Category Archives: energy bars

What About Aussie Bites at Costco?

I don’t know how long Costco has been carrying them, but I just stumbled across Aussie Bites at Costco yesterday. These seem to be a variation on the theme of Sunrise Energy Bars which I posted about here in November of 2012. They look like a smaller version of the Sunrise bars, they are packaged in a transparent plastic tub and sealed similarly (see pics). And that isn’t where the similarity ends. After I wrote about the Sunrise bars, Costco stopped carrying them for awhile. You can check the comments on that post for details. One of the items readers noticed were the Aussie Bites which seemed to be a substitute.

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I am a satisfied Costco customer, but don’t have a clue about their marketing practices. Items are on the shelves then they disappear. Sometimes they reappear, sometimes they reappear with new packaging. Not a clue.

So, what about these Aussie Bites? They are granola-like with a consistency closer to a muffin. I thought they tasted similar to the Sunrise bars although somewhat sweeter.

Nutrition is as follows:
One serving is one ounce – 28 grams
Calories 130
Total fat 7 grams
Saturated fat 3 grams
Cholesterol 10 mg
Sodium 35 mg
Carbohydrates 15 grams
Fiber 2 grams
Protein 2 grams

The Aussie Bites ingredients include: Whole grain rolled oats, Whole grain oat flour, Unsalted butter, Expeller pressed canola oil, Sugar, Honey, Dried apricots, Raisins, Sunflower kernels, Flax seeds, Shredded coconut, Baking soda and Salt.

For nutritional comparison here is the breakdown for a single one ounce bar: 130 calories, total fat 6 grams, saturated fat 3 grams, cholesterol 10 mg, Sodium 75 grams, carbohydrates 17 grams, fiber 3 grams and 2 grams of protein.

Although they have the same serving size, the Aussie Bites are smaller in size than the Sunrise bars, so you need to pay attention to how much you are eating. The 130 calories is not bad for a snack, but if you eat two or three that is another story. On the positive side, I think these are pretty dense nutritionally compared with junk food like Hostess Ho Ho’s which I wrote about two Novembers ago.

Personally, these work very well for what I consider to be energy snacks. I bring them along on a bike ride and eat about 50 calories worth when I take a break. So, I get energy without tying up my digestive system with a lot of work.

If you are a snacker, you might want to check out my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Tony

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What is a Super Healthy Energy Treat? – nogii’s Protein D’Lites

I must apologize for the lateness of this write up. I found nogiis in Costco over a year ago and I have probably consumed five bags of them by now. I kept thinking about writing them up, but just never got around to it. Till now.

If you haven’t run across them, they are wonderful little very healthy energy bars put out by Elizabeth Hasselbeck. Yes, she is the one from TV.0085651300224_500X500

Nogiis measure about 1.5 inches square and they are less than an inch thick. Individually wrapped, they travel well. I stick a couple in the pocket of my jersey when I go off to bike.

What are they? Very tasty chocolate, caramel, crunchy and chewy quasi cubes. There is a light milk chocolate flavor that I find very appealing. They almost taste like healthy Reese’s peanut butter cups. Since they only amount to 120 calories, they are perfect for my biking energy snacks. I eat half of one for 60 calories. That way my body isn’t bogged down digesting a ton, but I get an energy boost.

Nutrition Breakdown:
One bar = one ounce, or 28 grams
Calories 120
Total fat 4.5 grams
Saturated fat 2 grams
No cholesterol
Sodium 90 mg
Carbohydrates 13 grams
Fiber one gram
Sugar 8 grams
Protein 7 grams

They are gluten-free if that appeals to you.

The package suggests “in the car, gym bag or at the movies” for other uses. This portable protein is always on hand.

Tony

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What About the Clif Mojo Sweet and Salty Bars from Costco?

On the one hand, I have been eating ‘energy’ or ‘protein’ snack bars for over 40 years. I used to buy the old Balance Bars back when I was working as a reporter and couldn’t get away for lunch. So, I have a lot of experience with them. Likewise, today after retirement, while riding my bike daily and logging lots of miles, I rely on bars for my energy breaks and for fuel to keep me going. All this is a prelude to my having just discovered the Clif Mojo Sweet and Salty Bars on my last visit to, you guessed it – Costco.

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I’m sure regular readers are experiencing some deja vu here, as I have time and again written about my latest discovery from Costco. I must confess that while the Mojo bars are new to me, I may be like the husband, the last to know. I’m not sure how long they have actually been around.

Going back to my early experience with energy bars, I have eaten more than one that tasted a lot like flavored sawdust. Nowadays, however, particularly with this Mojo bar, the old Virginia Slims slogan applies, “You’ve come a long way, Baby.”

These new bars hit me right in the taste buds – sweet and salty. Everything I love. Before I got control of my weight, my appetite for both the sweet and salty treats contributed to my undoing. In the evenings, I used to snack on salty potato chips and pretzels and then finish off with ice cream or chocolate. That’s how I got  up to plus 220 pounds and a plus 4o inch waist. You can read about how I lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks. Now comes a healthy treat that is both sweet and salty from the noted Clif kitchens. I love the taste as well as the texture of these bars.131114-P7843

The box I bought from Costco was a “24 bar variety pack,” including eight mountain mix, eight dark chocolate almond coconut and eight peanut butter pretzel. The box reads, “70% Organic; 8-9 grams of protein and low glycemic.”

The nutritional breakdown among the three bars is very close:

Serving size: one bar, 45 grams, about 1.5 ounces.
Calories 180
Total Fat 9 grams
Saturated Fat 1.5 grams
No cholesterol
Sodium 200 mg
Potassium 180 mg
Carbohydrates, 21 grams
Fiber 2 grams
Protein 8 grams

To add a sliver of objectivity to this writeup I want to quote from a National Institutes of Health study on protein bars, “The replacement in the diet of refined carbohydrate and fat with fiber and protein has been shown to promote satiety and improve glucose and insulin profiles…. Altering the macronutrient composition of a snack bar can assist in reducing the energy intake at a subsequent meal and improve short term glucose and insulin profiles.”

Check them out and let me know what you think.

Tony

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How About Some Granola Without any Grains?

Let me hear that, get me near that
Crunchy Granola Suite
Drop your shrink and stop your drinkin’
Crunchy granola’s neat ( Neil Diamond )


I agree with Neil about crunchy granola being neat. It has been a part of my diet for more years than I care to remember.

I know ‘Granola Without Grains’ sounds like something left over from April Fool’s Day. But it isn’t.  That’s why I was so surprised to discover Paleo Granola by CJK Foods of Chicago, IL.

“Granola,” according to Wikipedia “is a breakfast food and snack food, popular in the Americas, consisting of rolled oats, nuts, honey, and sometimes puffed rice, that is usually baked until crisp. During the baking process the mixture is stirred to maintain a loose, breakfast cereal-type consistency. Dried fruits, such as raisins and dates, are sometimes added.”

So, clearly, grains are an integral part of granola.

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I must confess almost total ignorance of the Paleo diet. I just checked the web and the first thing I learned is that they don’t eat grains. They do eat grass-produced meats, fish/seafood, fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, nuts and seeds and healthful oils, like coconut oil. Lots of good eating there. So, the fact that you don’t eat grains explains why the Paleo Granola has no grains in it.

Before going further, I need to tell you that I bought it from my local grocer who had a girl passing out samples. I tried one and was blown away by the taste. A party in my mouth! I went right back and picked up a package. I am now on my third one.

Okay, so what is in Paleo Granola?

The ingredients are Organic almonds, organic sunflower seeds, almond flour, organic cashews, organic walnuts, maple syrup, organic flax seeds, organic coconut oil, organic raisins, vanilla, organic coconut flakes, spices and salt.

Here is the nutrition breakdown:
Serving size 2 ounces, 57 grams
Calories 295
Total fat 23 grams
Saturated fat 8 grams
No Trans fat
Sodium 16 mg
Dietary fiber 4 grams
Sugar 11 grams
Protein 7 grams

A quick comparison with a regular granola, puts Paleo slightly higher on calories, a lot higher on total fat, due to the nuts and coconut, way down on sodium and higher on fiber and protein. Not a bad tradeoff, I think.

Although I am a big granola fan and have a bowl almost every day. I have found that I like the taste of this Paleo mixture so much that I use it as a snack and sometimes take chunks of it with me for energy breaks when I ride the bike.

While I usually refrain from writing up local products that are not available to readers of an international blog, I did this one because I thought you might enjoy being exposed to the concept of granola sans grains. Also, resourceful readers might even try to make it on their own with a little experimentation. You have all the ingredients.

If anyone does try to make their own, I hope you will share your experience with the blog.

For Neil Diamond fans, here is the best audio version I could find on You Tube:

Tony

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How do belVita Biscuits compare with Honey Stinger Waffles for Energy?

Regular readers know that I ride my bike daily here in Chicago and when the temp is over 45F I take the dog along in a basket on the front. When I ride with the dog I stop every 30 minutes to give her a break. She walks around a little and gets some treats. The interesting thing is that when I ride without her, I find myself looking forward to the 30 minute breaks, so I continue to take them.

When I take a break every 30 minutes, or around six miles or riding, I always have some small energy snack. I wrote up Honey Stinger Waffles previously.
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A single waffle weighs just over an ounce at 30 grams. It has 160 calories 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, no cholesterol, 55 mg of sodium 21 grams of carbohydrates, one gram of fiber and no protein.

Individual Belvita biscuits are a little smaller than the Honey Stingers.
Belvita-Breakfast-Biscuits-1
One package of biscuits is 230 calories, 220 mg of Sodium 8 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbohydrates. And while the front of the package touts 18 grams of whole grain, there’s only 3 grams of fiber in each packet.

Regarding the energy breaks, I try to limit myself to a 50 calorie snack. That way I get the benefit of the energy without overburdening my digestive system and interfering with the ride. So, I end up snacking on 1/3 of a Honey Stinger compared with one entire belVita biscuit. These are roughly equivalent to 50 calories. Continue reading

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What are Sunrise Clusters with Greek Yogurt Chips from Costco?

Another trip through Costco, another fun healthy snack food found. I wrote about Sunrise Energy Bars back in November and recounted how much I enjoyed them as an energy boost on bike rides.

Apparently now comes the next chapter from the Sunrise brand. These are not bars, but just about bite size (slightly bigger) clusters of a granola-like substance. The package boasts ALL NATURAL, WHOLE GRAIN, OMEGA 3. As you can see from the photo, they come in a big tub and are not individually wrapped like a lot of energy products.

clusters

For folks with little impulse control, here is my early verdict. I have snacked on a couple of them and liked the taste very much. They are very handy for a guy like me who tosses little snacks into a bag and brings them on bike rides for energy pick me ups.

The ingredients include: whole grain rolled oats, whole grain oat flour, cranberries, raisins, dried apples, apricots, almonds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, walnuts, shredded coconut, non-hydrogenated canola oil, unsalted butter, Greek yogurt chips, sugar, palm kernel oil, yogurt powder, whey protein concentrate, nonfat dry milk, yogurt cultures, reduced mineral whey powder, lactic acid, soy lecithin, vanilla, brown sugar, honey, salt, baking powder, baking soda, tapioca syrup, natural flavor and cinnamon.

The nutritional breakdown is as follows:
Serving size 3 pieces (28 grams) which amounts to one ounce.
Calories 140
Total fat 8 grams
Saturated fat 2 grams
Cholesterol 5 mg
Sodium 75 mg
Total carbohydrates 15 grams
Fiber 2 grams
Protein 3 grams

Nutritionally, the Clusters are almost identical with the Sunrise Energy Bars:
Here is the nutritional breakdown for a single Sunrise Energy Bar of 28 grams:
Calories 130
Total fat 6 grams
Saturated fat 3 grams
Cholesterol 10 mg
Sodium 75 mg
Total carbohydrates 17 grams
Fiber 3 grams
Protein 2 grams

They don’t taste very different, either. So, it may come down to what shape you like your energy snacks in, bite-sized cluster, or slightly larger snack bar.

As far as function goes, I ride my bike almost daily here in Chicago. I take along snacks to boost my energy. When I take a break for a snack I try to limit my intake to about 50 calories so my body doesn’t get hung up in digestion. So, the slightly lower in calorie Clusters appeal to me.

As always, your comments are welcome.

Tony

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How Good is the Costco Energy Blend Snack?

On a recent trip to Costco, I happened upon the Energy Blend snack. As I shop there regularly and have never seen this before, I have to believe it is new to Costco. Since I ride my bike as close to daily as is possible in a four season city like Chicago, i am always on the lookout for fresh and portable sources of energy to take with me on rides.
energyblend
The Energy Blend seems to fill the bill. It has a simple composition of edamame (soybeans) , cranberries, almonds and pumpkin seeds. In addition there are blueberry pomegranate juice and natural strawberry flavor. These are some very good sources of nutrition on their own so the combination looks promising.

At this point, I have only had a single serving of it which comes to 1/4 cup or 30 grams – about an ounce.

I enjoyed eating it. Very nice taste and texture.

The nutritional breakdown is as follows:
Calories 130
Total Fat 6 grams
Saturated fat 0.5 grams
No trans fat
No cholesterol
Sodium 65 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14 grams
Fiber 4 grams
Protein 7 grams

This seems a very good nutritional breakdown to me. There is fat for energy, not too many calories, enough sodium to restore salt sweated away, a good slug of fiber and protein. I think it is worth the try.

Let me know what you think.

If you aren’t a regular reader, here are some other recommendations on Costco items:

Roasted Seaweed

Coconut oil

Fruit and Nut treats

Organic Chocolate Love Crunch

Rotisserie chicken

Sunrise energy bars

Tony

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Is Chocolate a Good Energy Booster?

There are lots of kinds of chocolate, but if you are thinking that milk chocolate, the most popular kind, is a good energy booster because it has caffeine in it, you are incorrect.

WebMD said, “Chocolate does have caffeine. But if you’re looking to get a caffeine boost, chocolate isn’t your best bet.

Chocolate

You’d need to eat 14 regular-sized (1.5 oz) bars of  milk chocolate to get the same caffeine as you’d find in a 8-ounce cup of coffee! That would have about  3,000 calories and more than 300 grams of sugar — compared to only about two calories in black coffee.

Dark chocolate does have more caffeine than milk chocolate. Even then, it would take four bars to give you the same buzz as one cup of regular Joe.”

This is part of a WebMD quiz on chocolate that you can take at the link above.

If you want to boost your energy, eat or drink a tablespoon or two of coconut oil. You can take it straight from the jar, or mix it into your smoothie or energy drink.

Dr. Bruce Fife, certified nutritionist and author of The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil says the reason coconut oil is such an energy booster is because of its medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). Continue reading

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What Are Sunrise Energy Bars from Costco?

NEWS FLASH: I just came from Costco today (October 25, 2014) and they have started to stock these again after dropping them for a while. —————————— At the risk of sounding like a shill for Costco, I found yet another excellent food value there yesterday. I went to pick up my new glasses from the optical department, but once there I had to shop some, too. As regular readers know I ride my bike nearly daily here in Chicago. I take along energy snacks to give me that little boost on a long ride. I am not as young as I used to be and these little pick-me-ups help. I currently have in my cabinet several boxes of Honey Stinger Waffles, Power Crunch Bars (several varieties), PowerBars and Clif Honey Oat Crunch Bars. You can read my report on any of them by typing them into the SEARCH box at the right. On a ride, I stop about every half hour. I do this to let the dog out of her basket and stretch her legs and also to have an energy break for myself. I try to limit my recharging to 50 calories per stop so my body isn’t tied up in digestion when I want energy for pedaling. Enter Sunrise Energy Bars. As you can see from the photo, they come unwrapped in a big tub. One bar looks like someone smooshed together a bunch of granola and let it harden. Continue reading

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Is There a Good Chocolate Energy Bar?

I am a former runner, but I no longer indulge. As regular readers know, I ride a bike just about daily on Chicago’s Lakefront. If I am going to be out getting exercise, I would rather be on the bike than running. I have bad feet and when I was a runner I suffered a lot of injuries to my feet and ankles. I think running is a good healthy exercise although I do not think you should run a marathon and wrote about it on November 10.

Having said that, Chicago has a major marathon each year and it takes place in early October. Although I don’t participate, I do attend the Chicago Marathon Health and Fitness Expo which has lots of goodies for endurance athletes which includes cyclists, too.

These are the goodies I picked up at this year’s Chicago Marathon Expo

That’s where I discovered some really good and good tasting chocolate energy bars. An expo like this is valuable because you get a nice cross section of the current products available that might not be at your local stores. Also, they often have ‘show specials’ where they give you a nice discount if you buy it right there. As a retired guy, I am always happy to be able to $ave.
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What About Chocolate Honey Stinger Waffles?

I wrote up Honey Stinger waffles back in December of last year when I first ran across them. They are a wonderful energy pick-me-up that rivals energy bars, drinks and gels. You can read the initial write up here.

At the time I had only tried the Honey flavored ones. Since then Honey Stingers must be successful as they have released several new flavors including Vanilla, Strawberry and, most recently, Chocolate.

The Honey and Vanilla flavors tasted super, so I naturally tried the Strawberry, too. Another winner. For the past eight months I have been including a Honey Stinger on most of my bike rides.

A single waffle weighs just about an ounce at 30 grams
It has 160 calories 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, no cholesterol, 55 mg of sodium 21 grams of carbohydrates, one gram of fiber and no protein.

When I take a break on a ride, I try to limit myself to 50 calories, so I eat one waffle over the course of three rest stops. The Honey Stingers are real energy boosters with the organic honey in them.
Continue reading

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What are Honey Stinger Waffles?

As far as I am concerned it was love at first bite. I just stumbled across these after getting a pitch to buy them from Mellow Johnny’s bike shop. For those not familiar with it, Mellow Johnny’s is the bike shop owned by Lance Armstrong in Austin, Texas. I am wearing a Mellow Johnny’s jersey in my profile pic on our About page. Since the Armstrong debacle I have removed that pic and Honey Stinger has removed him from the wrapper pic.

Here is what the MJ website said about them, “In the over saturated world of energy drinks, gels and bars, it’s sometimes hard to know what to get. Over here at Mellow Johnny’s we think it should be something that actually tastes good.

“Not only do Honey Stinger Waffles fulfill your nutritional needs, they also taste amazing. Not runny like a gel, or unpalatable like many bars, these little waffles are the go food for our staff. This is one of those products that are easy to sell simply because we believe in them. Try one and you’ll get the idea.”

Honey Stinger Waffles are a new entry into the world of energy bars, drinks, gels, etc., here in the U.S. They are made by a company in Steamboat Springs Colorado. Here is their website with a cool You Tube video about them.

Their advertising copy says, “Waffles aren’t just for breakfast; they’re a perfect snack food for anytime. Inspired by Lance Armstrong’s favorite European riding treat called the “stroopwafel,” Honey Stinger’s Organic Stinger Waffles are a great way to replenish energy on or off the bike. Single-serving design stashes conveniently in a jersey pocket.”

Nutritionally:
A single waffle weighs just over an ounce at 30 grams
It has 160 calories 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, no cholesterol, 55 mg of sodium 21 grams of carbohydrates, one gram of fiber and no protein.

I was very impressed with the ingredients: Organic wheat flour, organic palm fruit oil, organic rice syrup, organic cane sugar, organic honey, organic whole wheat flour, organic soy flour, sea salt, organic soy lecithin, organic spices and baking soda.

They were just delivered three days ago, so I haven’t had much experience with them. As far as taste goes, they totally thrill my sweet tooth. You can taste the honey. I ate one after a bike ride yesterday and felt it gave me a lift
not unlike what I get from my watermelon recovery treats. I look forward to using them regularly in the coming weeks.

So far I have only had the mouth-watering honey flavored ones, there are also strawberry and vanilla available. I will let you know about further developments.

Update posted 21 December 2011. I have now had the vanilla flavored Honey Stingers, too. They are not quite as sweet, but equally mouth-watering. I take them on bike rides. The hardest thing is trying not to eat the whole waffle at one stop as I usually try to limit myself to 50 calories (about a third of a waffle) on a rest stop because I want my body to be focused on riding not digesting.

Tony

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Energy Bars – Clif Honey Oat Crunch Bar (4)

This is the fourth and final entry in my review of the energy bars I use and recommend. The Clif Honey Oat Crunch Granola bar differs significantly from the previous three bars.

They are smaller and come in packs of two bars. The two bars weigh a total of only 1.5 ounces (42 grams). So, those two bars are only 62% of the size of the 2.4 ounce Clif Builder bar. Significantly less. Also, the texture of the bar is very much like a crunchy candy bar while the others are all very much in the realm of high-powered energy food bars.

Clif Honey Oat Crunch Bar

That being said, I must confess that I absolutely love the Honey Oat crunchers. I eat them like candy. When I take a package of two on a ride, I have to work to make them last for even two rest stops. I would not hesitate to take these to a movie to keep me from patronizing the diabolical refreshment stand.

Additionally, because of their nutty texture, they are just fine in the hottest weather and can easily be carried in my pocket.

Nutritionally, they fall below the others, however, mainly due to their smaller size. A package yields only 180 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, no cholesterol, 110 mg of sodium, 90 mg of potassium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.

They are packaged 5 packs of bars to a box. I find that I have to order them five boxes at a time.

Tony

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Energy Bars – Clif Bar (2)

Clif markets a number of energy bars. This was the first Clif Bar that I tried. As I said with the PowerBar, the Clif Bar is a great idea for any of the endurance sports like running, swimming or biking.

Of this particular Clif Bar there are possibly a dozen flavors, so you can likely find one that works for you.

Cool Mint Chocolate Clif Bar

This bar has a lot of grain and grain products in it. It feels like a little patty of grain held together with something sticky like carmel.

I have used this bar a lot in riding. It is chewy and can last over several rest stops. I don’t eat the whole bar at one stop.

Nutritionally, a Clif Bar has 250 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, no cholesterol, 140 mg of sodium 240 mg of potassium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein.

Tony

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Energy Bars – PowerBars (1)

I use a number of different energy bars over the course of the year in my cycling. I think they are a great idea for any of the endurance sports like running, swimming or biking. This will be the first of a series of posts on energy bars.

Fruit Smoothie PowerBars

As I ride in the morning after breakfast, an hour of riding burns off around the 500 calories I had for breakfast, so an energy bar is more of a necessity than a treat. Their composition also includes sodium to replace the salt you lost in sweat.

The first ones I tried were PowerBars because Chris Carmichael of Lance Armstrong fame endorses them.

The two PowerBars here are the latest ones I have found and I think they are delicious. Actually, taste isn’t so relevant, as they do the job intended. They are of a taffy-like substance that you tear off with your teeth. In the cold weather I have found they get hard so I have to try to warm them up to eat outdoors. In the warm weather they have the perfect (for me) consistency.

It says on the back of the bar wrapper, “This bar is a great choice for use before and during higher intensity competitions or training sessions like running, cycling and swimming. It’s formulated to be easy to digest….”

Nutritionally, a bar has 220 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, no cholesterol, 180 mg of sodium, 80 mg of potassium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, less than one gram of fiber and 6 grams of protein. A bar weight 2.01 ounces 57 grams, so it is a very compact portion size.

Tony

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