Over the last few weeks, I’ve indulged in a bar-buying binge. I knew I wanted to carry on with this exploration of all things bars, so whenever we’ve gone to Strawberry Fields or Meijer or any other snack-selling establishment, I’ve spent a few moments of wonder in front of the bar selection, trying to remember the things I’ve tried and the things I don’t have at home. This has resulted in a giant pile of bars distributed between my kitchen, my bag, and the desk drawer at work.
Clif Black Cherry Almond bar
I grabbed this one for a mid-morning snack the other day after a wholly delicious but unsatisfying pastry breakfast. Despite my great love of Clif bars, this is one I hadn’t tried before – I think I’m mainly just suspicious of fruit bars for no good reason. I neglected to make notes about this bar, which probably means I should eat it again, but also means it was fairly unremarkable. Fruity, not exceptionally nutty – just generally solid Clif fare. I probably won’t go out of my way to buy again – but if I’m at the gas station and it’s that or Cheetos for breakfast, sure, I’ll eat it.
OK, I lied. I’d totally go for the Cheetos. No offense, Clif.
The stats: 250 calories/5 g fat/44 g carbs/20 g sugar/10 g protein
Clif Mojo Honey Roasted Peanut
The Clif Mojo line is an interesting development. The bars are all right around 180-200 calories and are more trail-mix-y than your traditional Clif fare. The packaging reads: “Folks tell us it’s pretty darn good. CLIF Moo is all about getting out there, trying new things, combining new flavors and textures, and respecting the planet by using as many organic ingredients as possible.” Now, I’m all about ‘getting out there’, ‘trying new things’, and ‘combining new flavors and textures’, not to mention ‘respecting the planet’ and ‘using as many organic ingredients as possible’ – but I don’t really see how a ‘honey roasted peanut’ bar does any of those things. I mean, ‘honey roasted’ and ‘peanut’ is a pretty standard combination of flavors. It hardly represents ‘new things’, though the sticky sweetness of the bar is a new texture for good ol’ reliable nuts. This bar was pretty damned tasty, though. It could be improved by putting it on top of peanut butter nougat and covering it in caramel and chocolate, but then I think you’d have a Snickers bar, and that’s not really what we’re going for here.
The stats: 200 calories/10 g fat/20 g carbs/9 g sugar/10 g protein
Clif Mojo Fruit Nut Crunch
Honestly, despite what I said about the Black Cherry Almond, this was my first real Clif let-down. It was not as fruity as I’d hoped, and was more nutty than I expected. It’s kind of like a trail mix bar without the M&Ms. It’s fine, but the other Mojos are better.
The stats: 190 calories/8 g fat/23 g carbs/11 g sugar/10 g protein
Balance “Bare” – Sweet & Salty Chocolate Almond (natural flavor)
I was initially suspicious of Balance after a few fairly gross samples. I think I had initially gone for the low-carb, low-calorie snack bars – y’know, the ones around 100 calories that are meant to tide you over until your next meal replacement bar. The first bites of those bars were heavenly – followed by total grossness, but at that point I was so close to the end that I couldn’t just spit it out. I imagine it’s somewhat like the experience of eating peanut butter if you’re a dog – delicious, yet fairly strange and aggravating. The Sweet & Salty Chocolate Almond “bare” proved me wrong – at least for the time being. It was crunchy, tasty, not at all bar-y, with no weird sugar alcohol mushiness. The bar was crispy without being overly crispy, with nuts and melty delicious chocolate underneath. You’ve won me over for now, Balance.
The stats: 210 calories/9 g fat/23 g carbs/12 g sugar/13 g protein