I'm a big fan of food...especially REAL food.
That's why when I want to grab a snack, I'm looking for something quick and easy that doesn't look like it was extruded out of a Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop Play-Doh Toy (ok, I'm dating myself a little with that reference, but if you know it, you'll get where I'm coming from).
I've been training for almost 30 years and I've eaten a lot of protein bars in my time...a LOT of protein bars. And some of them have been absolutely horrible, not only in terms of the taste but the unrecognizeable ingredients.
To give you an idea, after buying one of these bars, I actually called the number on the packaging where it said "If you have any questions, call this number."
I flat-out asked them what is healthy about fractionated palm kernel oil and high fructose corn syrup and why are they the two first ingredients in this bar?
Their answer was the sound of them hanging up on me...
A Better Alternative to Nasty Protein Bars
KIND Bars, if you're not familiar with the brand, are made with food...food in bar form...easy to carry with you and very tasty.
It is a dizzying concept, but yes, they are actually made with real food and ingredients you can pronounce.
One of the best ways to get an idea of all the different flavors and options that KIND offers is through one of their pre-set variety packs or to "build your own box."
This is what mine looks like:
Tasty But Not Too Sweet
After trying many of the flavors in this variety box, you'll notice that these bars really hit that nice balance of sweetness and savory.
You'll find nuts, dark chocolate, fruit, whey, sea salt, soy isolate, pumpkin seeds, cocoa powder...the list of REAL food ingredients that go into the wide variety of flavors is long.
For me personally, the dark chocolate and almond one is my favorite. I'm not as big of a fan of the mint chocolate one, but that's just personal preference with mint in general.
I've actually had a few of them for dessert instead having something super sweet and sugary and found that to be a great way to go.
Not Too Big, Not Too Small
Portion size can be a factor when choosing a snack.
For me (because I eat a LOT), I found a few of the bars to be on the small side...they actually have a "mini" size that was bascially just a single bite.
However, that size might be the perfect size for somebody else...and I did find a few of the bars that were the bigger size to be just about right for a nice snack in the middle of the day.
KIND Bars give you a good amount of protein (12 g) for what their intended use is. They're not meant to be a high-protein meal-replacement type of bar...they're meant as a snack. Some of the bars that don't have protein specifically added are lower in protein.
In terms of protein sources, soy isolate is the primary "added" protein. And while much has been made about the "feminizing" effects of soy in men, in reality, it takes a lot (and I do mean a LOT) of soy to have any such effect. Basically, while soy isolate is not really a "superfood," in terms of protein quality, it definitely won't have any detrimental effects.
The Bottom Line
If you're looking for a healthy, convenient snack made with real food...something you can feel good about eating yourself and for giving to your kids, KIND Bars definitely fit the bill.
After getting their variety box, I've tried most of their flavors and didn't find a single one that I didn't like...some I REALLY liked (and those disappeared first ;).
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