I've tried lots of different varieties of nutrition and snack bars, so I have a short list of my favorites as well as my least favorites. I was actually looking for one of my old standbys while in the drugstore today, but I found that the one I was looking for was out of stock. I scanned the various other types, and, as I bemoaned the unavailability of my preferred flavor, stumbled upon a new, fantastic bar in the process. That bar? Balance Peanut Butter Bar.
I don't know why I haven't really gotten into the Balance Bar brand before now, because really, they're delicious! This one was especially good - the peanut butter taste was perfect (a word I don't use lightly). It wasn't at all artificial-tasting, just chewy and peanutty. Honestly, my first thought on eating this was, "I've died and gone to peanut butter heaven ." I couldn't believe how quickly I finished it!
The Balance Pure Bars come in enticing flavors like Cherry Pecan, Banana Cashew, and Chocolate Cashew. These bars are described as being made from "wholesome ingredients like real fruits and nuts, plus 9 grams of protein for energy." Intrigued, I decided to try the Chocolate Cashew and when I flipped over the bar to examine the ingredients, I discovered the claims were true; the ingredients were only evaporated cane juice invert syrup, cashews, soynuts, dates, cocoa (processed with alkali), soy protein isolate, peanut oil, and salt.
I picked up a bar for $1.49 and eagerly opened it. The bar looked a lot like a Larabar - thick and chewy, as well as dark and chocolatey. I took a bite, savoring the chocolate and cashew combination. I liked the fact that there were actual cashew pieces studding the chocolate base. The texture was chewy and satisfying, and the taste was very good.
Balance Bars somehow don't have all the glam associated with Lunabars or Kashi bars for that matter, but they have quite the selection, and their bars are usually decent although not necessarily "wow." They have Balance Original, Balance Bare, Balance Pure, Balance Gold and Balance Carbwell, each of which offer different nutritional highlights. When I saw the Balance Yogurt Honey Peanut Bar (part of the Balance Original line), I thought why not?! Strangely enough, when I eat yogurt, I rarely have it with peanuts, and when I have honey, it's usually with tea. I mean, can those three ingredients even go well together?
Well, I was about to find out. I picked up the bar for $1.99 at a convenience store (pretty pricey, but I was in a hurry and the prices are no doubt jacked up compared to normal stores). Turns out the "yogurt" is just a shell of milky coating on the outside of the bar surrounding a chewy, peanut buttery inside. Yum! With the flavor of the latter two ingredients predominating, I was in peanut butter heaven eating this. In just a few bites it was gone, and I was left with only the wrapper to study. (Photo Credit: CaretoEat).
I have a new love, and its name is South Beach Diet Meal Replacement Bars in Chocolate Peanut Butter. I stumbled upon this bar in my usual pre-workout scan of the nutrition bar shelf at the drugstore.
These bars are a generous size - I'm talking 60 grams of chocolate peanut buttery goodness per bar - much bigger than Luna Bars (48 grams), Balance Bare Bars (50 grams), even Kashi Crunchy! Bars (50 grams).
Let's talk about taste. This bar is fantastic . The peanut butter taste is rich and delicious, and the chocolate coating on one side makes it even better. The soy protein crisps are smaller than those in Kashi Crunchy! bars, which makes this bar (dare I say it) even more enjoyable and snackable. All I can say is - yum!
Waking up at 6:30 AM on the weekend to attend a cheese making event with my Food Science club involves me hitting the snooze button multiple times, getting ready with the speed of light and grabbing breakfast to eat on my way to the car (fun, huh?!). Thankfully, I had recently purchased a Balance Almond Brownie Bar to not only satisfy my hunger, but entertain my taste buds.
I have never had a Balance Bar before, so I was excited to finally give it a go. As I was unwrapping my "meal on the go", I realized that it looked similar to a Larabar, with a uniform brown color with visible chunks of almonds dispersed throughout the chewy block. The texture of the bar is similar to a dense chewy brownie (definitely a plus), but has this obviously chalky background (the negative). The nuts added a welcomed, yet subtle crunch and the chocolate was ... well, sweet chocolate.
It seems like every time I walk down the protein bar aisle at Whole Foods, there are a slew of new products from Balance Bar. We have already reviewed the original and Gold varieties, and now we can choose from reduced carb, organic, and 100-Calorie snack-size bars. What caught my eye, however, was the new Balance Bare line. According to the Balance website, products from this line boast "real ingredients you can see and taste." This fake-free gimmick appealed to me, so I grabbed two bars: one in the fruit-nut trail mix flavor and one in the cinnamon oats and honey trail mix flavor.
When I peeled back the wrapper, I thought I was looking at a Luna Bar because these bars have the same lightly sweetened crispy nuggets and an icing-like coating on the bottom. After a few bites though, the distinction was clear. Balance Bare bars are not quite as decadent as the caramel-laced, pecan-topped Luna Bars. These bars more nearly resemble health food in that you can see chunks of the ingredients: oats, dried cranberry, or almonds, for example. The fruit-nut variety was tasty but was not anything extraordinary in its flavors. The cinnamon one was more unique. I felt like I was eating a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in bar form. The cinnamon flavor was pronounced enough to be detected but not overwhelming, and the touch of honey adds a nice touch of sweetness.