You may have noticed that I've been trying a lot of snack bars lately. I've been on the hunt for a bar that tastes great, has the nutritional value that I want, and isn't full of sugars or corn syrup.
Snack bars and food in general is a very personal thing based on preference and individual taste. What I love the taste of may not necessarily be the same as what you like and vice versa. So you'll have to take this review for what it is, my opinion on the bars I've tried and the one I think is my current favorite.
My goal in trying all of these bars is to find ones that I don't get tired of eating for a multi day hike, give me the energy I need, and provide enough calories to be a potential meal replacement, not just a snack. I'm also looking for a bar that won't melt and get nasty in the heat during a hike - that pretty much rules out anything with a chocolate (or fake) coating.
Not too long ago a good friend, and informal ambassador for PROBAR, contacted me to recommend trying PROBAR as part of my ongoing snack bar evaluation. I'll be completely honest and admit that although I had seen PROBAR in various outdoor and upscale grocery stores, I had never paid them much attention - could that be a packaging issue? Convinced that I would like PROBARs my friend kindly arranged for me to receive some free samples, so I had no excuse not to give them a try.
PROBARs are made from all organic ingredients. The Original collection, where it all started, each contain 15 whole food ingredients and is probably the reason why they seem to curb my hunger for longer than just about every other bar I've tried. Besides, nothing beats natural whole foods over chemically derived vitamins. The 15 whole foods found in each Original collection bar are also 70% raw, meaning that you get optimal nutrient quality, undestroyed by over processing.
Talking of processing, PROBARs are made with real ingredients that you can see. They are "blended" together rather than chopped up, pureed and baked. This is apparently how they are able to preserve the nutritional integrity of all natural ingredients and probably why they taste so much better than other bars.
PROBARs are still a very dense bar, but they are not solid, hard or tough like the original CLIFbars. They are surprisingly moist despite this and easy to bite into and chew - they passed the initial Maggie bite test (MBT) with flying colors. However, unlike Larabars that are moist because they use dates as their main ingredient, PROBARS are not a gooey date-based bar. I mention this because I know several friends/backpackers that do not like the consistency of Larabars.
Taste - Something for Everyone
I think I've tried just about every flavor from both their Original and Sweet and Savory collections, I have not tried any of their Fruition collection.. yet. My kids have happily (that rarely happens any more) joined in with the ongoing taste testing both at home and on day hikes.
Maggie's favorite is the Nutty Banana Boom (below) because it is fruity, moist and one of the lighter (consistency) bars in the range. Jack on the other hand is addicted to the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavor, which has become a bit of a problem as they are one of my favorites too. My wife likes the Superfruit Slam and the Old School PB&J best.
I have to give a special shout out to the Cherry Pretzl PROBAR which is part of the Sweet & Savory collection. I can't get seem to get enough of this bar, it's the perfect balance of salty and sweet.
There are no preservatives in PROBAR yet they have a great shelf life. I wondered how they were able to do this and discovered that dried fruits, nuts, seeds, rolled grains, and grain sweeteners all have a naturally long shelf life and don’t require the addition of chemical preservatives. Bonus!
I've carried PROBAR on my last two hikes as the primary meal replacement of a completely no-cook food plan. I've eaten them for breakfast, lunch and dinner without getting bored of the taste. They've curbed my hunger on strenuous hikes between food breaks and I've found myself looking forward to the next bar, something I can't say about any other bars. They are almost double the calorific value of any other bar making them the closest thing to a true meal replacement that I have come across.
I'm planning on taking PROBAR with my on my second trip to Mt. Whitney in two weeks and can't wait to share some of them with my hiking partner Ben, I'm confident he is going to like them too. If you've never tried a PROBAR before, or are concerned that they are just like all the other hiking/energy bars on the market, try one and you'll see that they are the real deal. If I had enough to give some away I would, but the samples I was given are nearly all gone, well except for the few I've been saving for my Whitney trip!
Have you ever tried PROBAR? If so what did you think of them compared to other bars you've tried?
Related Posts You Might Like:
- Homemade Lara-Type Bars
- CLIF Bar | Gary's Panforte Limited Edition
- Taste Test | CLIF Mojo Trail Bars
- Skout Organic Trail Bars
Disclosure: PROBAR provided Brian's Backpacking Blog with a complementary samples for taste testing.