Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Clif Kit's Organic Fruit + Nut Bar, Peanut Butter

Clif Kit's Organic Fruit + Nut Bar, Peanut Butter ($1.59, Whole Foods)
1.8 oz / 50 g
Ingredients: organic dates, organic peanuts, organic almonds, sea salt.

Calories: 200
Cals from fat: 100
Total Fat: 11g (17%)
Sat Fat: 2g (10%)
Sodium: 95mg (4%)
Total Carb: 25g (8%)
Fiber: 4g (16%)
Sugar: 15g
Protein: 6g

Another compressed date bar, this time from Clif. This isn't a bad bar but it really looks awful. Close your eyes and think of something more pleasant like a snickers. 

Points off for being a little on the dry side, bonus for the extremely pure ingredients list. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Vega Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

Vega Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup ($2.49, Whole Foods)
1.48 oz / 42 g
Ingredients: organic peanuts, organic peanut butter, organic tapioca syrup, brown rice crisps, organic agave syrup, organic cane sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sunflower lecithin, sacha inchi oil, buckwheat, chia seeds, organic peanut flour, hemp seeds, sea salt, organic peanut extract.  

Calories: 200
Cals from fat: 110
Total Fat: 12g (18%)
Sat Fat: 2g (10%)
Sodium: 80mg (3%)
Total Carb: 20g (7%)
Fiber: 2g (8%)
Sugar: 8g
Protein: 5g

I'll be honest, I didn't read the price correctly on this bar which is the only reason it made it to the checkout. You'd think at some point Whole Foods would have some shame about how much they charge for over-privileged candy bars but damn, two-fifty doesn't even seem to give them pause. I guess suckers like me are mostly to blame. Or maybe it is because that sacha inchi oil comes from the amazon river basin. No, not the home of prime 2-day delivery, chief. Think "heart of darkness." 

Anyway, this is a delicious peanut-chocolate candy bar thing masquerading as health food but hey, I'm ok with the charade if you are. It is a chewy peanut bar sitting in a bed of chocolate. No chemical tastes, gluten-free, organic peanut extract, huzzah! Points retracted only for cost.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Nature Valley Crunchy Coconut

Nature Valley Crunchy Coconut ($3.29 for 6, Harris Teeter)

Ingredients: whole grain oats, sugar, canola oil, toasted coconut, brown sugar syrup, yellow corn flour, soy flour, honey, salt, soy lecithin, baking soda, natural flavor. 

Calories: 190
Cals from fat: 80
Total Fat: 9g (15%)
Sat Fat: 3g (14%)
Sodium: 160mg (7%)
Total Carb: 27g (9%)
Fiber: 3g (11%)
Sugar: 10g
Protein: 4g

After years of oats and honey, Nature Valley has been killing it recently by introducing new flavors in recent years. The coconut flavor is very reminiscent of some sort of cookie I've once eaten, either some girl scout thing or maybe one of those that comes in a big blue metal tin, it is hard to really place it. In any event, it tastes like cookies, what in the hell are you waiting for?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Fruit and Oat Harvest, Country Strawberry

Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Fruit and Oat Harvest, Country Strawberry (5 for $4.39, CVS)

1.76 oz / 50g

Ingredients: whole grain oats, sugar, palm oil with tbhq, enriched flour, corn syrup, oat fiber, isolated soy protein, maltodextrin, acacia gum, glycerin, cellulose, wheat gluten, molasses, natural flavoring, baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, salt, soy lecithin, bht, peanut flour, nonfat milk, invert sugar, strawberry puree concentrate, modified corn starch, sodium alginate, citric acid, dicalcium phosphate, methylcellulose, artificial flavor, caramel color, malic acid, red 40. 

Calories: 180
Cals from fat: 45
Total Fat: 5g (8%)
Sat Fat: 2g (10%)
Sodium: 160mg (7%)
Total Carb: 33g (11%)
Fiber: 5g (20%)
Sugar: 15g
Protein: 4g

The first thing I noticed about this bar was its atrocious ingredient list - palm oil, 5 or 6 different sweeteners, things that are only listed as their abbreviations, etc. The second thing I noticed was the mess of crumbs it dumped in my lap when I opened it. So these are some things that one needs to be prepared for. 
This is actually not a bad bar at all - it is sort of a large chewy bar that looks like it is made up of the same stuff as a crunchy nature valley bar, but topped with a layer of strawberry jam. It has remarkably little chemical taste for something that is made primarily of chemicals. I ate it over the trash can and will happily do so again at least 4 more times. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Evolution Harvest Cocoa & Nut Bar

Evolution Harvest Cocoa & Nut Bar (about $2, starbucks)

1.48 oz / 42g

Ingredients: almonds, whole-wheat flour, rice meal, whole oat flour, salt, organic agave syrup, brown rice syrup, cocoa, ground almonds, sea salt. 

Calories: 180
Cals from fat: 90
Total Fat: 10g (15%)
Sat Fat: 1g (5%)
Sodium: 120mg (5%)
Total Carb: 21g (7%)
Fiber: 4g (16%)
Sugar: 9g
Protein: 5g

Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way first; this is an extremely expensive bar. This and a regular coffee set me back about four bucks. But between this and the 500 calorie banana bread I think I made the right decision (and I love banana bread but that's a whole other blog, am I right?) - I mean, look at that ingredient list. Very respectable. 
This bar is a crispy thing coated in a very thin layer of chocolate. It sort of looks like it is made of cocoa krispies and almonds. It sort of tastes like that, too actually. It has a nice light texture and a non-cocoa-krispie-like deep chocolate flavor. It is really "cocoa-y" sort of like dark chocolate which isn't bad. The chocolate coating is a little melty and looks like it would stick to stuff if you let it out of the wrapper but even my ham-hands did ok and didn't get messy. Overall, a fine bar. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Larabar Pecan Pie

Larabar Pecan Pie (4 for $5, Kroger)
1.6 oz. / 45g

Ingredients: dates, almonds, pecans.

Calories: 220
Cals from fat: 130
Total Fat: 13g (20%)
Sat Fat: 1g (6%)
Sodium: 0mg (0%)
Total Carb: 24g (8%)
Fiber: 4g (16%)
Sugar: 18g
Protein: 3g

This is very similar to all the other larabars but with one exception: the pecans and almonds together give off some oil. The bar was sort of oily. It tasted fine, but had what I would best describe as an unpalatable sheen.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Clif Mojo Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt

Clif Mojo Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt (5 for $5.89, Target)

1.41 oz / 40g

Ingredients: almonds, organic tapioca syrup, organic pecans, organic dark chocolate, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa, palm kernel oil, organic palm kernel solids, organic soy lecithin, organic vanilla, organic cashews, organic roasted soybeans, organic rice crisps, organic inulin, organic sunflower oil, sea salt, natural vitamin e. 

Calories: 200
Cals from fat: 120
Total Fat: 13g (20%)
Sat Fat: 3g (15%)
Sodium: 160mg (7%)
Total Carb: 19g (6%)
Fiber: 3g (12%)
Sugar: 9g
Protein: 5g
I'm sorry to say that Clif, who was once king of the granola scene has succumbed to market forces and have started ripping off other bars. This bar is a shameless derivitive of the very popular (and very good) Kind Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt bar, right down to the box and wrapper design - they are trying to get people to pick this up by mistake. The sad bit is these are more expensive and not as good for you as the Kind bars. But I cast my lot and picked some up anyway; as I've told you many times before dear reader, its not about the money; I do it all for you. Let's try and judge this bar on its face and not on our previous experiences. Let us bring some objectivity to the table despite the obvious comparison this bar begs for. 
OK, so this is a sort of stiff combination of nuts, chocolate chunks and rice krispies with a chocolate coating on the bottom. The texture is pretty sticky, but the combination of ingredients is really nice - the rice krispies keep it sort of light where the nuts could weight it down. It is actually a little lighter and more "granola-y" and a little less "nutty" than the bar-that-shall-not-be-named, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. This is a good tasting bar, in every way something I'd naturally buy if I saw it on a shelf somewhere. 
Clif, you are better than this. Respect yourself. Sell these in a plain brown wrapper, behind-the-counter access only. You have the goods. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bear Naked Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter

Bear Naked Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter (5 for $5.49, Target)

2 oz / 57g

Ingredients: whole grain oats, honey, peanut butter, semisweet chocolate, peanuts, brown rice syrup, whole flaxseed, crisp rice, soybeans, isolated soy protein, chocolate liquor, sea salt, soy lecithin, spice extractives. 

Calories: 250
Cals from fat: 110
Total Fat: 12g (18%)
Sat Fat: 3g (15%)
Sodium: 115mg (5%)
Total Carb: 31g (10%)
Fiber: 4g (16%)
Sugar: 14g
Protein: 8g
It is a good thing this bar tastes really good, because it somehow manages to look like (but be uglier than) both the standard clif bar and the compressed date bars. But the taste is fantastic, sweet chocolate and salty peanuts. The crisp rice give it a nice texture, too - not too dense. All in all a very good bar that you should eat with your eyes closed. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Larabar uber roasted nut roll

Larabar uber roasted nut roll (5 for $5, Target)
1.42 oz / 40g

Ingredients: roasted almonds, cashews, brown rice syrup, roasted peanuts, dates, pecans, roasted macadamia nuts, honey, sea salt. 

Calories: 220
Cals from fat: 140
Total Fat: 16g (24%)
Sat Fat: 2g (9%)
Sodium: 140mg (6%)
Total Carb: 14g (5%)
Fiber: 2g (10%)
Sugar: 7g
Protein: 5g

I thought this was going to be a tooth-buster but it is surprisingly chewy, which is sort of amazing given that this is basically a handful of mixed nuts glued together with sugar. The flip side of course is soft nuts give off a "stale" impression which just isn't at all the case, it is just the sugar. High fat of course (it is almost all nuts) but pretty good.