Growing up in Texas, Alison Bailey Vercruysse spent as much time as possible outside. She’d play for hours with her four brothers and sisters in the backyard, often with their rabbit, Blackjack, in tow. When they’d catch a whiff of their mom’s homemade organic granola wafting out the kitchen window, the kids would run inside for a crunchy, honey-coated bite.
Fast forward to 2016. Vercruysse is now a mom, and those fond childhood memories inspired her to start her own granola bar company, 18 Rabbits. The name comes from a family story: Once, the kids left Blackjack out in the yard, where she met a wild rabbit. A few weeks later, the family had 18 bunnies hopping around the house.
But back to the granola bars—because they’re made for kids, by a mom, they’re as healthy as they are tasty. Inspired by her mom’s granola, all three flavors—chocolate banana, chocolate cherry, and caramel apple—are certified organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free. Both chocolate bars are also made without nuts, so they’re ideal for school lunches.
And, with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving, 18 Rabbits’ granola bars are some of the healthiest out there. That’s about 10 to 20 percent less than most other bars on the market, according to 18 Rabbits marketing director Kelly LeCoy. Since they’re sweetened with honey, maple syrup, and dates instead of refined sugar, you can feel good about giving them to your little ones.
Plus, the bars are absolutely stuffed with good-for-you ingredients. Chia, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds pack in tons of the omega-3s and healthy fats that kids’ brains need to grow and develop, while whole grain oats add plenty of filling fiber. Even better, the brand sources only the highest quality organic ingredients directly from farmers—sunflower seeds from a small farm in Mexico and maple syrup produced on a Vermont family farm, to name a few. This way, 18 Rabbits can support locally owned producers and offer customers total transparency about where every single ingredient comes from.
Of course, the flavor is really the best of all. “These bars are so good, I literally had no idea they were meant for children,” as Thrive Market Fitness and Nutrition Editor Michelle Pellizzon says. With just the right amount of sweetness, every chewy bar gives kids of all ages the energy they need to ace a math test, nail a soccer tryout, or just spend an afternoon running around the backyard—with or without the baby bunnies.
Photo credit: Alicia Cho