Belly Up to the (Protein) Bar

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

If you are into protein bars, then the place to try the World’s Biggest Selection (please add lightning bolts and flashing lights to that phrase) is at the Natural Products Expo West (NPEW). We  came home probably with our weight in protein bars (Alexandra is only 100 pounds…plus some bonus points).

We shall now discuss in essay form, using a blue book and number two pencil, all the bars that passed our tantalizing taste buds test. It was the easiest test of our lives (well, maybe excluding the ice creams we tried, but we won’t talk about that). Yet…

My hero, Daniel Lubetzky, founder of KIND.

Alexandra’s Faves:
KIND KIND KIND KIND. Can you tell I love KIND bars? Even though I didn’t win the iPad they were giving away, I’m still a winner because I got about 5 (okay, maybe 6) of my beloved Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate, Gluten free, non-GMO bars. My friend Danielle (you should read her blog, Kitten a Go-Go) and I have “friendly” discussions about the best KIND bar, because she swears by the cherry cashew. I also love the yogurt apricot, and they have two new flavors out: Nuts & Spices (sounds like my college boyfriends) and Healthy Grains (sounds like no-one I know).

While on the topic of PB and choco, I discovered, and am now hooked on, the PROBAR Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip whole food meal bar. Vegan. Organic. That is the world’s longest title for a really big bar. They were actually developed by a snowboard instructor *slash* chef who didn’t like the food at the ski lodges where he worked. I know they have flax in them, but they don’t have any chia. Have you seen any of our wacky chia videos?  Watch them, I tell you! Oh, look, I have one of the bars left. Around here we call that DINNER! They also gave me a berry blast bar with cashew butter and oats, but I haven’t tried it yet. Not much for berry seeds. But what do I see in the ingredients list but chocolate liquor? Might have to eat this one tomorrow.

I go loco for Koka Moka - Oh Oh Oh

Right after I eat the Koka Moka they just sent in a big ol’ care package. By “big ol” I mean – one of every flavor. I just love getting packages. Food. Flowers. College financial aid.

The folks at Odwalla make more than juice, oh yes indeedy. Blueberry Swirl, White Chocolate Macadamia, and Dark Chocolate Chip Walnut. Hello my sweet triplets of deliciousness. Yes, they have other flavors, but to my mind they are the Pips, not Gladys. If you have no idea what this music reference is, please eat a bar while asking your parents! Or go watch Dancing With the Stars, Kymberly’s favorite show!

Two more quick shout-outs before I turn that space down there (points toward the center of the earth) over to Kymberly: One is to the go raw Real Live Apricot bar (organic sprouted flax, apricots, raisins, dates and lime juice – that’s it), and Bear Fruit bars. The ingredients are…fruit. That’s it. No more, no less. Just fruit. So you get 1 ½ servings of fruit in a bar, and that’s it.

Kymberly’s Raising of the Bar

Ok, so DWTS is on and I just want to get the picture of the Attune Probiotic bar downloaded so I can finish eating it – the bar, not the picture. These pronoun referents can be so demanding.

So I’ll be brief — I eat energy or protein or superfood or granola or fruit bars when I am out and about and have no other food handy. In my world, bars are meant for my gym bag, not as a meal replacement. Except Justin’s Chocolate Peanut Bar,  which is really a candy bar. That never made it home, so forget getting a pic or a sniff of it. Loved it.

I tried all the bars Alexandra mentions plus still have in my possession:
Nature’s Path Organic  Peanut Choco Crunch, which is made with Ancient Grains (no snarky jokes about who and what are ancient around here) and is Certified Organic.  Have not yet tried it, but it sounds crunchy. I appreciate the organic aspect for sure.

The EAS Lean 15 Chocolate Mint bar – This bar is part of the new “Get Lean and Toned”  product line from EAS. What I like best about it are Jon 1, Jon 2, Kelly, and Brittany of EAS. They are super helpful and nice both in person and online. As for the bar — it’s in my gym bag waiting for the right moment.

Same with the Eco Trek Fitness Whole Food Bar, which sports 6 servings of fruits and veggies and 10 grams of protein. In the interest of accuracy, we did not get this bar from NPEW, but from our Fellow FitFluential pal, Tara Burner as part of a giveaway she held. We won an entire box of Chocolate Raspberry, so hello gym bag and my husband’s lunch satchel (Yes, I really do say “satchel” now and then. It’s such a lovely word.)

And no bar round-up would be complete without mentioning the Pure Organic bar. Flavor? Dark Chocolate Raspberry. Are you seeing a pattern with my sampling habits? This baby is Non GMO, also certified organic, and delicioso. Yes, I ate one two three.

The important part of this post is for you to see that you have LOTS of choices. The energy bar world is exploding with options to suit every taste, allergy, goal, social preference, ingredient, value set.  We saw at least 30 other bars at the show, all of them with unique properties. But, hey, we can only fit in so much. Fit into our schedule, of course. And our swag bag. What did you think I meant? Fit into our bellies?

Readers: What energy, protein or other type of health bar do you recommend? Avoid? Actually buy?

PS Yes, Kymberly snuck in a picture of a Non GMO, certified organic, vegan, ethically tradedDaily Dose of Dark” Nib Mor bar. You have proof it existed because if it disappears, look to Kymberly’s husband as the culprit.

All opinions are our own. All bars are our own (except the ones Kymberly’s husband ate). We were paid a fee by NutritionFix to let you know about their site. They have 195 kinds of protein bars. Check it out.


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