sugar and sugar alcohols in them. These levels pretty much guarantee, as I understand it, that you’ll have the dreaded sugar crash soon after you eat them, then you’ll feel famished, and want – almost need – another sweet.

  7. I don’t eat Luna bars (unless I get them as freebies) and generally I agree with you in that I am really skeptical of the idea that nutrition should be women specific, but I also have to say that I’ve been considering buying their products, for the simple reason that they are huge supporters of women’s cycling: They were one of the first to sponsor an all-women mountain biking team, for instance.

    Consequently I find myself torn between my tendency to critique capitalism in all things and my desire to support female athletes, because I know that for the vast majority of athletes (especially female athletes), corporate sponsorship is what allows them to do their thing.

  8. I eat them because I love them.. not for any nutritional or health benefits or because I’m going to be awesome because of it.

    Their Carrot Cake one to me is like a true treat.. it is delicious.. and I figure better than grabbing a candybar, plus I prefer the taste over chocolate anyway. 😉


  9. I have been upping my protein uptake by adding chia seeds to oatmeal, a teaspoon of peanut butter sautéed with veggies, soy sauce and a splash of orange juice…yum. Bars were a food eatten in my recent past. I am on a food exploration now.

  10. I like them because they are one of the lower calorie options as far as such bars go, and they taste awesome. I don’t eat them regularly, but I’ll get them for long hikes or days spent wandering around where I want to have snacks on hand.

    My boyfriend unashamedly buys the lemon luna bars. He alternately jokes about eating his “manly protein bars” and wonders why the delicious lemon bar is marketed only to women.

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