Thursday, October 27, 2011

100th Post! Attack of the Vegan Protein/Snack Bars

Man, I wish I had planned for this. I didn't. I have not grocery shopped and I am about to hop a plane again.

So.. This post will be unfortunately without many pictures. If I ever get some time to get organized, I will add them on. Last week while I was out of town, I decided to test out vegan protein and snack bars to see what was out there, what was good, what wasn't etc, etc.

I find as a vegan that travels a lot, I need to always have a protein bar or two with me at all times. You never know when you are going to be stuck somewhere hungry and all you can get is a green salad. For me that is never enough!

My problem has always been that I never know what is vegan and what isn't and I never know if the bar is going to be good enough that I will even bother finishing it. In my opinion a protein bar or snack bar is not really ideal, but in a pinch it works for me. I went to a few different stores to see what was out there. I found lots. I also went online to see what people recommended and some said that bars that I am sure were vegan, were not. I read the ingredients, so hopefully I didn't miss something.

Before I review, here is a few of my overall learnings from this experience:

I don't like protein bars. In general, protein bars are going to pack the bigger punch when you're hungry. Every protein/meal replacement bar I tried, I didn't finish. I didn't like any of them. I found that protein bars were more dry, less sweet and really just not my favourite. Snack bars, on the other hand are pretty good. Lots of sugar and not so cardboard like. Such is the story of my life! :S

They are expensive! Across the board they are $2-3 each. That adds up. If you can find a way to get real food, I would say go for it. Next time I am in the US I think I will stock up, they are about half the price there from what I saw.

Ingredients... too many! Almost every bar I tried had an ingredient list that barely fit on the packaging. That is too much if you ask me. The longer the list of ingredients, the more suspicious I get about how healthy it really is and whether it is actually vegan. I am learning there are a lot of things out there that are derived from animals that I didn't know about.

Check the labels - a lot fo the bars I tried said vegan right on them. That makes it so much easier!

Flavour - I was hoping to make this a better experiment by only trying chocolate flavoured bars. Unfortunately my assumption that chocolate would be an across the board flavour was very wrong. I also found out that chocolate is probably my least favourite! Lesson learned.

So what bars did I try? There are probably more out there, but these are the ones I attempted to eat.

Protein Bars

  1. Vega Bar - I was excited about this one. Mostly because it gets promoted a lot on my twitter feed. Unfortunately, I did not like it at all. It was kind of dry and didn't taste that great. However, it did the job as I ate it as a meal and I wasn't hungry after eating about half of it. From that respect, this maybe was not as bad as I thought at the time. It doesn't seem to have a lot of other flavours going on which is good for me. It has 10g of protein and 6g of fibre. Most of the ingredients were not chemical looking on the label (date, hemp, almond, flax, even dulse!)
  2. Pro Bar - This one I hated, to be honest. Mostly because it was chocolate, but had dried fruit in it, including pineapple and I just don't like that combo. The ingredient list is insane, with over 35 listed. Most of which were, again, real foods and not processed stuff. If you like fruit and chocolate, this could be a good choice. It has a lot of calories (370) and 20g of fat! This one is seriously a meal replacer. Be warned if you eat this as a snack!
  3. Clif Bar - This one was one I heard online isn't vegan. I couldn't find anything non vegan in it, so I tried it. I did not like it. Not at all! Dry and kind of tasted like cardboard. I didn't finish it and I did not feel full from it.
  4. Bumble Bar - I am not sure if this is a snack or protein bar, but I was told it was supposed to be a protein bar. I love the packing on these, but to my surprise when I opened it, the bar looked like those sesame snacks you can get at the grocery store. It tastes like sesame and brown rice syrup. It was good, sort of filling (not as much as the other two), but to be honest, I could make this at home pretty easy and probably better. 
Snack Bars
  1. Lara - This was the first vegan snack bar I have had. I don't like the chocolate flavour, but the fruit ones are great and there are tons of options which is good. My favourite is key lime and peanut butter and jelly. They do have quite a bit of calories and not a lot of protein and fibre, but these are something that I often take with me on trips. Easy to pack and I know they will taste good.
  2. Luna - I saw online that these are not vegan. I have gone over the ingredients many times and can't see why they aren't, so I am listing it. If they really are not, let me know! I love Luna bars, but only one flavour, Smore's. Chocolaty and sweet they make a great little snack or packable dessert. This is another one I take with me a lot.
  3. ReBar - First time eating this. I had the banana walnut flavour and it was really good. A little less in calories at 170, these to me seem like a good option for a snack. not much in the way of protein and fibre though. It tastes kind of like a fruit roll up.
Chocolate Bars
  1. Twilight - this bar is basically a vegan mars bar. It was so good. Has a lot of calories in though, but if looking for a treat, this is a good one.
  2. Mahalo Bar - Made by the same people as the Twilight bar, this is another yummy treat. Made with coconut, chocolate and almond. I ate this after sitting at a staff pizza party where I did not have much for food. I was so glad I had this. I think it kind of tastes like a bounty bar.
So there you have it. If you are looking for a snack bar, meal replacer or a treat, there are lots of options out there for us vegans. These bars never replace the real deal which is a good balanced meal, but in a pinch they are better than nothing. I am so glad I tried all the different ones out there and have added a few now to my vegan travel bag so I know I will never truly go hungry.

Did I miss any good ones out there? If so, leave a comment!

** I may not be blogging for the next few days, I will try, but you have been warned. I will be back for sure on Monday though! Have a good weekend!


  1. Happy 100 posts!

    I think you need to mention how easy and cheap it is to make Lara bars at home. The only downsides are that you have to haul out the food processor, and you have to refrigerate, but if you're eating those regularly I think it's worth it.

    Where did you find all these bars? Are they all available at Planet?

  2. If you go to the clif website and view their nutritional info you can filter everything by what is vegan. Btw all the regular Luna bars are vegan, but the protein branded ones use whey.