May 27, 2017

Grab-and-go energy bar review

Energy bars have long been a snack of choice for athletes looking for a quick nutrition boost without interrupting training. They are small enough to fit in a pocket and have a long shelf life so they will be there when needed.

Energy bars also are a great grab-and-go snack that hungry students can stash in their backpacks for when they’re having trouble staying awake in class. But which ones taste good? Forget nutritional value, most students are too busy and broke to eat healthy anyway. Below, five bars are reviewed on taste, how well they suppress hunger, and how effective they are at providing extra energy.

Core ProBar – Mint chocolate

This one was crispy and reminiscent of a thin mint Girl Scout cookie, in both taste and texture. About 20 minutes after eating it, I got a needed energy burst – or possibly a sugar high, and my daily climb up the parking structure’s stairs seemed effortless. It is loaded with about as much sugar as some candy bars, which might explain why it tastes so good. Overall it had great flavor, nice crunch, and totally curbed my hunger. It probably wouldn’t store well in a pack because its chocolate coating will melt into a mess.

Kind – Dark chocolate chili almond

This one has big chunks of mixed nuts held together by lines of chocolate and some sort of sweet glaze, but it also has an unsettling, chili pepper aftertaste that your mouth will feel for a bit afterward. I like what Kind tried to do – the chili pepper oil is thrown in there to stimulate the metabolism and promote weight loss – but it just doesn’t seem to compliment the rest of the flavors.

It tastes like a Snickers bar was stripped of all its gooey yumminess and made into a healthy snack. It actually tastes pretty good except for the chili pepper aftertaste. My stomach felt full, but that might’ve been due to all the water I washed it down with. You’ll need a lot of water with this one, for both the pepper taste and the dryness of the mixed nuts that comprise the majority of the bar.

Clif bar – Chocolate chip

Clif Bars have become one of the more popular energy bars because of its creator’s goal of making energy bars that not only provided energy, but also taste good. They’ve mostly succeeded by providing a variety of flavors and most folks can find one they like.

The chocolate chip bar is loaded with sugar – about as much as a candy bar – and does provide extra pep, but I still felt hungry after finishing it and found myself wolfing down a second bar. Maybe that’s a testament to the taste of the Clif Bar, or maybe it’s just another sugar high, but I felt like I could have a chocolate doughnut washed down with a glass of chocolate milk and have the same results with less guilt.

GoMacro – Protein purity/sunflower butter and chocolate

The GoMacro bar has a really pleasant flavor that’s difficult to describe. The ingredients list a variety of organic rice, organic seeds, cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate – but none of those flavors immediately pop out.

The texture feels dense and chewy, like the Clif Bar, but is light and fluffy upon chewing. It actually made my mouth feel refreshed, as if it produced more saliva. I was rushing to meet someone for lunch and was pretty hungry until I remembered the GoMacro bar in my backpack. It quieted my growling stomach long enough for food to arrive. This was my overall favorite and I’m eager to try the brand’s other flavors.

Organic Food Bar – Original

The Organic Food Bar is covered in a bright yellow and red wrapper with numerous eye catching health claims and certifications emblazoned on it screaming how good it is. Unfortunately, it tastes like an old slab of fruit leather.

This one made my stomach feel uneasy, possibly due to the high quantities of processed raisins and dates in the bar. It tricks your nose into thinking it’s a delicious Fig Newton, until you bite into it and end up with disappointed taste buds. There are a variety of other flavors, so maybe I picked the wrong one. I was seduced by the idea that the “Original” flavor must be the brand’s flagship product.

Steven Senn can be reached at [email protected]

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