Keeping Up with Paleo
If you are truly following the paleo diet you know that any processed food is not on the menu. But, let’s be honest, life is not always that simple. We have emergencies come up and a quick bite will mean the difference of having a good day and a really bad day, so grabbing a Paleo Bar along the way might be the best option for you.
Over the last couple years, a bunch of new Paleo energy bars have come on to the market. And if you’re lucky enough to live in a city or town with an open-minded health food store, you can probably find at least a few of these bars right in your own neighborhood.
Here we review the 11 most popular Paleo bars we found at Whole Food and Erewhon in Los Angeles, California. We rated them from 1 to 10, based on Flavor and Texture, keeping the Macronutrient ratio is mind as well.
#1 – Simple Square – Coffee
Yum! I like a bar that has real food in it. You can see every nut and seed that Simple Square puts into this bar. Its flavors are straightforward, yet complex. In this specific bar, you can taste the coffee, but only a hint. I like that they don’t try to over power the bar with one specific flavor. As for the macronutrient breakdown, it’s what you’d expect from eating nuts and seeds: high in good fats, equal amount of carbs and less protein than any of the other bars.
Flavor: 10, Texture: 10, Protein 6g, Fat 17g, Carbs 16g, Sugar 10, Calories 230
Verdict: I could see myself snacking on one of these every day. I’m looking forward to trying some of their other flavors.
#2 – Thunderbird Bar — Cashew Fig Carrot
Holy cow! This tastes just like Fig Newton, which I loved when I was younger. I could take down an entire sleeve of those babies. Here’s what I like about the Thunderbird Bar: I can taste every single one of the ingredients they say are in there. The mostly organic ingredients include dates, cashews, carrots, figs, nutmeg, vanilla and pink Bolivian Rose salt. That’s it! Simple and tasty.
Flavor: 9, Texture: 9, Protein 4g, Fat 3g, Carbs 29g, Sugar 26, Calories 150
Verdict: Something to consider with this bar is the carb and sugar content. If you’re downing more than one of these bad boys a day, in my opinion, that’s too much sugar. But Freelee the Banana Girl (who we interview here) might have a different opinion.
#3 – The Granilla Bar – Sunbutter Brownie
OMG this has huge chocolate brownie chunks inside. Yum! There’s nothing about this bar to really complain about. It’s expected that you’ll have the granola texture from the name of the bar and they were pretty spot on with the sun butter brownie flavor. Have to assume, the high fat content is the cause of that deliciousness. At 27g of fat, this baby takes the prize for highest fat content of all the paleo energy bars. Good news is, if you’re a paleo fan, you’re not afraid of good fats.
Flavor: 9, Texture: 8, Protein 6g, Fat 27g, Carbs 20g, Sugar 11, Calories 330
Verdict: I’d be happy to have one of these in my bag at all times. If you find yourself in a situation to try The Granilla Bar, do it! You won’t regret it.
#4 – Chapul Cricket Bar – Dark Chocolate, Coffee and Cayenne Pepper
You might be wondering why anyone would want to eat bugs as a snack. The answer to that question is, “Why the hell not?” They’re a sustainable, low-fat source of high-quality protein.
The dark chocolate and coffee paired perfectly in this bar, and the spicy finish was a nice touch. It’s also worth noting that there are only five ingredients in this bar: the ones in the description, plus dates and —you guessed it — crickets. Because there aren’t any nuts, Chapul Cricket Bar has a very high protein to fat ratio. In fact, it’s the lowest fat content of any of the bars tested.
Flavor: 9, Texture: 8, Protein 5g, Fat 1g, Carbs 36g, Sugar 25, Calories 150
Verdict: If you can find it, I’d definitely give one of these to try. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that they’re high in sugar and carbs. While you might not want to make it your go-to bar, think of how much fun it will be to mess with your friends by feeding them crickets! I love messing with people….
#5 – Paleo Krunch – Bacon
This tastes like a more brittle version of granola, which doesn’t sound good, but it was. The bacon flavor tasted like smokey bacon bits mixed in with granola. Describing it as such doesn’t give it much justice, but it is a combination worth exploring. Out of all the bars, this one ties for the most carbs and third highest sugar content. Seeing as shredded coconut and apple juice infused cranberries are the second and third ingredient, this might explain why.
Flavor: 9, Texture: 8, Protein 7g, Fat 14g, Carbs 36g, Sugar 20, Calories 298
Verdict: If you’re trying to lose weight, I’d steer clear of this bar. It’s delicious, but I would think of it more as a dessert with yogurt and berries. If you’re working out every day and aren’t worried about dropping pounds, this would be a tasty addition to your snacking regimen.
#6 – Epic Bar – Beef Habanero Cherry
These taste like Slim Jims, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m even having a hard time considering this an “energy bar” and not a cured meat type of snack. As for the flavor, I’m quite happy with the Habanero Cherry. It’s got a sweet spice to it that lingers after just one bite. For $3 I wish there was a little more to it. I don’t think one bar would satisfy me. With only 13g of protein and 11g of fat, I have a feeling I’d be hungry soon after chowing down on one of these.
Flavor: 8, Texture: 7, Protein 13g, Fat 11g, Carbs 10g, Sugar 9, Calories 190
Verdict: I’d say pick up a couple and see if they’re for you. Texture would probably take a second to get used to, but if you are a jerky fan, you’ll probably enjoy it. Buy two or three if you’re hungry.
#7 – Raw Revolution – Chocolate Raspberry Truffle
I got exactly what I expected from this bar. Chocolate Raspberry Truffle is definitely how I’d describe it. I was quite surprised the sugar content wasn’t higher for this bar. Maybe this flavor is lower than others, but I was happy to see a bar that has agave nectar and dates in it coming in so low. All that said, I wasn’t really wowed by this bar, but I think it’s a good go to for $1.70, when you’re in a pinch
Flavor: 6, Texture: 9, Protein 7g, Fat 14g, Carbs 23g, Sugar 13, Calories 220
Verdict: Buy a few of these and keep them in the center consul of you car for emergencies. You’ll get enough nutrients to satisfy you, but it won’t ruin your dinner.
#8 – LÄRABAR – Cashew Cookie
I remember discovering LaraBars years ago when a friend of mine with Celiac disease couldn’t stop raving about the only energy bars she could eat. Lara Bars were one of the first to offer to a wider public the idea of a fruit and nut bar on a grand scale. Every bar still contains only a few ingredients, such as dates, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, unsweetened fruit and spices. I still grab one of these when I’m on-the-go and need some nutrients. For this experiment, I tried the Cashew Cookie. With the first bite, you can immediately recognize cashews and the sweetness of the dates. Very tasty.
Flavor: 8, Texture: 8, Protein 7g, Fat 12g, Carbs 23g, Sugar 18, Calories 220
Verdict: At under $1.50 at Trader Joe’s, stock up and keep them around for emergencies. They are on the high side when it comes to sugar, so try not to double fist if you can.
#9 – Rise Protein Bar – Almond Honey
This protein bar looks nothing like any of the other bars, in that there are no recognizable ingredients that you can see. While the almond and honey flavors are spot-on, I was turned off by the texture, which reminded me of an old school Protein Bar. I’m not saying the Rise Protein Bar isn’t tasty; it just doesn’t resemble food. You can’t see any crushed almonds in there at all. Thankfully, Rise Bars don’t mess around when it comes to protein content. They only have three ingredient in this bar: almond, honey & whey protein isolate. I respect them for that.
Flavor: 8, Texture: 5, Protein 20g, Fat 16g, Carbs 20g, Sugar 13, Calories 280
Verdict: If you are looking for a clean protein bar that will help you reach your desired protein goals, I think this is the one. I plan on stocking up on a few of these for my post workouts or when I’m looking to pack on some muscle. Most protein bars on the market are packed with other additives to make them palatable. Cudos to Rise Protein Bars for going clean.
#10 – Clif Bar – Kit’s Organic – Chocolate Almond Coconut
Clif has finally thrown their hat in the Paleo ring and — given their loyal following — I’m sure this bar will be a big hit. I was quite surprised to see the simplicity of six all-organic ingredients. Well done Clif! This bar has a cakey texture, reminiscent of a Hostess brownies — without the fudge topping. But, as we all know, that fudge made that brownie. I don’t shy away from dry chocolatey deserts, so I didn’t totally hate this bar, but I didn’t love it either.
Flavor: 7, Texture: 7, Protein 4g, Fat 12g, Carbs 25g, Sugar 15, Calories 190
Verdict: This is a solid bar with quality ingredients. I’ve only tasted one of the flavors, so this might be the brand to explore and see if there’s a flavor that fits you well.
#11 – WB Kitchen — Coconut Shortbread
This protein bar brand can be found at health food stores like Erewhon, and this particular flavor is even adorned with a “Paleo-friendly” label. Unlike many other bars out there, WB Kitchen’s actually looks like a cookie. Unfortunately it didn’t taste like any cookie I’d ever eat. The flavors were pretty good in that you can definitely distinguish that you’re eating real coconut by the little nuggets caught in your teeth, but overall I felt this bar fell short in this category. It was a little too heavy, chalky and dense.
Flavor: 6, Texture: 6, Protein 1,4g, Fat 6g, Carbs 12.9g, Sugar 10, Calories 110.3
Verdict: If you’re looking for a Paleo bar specifically, there are better choices out there.
Overall, there are lots of really good Paleo Energy bars to choose from. These bars were rated on their favor and texture profiles, with some consideration given to the macronutrient content. This blog is should give you a nice jumping off point to help you discover which bars might be right for you.
If you discover any other Paleo Bars that you think should be added to this list, please feel free to leave a comment below.
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