In March, we published an article about Clif Builder’s® protein survey. Although their sample was somewhat limited at 1,000 people, it’s pretty clear that most Americans could use a bit more education about their protein needs before and after workouts. Of course, if you’re reading this, you’re probably in the 35% that understands the importance of protein after a workout, whether it’s a ride, hike, or run.
Once we’ve agreed that protein is important, we need to choose a source. Personally, it doesn’t matter to me where you get your protein from, as long as you find something you like that tastes good, is easy enough to carry with you, and doesn’t have a lot of bad or unnecessary ingredients. Clif would like you to consider their Builder’s® bar, as they taste better than most shakes, are more portable than tuna rolls from your favorite sushi joint, and contain no artificial sweeteners, trans fats, or sugar alcohols, but they do pack 20 grams of quality protein. Here’s the ingredients list for the Chocolate Chip:
Soy Protein Isolate, Beet Juice Concentrate, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Palm Kernel Oil, Natural Flavors, Organic Rolled Oats, Alkalized Cocoa, Organic Soy Protein Isolate, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Roasted Soy Beans, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Inulin (Chicory Extract), Rice Starch, Soy Lecithin, Organic Rice Flour, Organic Oat Fiber, Sea Salt, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Soybean Oil, Vanilla Extract, Organic Alkalized Cocoa, Organic Vanilla Extract, Salt.
As you can see, there are no chemicals or mystery ingredients, which is why I’ve been enjoying Clif bars since they first showed up on the shelves of my local Trader Joe’s in the early 90’s. It was only natural for me to want to try out the latest flavors in their Bulder’s® line – S’mores, Chocolate Chip, and Crunchy Peanut Butter, and the folks at Clif were happy to oblige. I received two of each, and here are my thoughts on each one.
Chocolate Chip: Hard to go wrong with a classic. Two layers of ingredients, wrapped in chocolate. If you want that chocolately flavor without the guilt, this is the way to go. Bear in mind that it’s not an overwhelming chocolate sensation, there’s a lot of other flavors going on too. But the nice thing is that there’s no chemical or artificial flavors present. The texture was chewy, and (crunchy) and a bit dry. Like all the bars, you’ll want to pair it with plenty of fluids.
Crunchy Peanut Butter: Another staple when it comes to flavors, it seems that most folks either love or hate peanut butter. I found this to be the most accurate as far as the flavor matching the description. It too was a bit dry, and if I drank milk, would probably have a tall glass with this one.
S’mores: Although I’m a fan of real s’mores, I’ve found that anything with that label that’s made from other than just marshmallows, graham crackers, and a Hershey bar falls short in the flavor category. This bar is an interesting exception. Within the multiple layers and outer chocolate coating is a complex mix of flavors that didn’t quite add up to s’mores for me, but tasted really good. Perhaps it was my imagination, but there was almost an element of toasted graham crackers in there. Not a substitute for the real thing, but a fair trade-off, considering the nutritional content.
All of the bars were as expected – good taste, and a pleasing texture. They’re not so dry as to be unpleasant, but you’ll want to rehydrate when you’re having one. And the new flavors open up options for anyone looking to add a bit of variety to their pre or post-workout snacks.
In addition to providing these Clif bars for our review, the folks at Clif have generously offered up some product for a Mother’s Day giveaway! Each pack includes the ultimate in guilt-free chocolate: Clif Crunch, Mojo, and original Bars. Three prize packs will be given away – one on Industryoutsider, and two on Twospoke.com. While this contest is only for the ladies, we’ll let the guys nominate their favorite wife, mom, sister, daughter, or friend too. Just tell us why you (or your nominee) deserves the healthy indulgence of a chocolate Clif Bar prize pack. Contest ends Sunday, May 6th, at or around midnight. Winners will be chosen and contacted the following day, so we can try to get their prizes delivered in time for Mother’s Day.