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Bar Review

These are a few things that this post is NOT:

--a review of local drinking establishments

--a guide to helping you study for the Bar Exam

Still with me? Sweet. I wanted to do a post on the many many protein/energy bars I've eaten lately. Since hubs and I spend a lot of time working on our house, we need to bring food with us. Since we have no way to prepare food when we're there, we often turn to these quick and easy--although often expensive-- portable snacks. When I tried a Gluten-Free diet for a week, I branched out and tried even more.

Here's my take on the good, the bad, and the chewy:

--Clif Builder's Bars: These guys were my favorite for months. Higher in calories (270) they're great for a mini meal, and packed with 20 grams of protein. The downside? 20 + grams of sugar depending on the flavor. Not so great. 

--Clif Energy Bars: (a.k.a.-- Builder Bar's cheaper, smaller, little brother) --I've only tried chocolate brownie because it's too good to risk trying another flavor. These taste so good to me, and they really do have the brownie consistency. They have 240 calories, but still don't fill me up as much as I would like. 

--LaraBars: vegan, gluten-free, and delicious. Somehow these are both tasty and completely guilt free. While there are some flavors I've tried and NOT liked (Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough), the majority are delicious. Made of primarily fruit and nuts, but are much lower in protein that standard bars. 

--Bumble Bars: I bought these on a whim because they were on sale in Whole Foods. I opened them up and my heart sank. They. Look. Like. Bird. Food. It's just seeds! I ate it reluctantly and now I'm convinced. These are chewy, sweet, and filling, plus made of ingredients you'll feel good about eating. Yum!

Who Knew? Bird Food = Delicious
--Atkins Bars: I ate these because a) I got them for free in the mail, and b) I was eating sugar-free at the time and many of these bars only contain sugar-alcohols (which the body can't digest, so you don't get the calories). I hate to give a blanket statement that's so negative--but these just don't taste good. They have a very artificial sweetness to them, and rather than fill me up they made me hungrier. Not really the point, right?

--Kind Bars: I only tried one of these guys, and the flavor was Almond-Walnut Macadamia Plus Protein (note to company: the name is too long. seriously. )  Once I finished reading the ridiculously long flavor name, I was starving. It fell in the middle of the road for me. It was good, it was fine. Nothing special. I didn't even take a picture of it, so it obviously didn't excite me much. Moving along. 

--NuGo Free Gluten-Free Bars: I tried Dark Chocolate Trail Mix. I got pretty excited for this one, because, well--Dark Chocolate Trail Mix. Another miss in my book. Of course I ate the whole thing (don't waste!) but it just wasn't very good. Another one of those bars that seemed to make me hungrier than before I ate it. I immediately wished I had brought another bar along instead!

Ok, now I need your help. Which bars am I missing out on? Which one are your favorites? Which ones are the ones to avoid? 
Top favorites are: LaraBar (cinnamon roll favor), Clif Builder's Bars (Mint Chocolate flavor) and Bumble Bars (original). I could never pick just one!!


  1. I'm not really a bar person, but when I'm busy I do love Clif bars. Definitely try the oatmeal raisin flavor :)

  2. I like the Special K Protein Meal Replacement bars. They come is yummy flavors like chocolately chip, double chocolate and strawberry yogurt. I have them for breakfast all the time!

  3. Regular ole' Clif Bars are my favorite... the blueberry crisp is the best flavor IMO. I eat them frequently.

  4. Thanks for this post! I love bars for when I'm super busy (ie: clinicals). I think the Clif Z Bars are a good option to tide you over for like an hour -- 130 cals, not a lot of sugar, and delicous! They're made for kids but I think they're a sensible portion size for a small snack.

  5. I have never tried Clif Builder Bars! 20 grams of protein WOW! I wonder if they are vegan? I have so far only had the Larabar and I love just about all the flavours I have tried. I like them because the ingredient list is short. I don't venture out to most other kinds because there are so many things in the bar that I can't even pronounce!

  6. Good old Luna Bars are the only ones I've tried and liked for years now. If I didn't think the calorie count was too high I'd say you'd convinced me to try Clif Bars. I had a Lara bar once and didn't like it, but I'd be willing to try again. Recommended flavors???

  7. I am really glad you wrote this post...I am always looking for new, tasty but healthy and FILLING bars. I really eat Luna bars ALL the time...I love them. Since I found them I have been hesitant to branch out but after your post I really want to try the Lara Bars and the Bumble bar!!

    Thanks for all the info! super helpful! Have a wonderful weekend!!

  8. LUNA bars!!! I may be biased, but in all seriousness, these are delicious, most contain some hint of chocolate, and the specs on the back and ingredient list are great (especially for women). They also have delicious Protein plus bars that are filling and heavenly (chocolate mint brownie?)

    I have tried Larabars - they are hit or miss for me, and I didn't like the Bumble too much - so LUNA are my go to!

  9. My new favorite is LUNA Bar chocolate coconut. Seriously, so good. I try not to rely on bars every day, but love them for a snack once in a while!

  10. I rarely eat bars but have been wanting to try the simply bars... and I do love me some supreme protein and oh yeah bars.. they are AMAZING

  11. I'm not so much a bar person. I feel like no matter what I am still hungry when I am done. Good to know tho and thanks for doing this. I think my other problem is that I never know which ones are good and worth the cals so I just give up and get something else.

  12. Thanks for all the information girl. I normally don't eat bars. Mainly because they are so stinking expensive but when I was trying to add protein I tried power bar +protein. I used to hate everything power bar brand but these were really good and loaded with protein.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  13. I seriously love clif bars with pb on top!!!

  14. I am a huge fan of the lara bars-banana bread is my favorite!

  15. Wow, really helpful post. I might be the odd one out, the clif bars don't ever sit well with me. I tried 2 and each time it felt like a weight in the pit of my stomach.

  16. I love the Clif energy bars in peanut butter crunchy! yum!
    I also really like larabars but I have only tried the peanut butter and pecan pie. I haven't tried any of the other ones.
    There are also powerbar bars, but I have never tried them.

  17. I recently fell in love with Larabars Key Lime Pie bar. I'm a sucker for ANYTHING with key lime pie in/on/around it. So far Larabars have been my favorite. I've tried soy joy bars as well, but they can be kind of dry (even the new "moister" kind they just came out with).

  18. I like the CLIF bars in peanut butter. I cannot believe a PB lover like you hasn't tried them yet!

    My husband and I used to split a Power Bar before we did our Saturday morning 10ks.

    And I have eaten Balance Bars and enjoyed them too.

    I only buy any of them when on sale!

  19. Love this post! The only bars I really eat are Larabars, Luna bars and KIND bars. My only complaint about KIND bars is how sticky they are! And if you're going to try Luna bars, the best flavors are white chocolate macadamia nut and chocolate peppermint. I use Luna bars more for pre-exercise boost than for a sustaining snack, since they do have a lot of sugar.

  20. I love mini Luna bars - only 70-80 calories. I also eat regular Clif bars.

  21. I'm with you on the Bumble Bars. I didn't think I'd like them, but they're great. I don't love the price though...

    And if you like the mint chocolate Builder bar, you might like the mint chocolate "regular" Clif bar as well.

    Apparently Snickers makes an energy/protein bar. Maybe that might float your boat.

  22. I love Larabars. No, I LOVE Larabars. I haven't found a flavor I don't love. My favs so far are the peanut butter cookie and key lime, but I just bought a box of chocolate chip peanut butter, so there could be a new winner. I also really like Kind bars. For what they are, fruit and nuts, I like them. My brother and I eat them all day every day during our family vacations.

  23. Love Luna Bars, the lemon zest kind.

    I ate a Carrot Cake cliff bar at lunch today - yum! Its one of the bars that keeps me full the longest!

  24. i have heard good things about the luna bar but i've never tried it. lara bars make me feel like i'm eating super-health foods which isn't all bad but, i'd rather just have an apple and save the money. i love clif mojo bars as a quick snack on the run but all other clif products have some seriously awful side effects because of the added inulin fiber (for me anyway). i like to make my own bars. super easy. especially the lara bar types and the clif bars (less fiber). try making your own?

  25. I buy Detour bars in bulk at Costco for $19.99. You can find them at GNC but they're a lot more expensive. 170 calories, 15g protein, and 3g sugar (full disclosure: 13g sugar alcohol).

  26. I'll be cool just like you and comment twice as well. Thanks for the Bumble Bar suggestion! I have seen them around but was never sure about them. I hate being disappointed. But now that I know you approve, I'm on it!

  27. Kellogg's Fiber Plus bars are my fave. Loads of fiber so don't overdo it. My current favorite is the Caramel Coconut Fudge. I love all of them. Here is the link to the Kellogg's page: They are inexpensive too. You can usually find them in the cereal aisle.

  28. Have you tried Luna Bars? They are good and every flavor is delicious!! I also love Kashi Go Lean, Protein & Crunch bars!! Again, every flavor is yummy! :) I also do NOT like larabar flavor: chocolate chip cookie, barffff.

  29. GREAT post idea! Definitely go get you some:

    Raw Revolution Bars


    Mrs. May's Trio Bars

    Both of those are by far my favorite go-to bar.

    You can also build your own custom bars at:

    My boyfriend did, and although HE didn't care for his recipe, I DID! I'm just about finished with his box, which lasted a LONG time--worth the $$$ =)

  30. Good reviews!! I love Lara Bars, trouble is I could eat 8 of them at once I think!! I love the little sample size ones they hand out at race expos. I absolutely HATE those Atkin's bars. GAG me. I like the carrot cake Clif Bar. I only really ever use these for extended bike rides but they're pretty good! I will have to read through all these comments for ideas! Great post:)

  31. GREAT review, and i have to say i'm surprised u even tried those darn Atkins bars! haha...naw, i just am so against that whole diet that i'd never even cave. glad to hear they suck anyways. :)

    as for other bars, i've eaten lots of powerbars and balance bars in my time. they both have really expanded their lines. for PB, my fav's are the harvest ones, any chocolate flavor. but if you try one of their 'extra protein' ones it tastes kind of chalky. Balance bars are okay, they are sorta dinky but the cookie dough flavor one is tasty, and they have a good amount of protein in all of them.

    now, ProMax bars taste AWESOME!! not gonna lie, the cookies and cream ones taste like a dessert. but they have a lot of calories per bar, they are pretty big, and for the people who aren't doing heavy training would probably just be overkill calorie-wise if they were to eat it as just a snack or something.

  32. I just bought my first Bumble Bar, but haven't tried it yet... I didn't know what to expect, but now that I've read your review I'M EXCITED!!

    You need to try Macrobars. Cashew Butter or Almond Butter & Carob are my faves :-)

  33. The Chocolate Peppermint Stick Luna bar is my absolute favorite. MoJo bars are also yum.

  34. Nice reviews. So far my favorite has been Soyjoy. Not sure if they are gluten free or not, but I like them and they sit well with me right before a run.

  35. Very good review of all the different bars out there...
    The Clif bars are yummy! I also like the lemon Luna bars. :)

  36. Thanks for the review! I wish there was ONE perfect bar out there! :)

  37. Clif bars are great tasting and have some good vitamins/ingredients. I would like to see them make the packaging fit the bar though. The bar has gotten smaller over the years, but the package has stayed the same size. Just kind of annoying. It makes me feel like the company wants the customer to believe the bar in larger. Also, several other companies are lowering the sugar content without compromising taste. I believe Clif could do this as well.

  38. New Diet Taps into Revolutionary Idea to Help Dieters Get Rid Of 23 Pounds within Only 21 Days!


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