Product: Greens Plus Vegan Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Crisp Protein Bar – $2.29+
Normally, when a gluten-free product makes it into my shopping basket, it’s because there is some sort of sale going on. Such was the case, then, when my roommate discovered protein bars that are soy-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free at our local Earth Fare store. As I often use these to fuel my runs or refuel after my runs, protein bars are never in short supply in my kitchen ‘run’ drawer. Trust me. There is such a variety in there, I sometimes have a hard time deciding which to go with next.
While most are tried and true favorites, sometimes it’s fun to try a new product.
And that’s what happened when these bars were on sale at Earth Fare a couple months ago. I selected two, because I didn’t want to stock up on something and then hate it with an intensity that I just ended up trashing them all and calling myself a bargain buying fool. Hey…it has happened before! I’m a bit more mindful of the situation now.
As I am also aware, this bar was approaching it’s sell by date, so I figured it was time to devour it and see if it was worth the investment. So, knowing that after running this morning and then doing some speed work/intervals on lunch, a protein bar would be a good pick-me-up snack for the afternoon, I packed this one for the office…with some not as healthy items to use as back-up if needed. Trust me…I’ve been burned enough by nasty tasting snacks that I come prepared…just in case.
When my 3 p.m. snack time did roll around, I pulled the Greens Plus Vegan Proten Bar from my snack drawer and peeled the wrapper open. It reminded me a lot of what Quaker Granola Bars look like…but on a bit of a larger scale…and minus the wheat, milk, soy and high fructose corn syrup that comes with each bite of a Quaker Granola Bar.
Instead, this vegan protein bar from Greens Plus combines organic peanut butter, brown rice, pea protein, and chia seeds with organic dark chocolate. And…for the first time, I didn’t cringe at the calorie count of a protein bar. So often, these top off near the 200 or more calorie margin. Not this one. Despite including peanut butter and dark chocolate, one bar delivers 170 calories toward your daily intake and 8 grams of fat. One bar also delivers 5 grams of protein. Sugar is not off the charts either. This particular bar, despite having dark chocolate in it, only contains 7 grams of sugar. Thanks to the addition of chia seeds, it also provides a huge Omega 3 punch. All of this makes it the perfect bar for athletes, travelers, students, or whoever might need a meal supplement or snack to get them through the day.
So, drawing in a huge breath and repeating…”Please be good, please be good, please be good…” I broke off a small piece and took my first taste.
I was immediately underwhelmed.
It’s not bad. I didn’t spit it out or wrinkle up my face in disgust when it crossed my taste buds. On the contrary, I ended up taking another bite, figuring that it really did remind me of something I have tasted before. I broke off a piece and walked it to the other side of the office for my roommate to try. She agreed that they did taste like something…but couldn’t pinpoint it at first. Then said it reminded her of a Luna Bar. She might be right. Before I had to go gluten-free, Luna Bar’s were my go-to snack for on-the-go snacking. And this might be reminiscent of one of them. It also kind of does remind me of those Sweet and Salty granola bars from Nature Valley, now that I think of it.
But…even my roomie said it. When she took her taste, she didn’t immediately think dark chocolate and peanut butter. What you really get first are the rice crisps. Then maybe a hint of peanut butter. Then…that bittersweet taste of chocolate. But…not strong. And definitely not where you’d immediately recognize it upon first bite. This wasn’t horrible by any means. In fact, the bar is one of the better ones I have tried on a whim…which is definitely saying something.
But would I actively seek this one out again in the grocery store? No. Would I purchase it again if it were on sale…maybe…but probably not. It wasn’t bad…it just wasn’t amazing either. And when you are a lactose intolerant, gluten-free, vegetarian athlete…you really want something that you like to eat when you need the protein fix.
I appreciate the effort Greens Plus puts into these bars, ensuring they are vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free…I just wish they flavor had been as amazing as all of that sounds.