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The Only Protein Bar Taste Test You Need to Read

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If there’s one thing we know to be true, it’s that all protein bars are not created equal. When they’re good—they’re oh-so-tasty, but when they’re bad—they’re terrible. In addition to being hit or miss, protein bars are sought after in a pinch which is why it’s important to know which bars you should add to your cart before your blood sugar hits an all-time low.

Whether you reach for a protein bar before your workout or like to keep them in your work bag for days when you’ve forgotten lunch, you’ll need to be prepared at the store. From delightful to mealy and everything in between, our editors took the first bite so you don’t have to. Our protein bar taste test is here to take the guesswork out of your protein bar selection in hopes you’ll avoid spit-takes and money down the drain.

The lineup:

Pure Protein Bar – Chocolate Deluxe

Oatmega – Chocolate Coconut

Tone It Up Plant-Based Protein Bites – Snickerdoodle

Clif Builder’s Protein – Crunchy Peanut Butter

The Complete Cookie – Snickerdoodle

Quest – Cookies & Cream

Munk Pack Protein Cookie – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Pure Protein Bar

Taste: 4/5

Texture: 5/5

Calories: 180

Protein: 21g

Sugar: 3g

If you are a lover of fudge, you’re going to want to keep a box of these protein bars stashed away. Fudgy and decadent, this bar was surprisingly delightful without feeling too thick or overindulgent. Unlike some protein bars, there wasn’t a heavy protein powder aftertaste—which is no small feat for a protein bar. We scored these bars at a 4/5 for taste only because the chocolate flavor, while tasty, didn’t have as much depth as gusto as you’d hope for given the rich and chewy texture.

Oatmega

Taste: 4/5

Texture: 4/5

Calories: 200

Protein: 14g

Sugar: 5g

Traditional protein bar, this is not. But that’s not a bad thing! Imagine if a granola bar and a protein bar made a delicious protein bar baby—you’re looking at an Oatmega protein bar. Oatmega prides themselves on their whey protein sourced from grass-fed cows in New Zealand and you can taste why. The protein flavor is faint, and when it does hit—it’s not overwhelming with chemical notes in the way many classical protein powders are. While we’d love to give it five stars all around, the granola-esque texture is slightly gritty and neither the coconut nor the chocolate flavors stand out like you’d expect. Oatmega makes up for that with their partnership with No Kid Hungry in working to end childhood hunger.

Tone It Up Plant-Based Protein Bites

Taste: 3/5

Texture: 3/5

Calories: 150

Protein: 9g

Sugar: 6g

In a word, underwhelming. These protein bites aren’t necessarily bad, but they’re certainly not certifiably good either. Their texture is a forgettable blend of dry and crumbly and the promise of snickerdoodle flavor falls short. It’s not all bad though! While their flavor isn’t strong, neither is the protein powder aftertaste. But if you’re looking for a protein-packed snack, don’t grab for these with only nine grams of protein per serving.

Clif Builder’s Protein

Taste: 5/5

Texture: 5/5

Calories: 270

Protein: 20g

Sugar: 22g

Peanut butter enthusiasts, we’ve found the protein bar for you. This delicious protein snack wavers on the cusp of candy bar territory with its hearty peanut butter center layered in a creamy coating that was neither too thin or too thick. The flavor was outstanding, leaving no artificial aftertaste or an overly processed protein bite. We’d recommend saving this bar for when you need some serious refueling because at 270 calories, this isn’t for the casual snacker. It also swings high on sugar with 22 grams, the highest by far in our lot. All that aside, if taste and sustenance are your highest priorities, look no further than the Clif Builder’s Protein.

The Complete Cookie

Taste: 4/5

Texture: 5/5

Calories: 180

Protein: 8g

Sugar: 15g

Can a cookie make for a good protein bar alternative? Turns out the answer is yes! If you’re expecting a traditional cookie, let us stop you right there. These aren’t your mama’s chocolate chip cookies—but they’re a close relative. They have a surprisingly enjoyable bite and texture with the snickerdoodle cookie reminiscent of a cozy fall-flavored treat. The cookie is rounded out with a warm dusting of cinnamon sugar that gives the cookies a “homemade” nod. The flavor is done well, albeit faint—which is why we’ve given the Complete Cookie four stars for taste. With only eight grams of protein, don’t expect this protein cookie to fill you up completely—but you can count on curbing your hunger in a snap!

Quest

Taste: 1/5

Texture: 2/5

Calories: 200

Protein: 21g

Sugar: 1g

The moment you unwrap a Quest bar, you’re immediately hit with an unnatural smell that can only serve as a flavor foreshadow of what’s to come. Upon taking a bite, the bar does itself no favors with its chalky texture and a chemical, protein powder taste. While most protein bars attempt to keep sugar counts low, the Quest bar does so unapologetically with a very artificially sweetened flavor. Other flavors may taste more authentic, but the Cookies & Cream variety left little to be desired. We recommend skipping this bar, altogether.

Munk Pack Protein Cookie

Taste: 3.5/5

Texture: 5/5

Calories: 360

Protein: 18g

Sugar: 16g

This is a cookie. If Munk Pack wants to tell us it’s a protein cookie, that’s fine, but we are here to tell you this is a cookie. Soft-baked and loaded with chocolate chips and chopped peanuts, we were shocked at how well this protein snack resembled a typical cookie. But despite the homemade texture, it wasn’t entirely a home run. The protein powder notes are pronounced and while it’s full of yummy additions, it still lacks flavor. It’s also a heavy snack at 360 calories, but with 18 grams of protein—it can be a great option for a quick pick-me-up when you don’t have time to sit down for a meal.

Overall, the Clif Protein Builder’s bar far-exceeded our expectations and hit all the right notes with the Pure Protein bar coming in close at number two. What’s your favorite protein bar? Do you agree with our taste test? Sound off in the comments, below!

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Nutrition

The Best Healthy Summer Dishes to Please Any Crowd

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Whether you’re headed to a picnic, a pool party, or a barbeque, one thing is for sure – potluck season is in full swing! And while everyone loves a tray of bars or the midwest classic “snicker salad”, potlucks are a great place to try new, healthier recipes. Below are five options to shake up your summer potluck soirée!

Cucumber And Heirloom Tomato Salad

A refreshing alternative to the oily pasta salads or mayo filled cole slaw.

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

That cheesy barbeque staple everyone loves, with hidden veggies!

BBQ Black Bean Burgers

All the protein with more nutrients!

Deviled Eggs

A classic – with fewer calories.

Traditional Grilled Greek Kabobs

A colorful summer staple, that’s loaded with veggies!

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Nutrition

5 Smoothie Recipes to Keep Your Cool This Summer

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As summertime heats up, the need to cool down is more powerful than ever! We want you to be prepared, and the best way to beat the heat is a nutrient-packed smoothie that will help you cool off and keep you on track with your health and fitness goals. Whether you prefer a protein-heavy smoothie or like to load up on fruit, we’ve got a smoothie that will be perfect for you.

Check out the recipes, grab some frozen fruit and get blending! 

Matcha Mango Protein Smoothie

Pina Kale-Ada Smoothie

Double Chocolate Chunk Protein Shake

Smoothie Breakfast Bowl

Banana-Berry Green Smoothie

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Inexpensive 5-Ingredient BBQ Black Bean Burgers You Need to Try

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black bean burgerThis is a great recipe to keep on hand for when the pantry is bare and the grocery budget or shopping time is low. Each serving costs less than a buck to make—even less if you cook your own black beans from scratch—and it’s packed with nutrition. Sometimes eating healthy on a budget can be tricky, but this recipe makes it easy!

You might be tempted to fire up the food processor for this recipe, but trust me, you want to go manual for these burgers and mash up the black beans with a fork. The food processor takes black beans from, well…bean-like to mush in a matter of seconds. By just mashing your black beans roughly with a fork, you can easily control the texture of your burgers.

Also, when you’re browsing the aisles at the grocery store for barbecue sauce, make sure to read ingredients. There are some great options out there with recognizable ingredients, but there are also a few on the shelf that have artificial flavors, colors, and high fructose corn syrup. Skip those non-food versions and instead pick up a bottle that lists ingredients you recognize (or make your own if you have a rockin’ recipe!).

Top these gloriously healthy burgs with your favorite fixins and enjoy the beautiful weather. Happy patio season!

5-Ingredient BBQ Black Bean Burgers

Makes 3 large burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2/3 cups quick cooking oats (see notes)
  • Whole wheat burger buns and burger toppings, for serving

uncooked bean burger

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
  2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, mash the black beans with a fork until you have a chunky paste (you’ll want to leave some of the bean chunks for texture).
  3. Add in the barbecue sauce, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir until well-combined.
  4. Add in the oats, and stir until well-combined. You don’t want any lumps of oats.
  5. With wet hands, form the mixture into three even-sized patties. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, flip over, and then bake an additional 10 minutes or until the patties are slightly brown, beginning to crack on the edges, and feel solid.
  6. Serve immediately on whole grain buns with your favorite burger toppings.

Notes

Don’t have quick cooking oats on hand? Just take regular rolled/old fashioned oats and pulse them in a food processor until they are well-chopped, but not powdered.

Nutrition Per Burger

Does not include bun or toppings

250 calories, 2.8g fat, 46.6g carbs, 10.9g protein

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