You know how some people will try to convince you to eat something that’s good for you by telling you it tastes good? Disappointment usually follows. But in the case of MarthaBars, they really are both healthy and delicious.

The MarthaBar doesn’t claim to be low in calories or fat. It’s got 250 calories, about the same as a regular candy bar, and 35 percent of the recommended daily amount of saturated fat.

1108064_543092 Martha Bar.jpgBut it’s made with all of the good-for-you individual ingredients that you hear about in the news, the stuff that scientists are studying for potential health benefits – almonds, peanut butter, honey, cranberries, coconut oil, chia, hemp protein powder, flax and cinnamon. All of that is draped in a thick, luscious coating of dark chocolate.

Martha Carton of Freeport created MarthaBars with the help of a nutritionist friend. She was inspired by her three sons – they went off to college, and she worried about what they were eating. Her youngest, who still attends the University of Maine at Orono, regularly asks for the bars to be included in his care packages, she says, telling his mom to “make sure to put in enough for all my roommates and my Frisbee team.”

Carton says she thinks much of the appeal is that it’s a chewy bar. “A lot of bars with healthy ingredients can be dry or grainy,” she said.

The bars are made in a commercial kitchen in Brunswick. Carton markets them as energy bars to active people – runners, cyclists and hikers. But parents like them too, she said.

She is working on new versions of the bar – one with sunflower butter instead of peanut butter for people with peanut allergies, and perhaps a version without the chocolate coating. Athletes, she said, “don’t want the chocolate. They just want the energy part of it.”

Locally, MarthaBars are sold at Lois’ Natural Marketplace in Portland, the Bay Club and the Portland Food Coop for about $3.50 a bar, depending on the store. They can also be purchased online for $3 a bar plus shipping.

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