Beyond Clif: Five more vegan energy bars, reviewed! »
This soon-to-be legendary post began as an attempt to review The Simply Bar, which the Canadians at Wellness Foods were nice enough to send me a case of. But as a person who gets to try a SHIT TON (that’s a metric measurement) of bars in my capacity as an editor at Backpacker magazine, it felt strange to talk about this one vegan bar-shaped food product and not mention any of the zillion others I’ve tasted in the last year or so. Y’all should know about all the many, many options of pocket foods that have popped up recently. Buckle your seat belts, because HERE WE GO!
1. The Simply Bar
These gluten-free babies were invented by a guy with Crohn’s disease, with the idea that they’d be easy to digest. They’re unusual in that they’re relatively low-cal (160 ish per bar), with more fiber than sugar and a whole lot of protein (16 grams). They’re kind of like grainy Rice Krispy treats in texture, with a subtle flavor (I usually have to look at the label to remember what kind I’m eating, so I’m not going to bother to endorse one). If you’re the kind of person who wants to chow down on a protein shake after exercising, these would be good. If you secretly want a bar that is like cookies, stay away.
2. Mazama Bars
Watch out: Not only are these freakin’ delicious, but they also pack nearly 400 calories each. That means you are at serious risk of eating an entire meal’s worth of yumminess in a moment of afternoon weakness if, for instance, you leave these in your desk. But if you’re really exercising hard or are deprived of genuine meals for awhile, these will make your day. They’re each about the size of a deck of cards and the texture of one of those soft granola bars. All three flavors are studded with yummy morsels like berries or chocolate, but my favorite is the Chocolate Hazelnut. I officially endorse these bars. I kinda love them.
3. Journey Bars
Let’s be honest: These bad boys are weird. Around my office, they’ve been a very contentious topic. But I like ‘em. The schtick is that they’re savory instead of sweet, which is genuinely different than your regular bar. Only 3/5 of the flavors are vegan, alas, but they’re loaded with neat grains like amaranth. So trendy! My personal fav is the coconut curry, which reminds me of eating Indian snack mix. Main problem with these bars: Sometimes they’re soft, like Nutri-Grain bars without the filling, but other bars in the same box will be like very thick crackers. Which actually works pretty well for the Rosemary flavor. Anyway, I say try them; they’re a nice snack.
Whole food bars. That’s how Pro likes to market its product. And it’s true: Eating these bars is kind of like eating a smushed-up handful of nuts and dried fruit. They’re much less like dessert than Mazama bars, but also meal-replacement. Pro’s also got another type call Fruition, which is more like a Lara bar, but full of chia seeds. Anyway, I don’t swoon over these, but they’re solid nutrition.
OK so these are a kind of Clif bar, but I couldn’t resist mentioning them because I’m so excited about them. Remember gooey, fruit-filled breakfast bars? Remember how they’re not vegan? Let’s thank Luna for restoring that particular joy to us. I haven’t tasted all the flavors, but my main comment is YUM. Partake! Partake!
Clif Crunch: Some flavors have honey so read ingredients, but these are like Nature Valley but way tastier. Crunchy! And they have vegan white chocolate in them.
Justin’s Nut Butter squeeze packs: not bars, but portable and YUM! Chocolate hazelnut is basically Nutella.
Did I miss your fav? Let us know!