I don't think it's any secret that I love all things Vega. I run three days a week (Yes, I'm back again! My foot isn't bothering me for now), and I immediately follow those runs with Vega Electrolyte Hydrator mixed with water. And then 30 minutes or so after my run, I have a protein-packed smoothie using fresh fruit, almond milk, and Vega One All-in-One Nutritional Shake. This morning, I mixed Vega French Vanilla powder with a banana, almond milk, and Justin's Maple Almond Butter. Yum!
I don't eat Vega bars as often as I use the smoothie powders. But I do love them! Bars are so versatile. They're great for a between-meal snack, a pre-workout energizer, a post-workout protein boost, or even a mid-run snack. And now Vega has a bar specifically designed for just about any use you would need. I got to try their new bars (and some reformulated old faves) recently.
They sent me two new Vega Snack Bars ...
... two reformulated Vega One Bars ...
... and two Vega Sport Protein Bars and two Vega Sport Energy Bars.
The Snack Bars are totally new! These are low-calorie (between 180 and 220), low-protein (between 3 and 5 grams) bars specifically designed for snacking. But they're snacks you can feel good about because they're made with healthy, all-natural vegan ingredients and good-for-you stuff like chia, hemp seeds, and other "superfoods." My fave Snack Bar was the Dark Chocolate Mixed Nuts & Sea Salt Bar because, um, dark chocolate and sea salt. I enjoyed this at my desk one day when I knew lunch would be late.
I love the granola-like texture of the Snack Bars. They're crunchy and chewy in all the right ways. The Cranberry Almond Bar was just right before my lunch time yoga class. I don't need lots of protein and fuel for yoga since it's low-impact. But I needed a little something to keep me from starving since lunch was after class. This one had whole almonds and chewy dried cranberries!
Vega One Bars have been around for awhile, but they've been reformulated. I'm honestly not sure what is different because it's been awhile since I've had the old Vega One bars. But I can tell you the new ones are fantastic. Vega One Bars are designed as meal replacers, and they contain 12 to 13 grams of protein, antioxidants, greens, Omega-3s, vitamins, and minerals. These can be enjoyed after a workout, just like one would drink a Vega One smoothie.
I'm pretty sure I had the Chocolate Peanut Butter one first because there's really no better combination. I had this instead of a smoothie one morning after a run. Since it's coated in dark chocolate, it tastes just like a candy bar!
Last week, after a particularly un-vegan-friendly work luncheon at which I could only eat a salad that I picked the cheese off of (yuck!), I devoured this Vega One Chocolate Cherry Almond Bar in my car on the way back to the office. You cannot know the joy of a vegan bar until you've starved through a crappy catered lunch. I loved the combo of dried cherries, crispy almonds, and chocolate.
Vega Sport Bars are also reformulated. The Vega Sport Energy Bars are designed for endurance athletes looking for a carb boost before or during a workout. They have low protein (4 grams) since you don't need much protein until AFTER your workout. Each bar has between 27 and 30 grams of carbs from dates, cherries, and apples. I actually cut this Chocolate Coconut Almond Bar into four pieces to eat as small energy bites on my runs. I do get hungry mid-run, especially when I'm running late in the day on a weekend. But a full bar would have been too much. One-fourth was a perfect pick-me-up.
I love how the bars are made with dried fruit. They remind me of Larabars but with special ingredients designed for athletes. The Apple Cherry Bar was simply fruit-sweetened, so it tasted naturally sweet, rather than sickly sweet. Honestly, I can't remember when I ate this bar, likely before a workout. But I remember the taste being awesome.
Vega Sport Protein Bars are designed to enjoy after a workout. In case you don't know, you should always have lots of protein after a tough workout to help with muscle recovery. Unlike the Energy Bars, which are made with fruit and no chocolate, the Protein Bars are chocolate-covered like Vega One Bars are. So basically, they're healthy dessert. Each bar contains 15 grams of whole grain and brown rice protein!
I was sent samples of the Chocolate Mint Bar and the Chocolate Coconut Bar, and sadly, I'm missing my picture of the mint bar. But both were excellent as post-run smoothie replacers. The mint bar tasted like Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream!! And I could tell a difference the next day — my muscles really weren't sore! My usual Vega One scoop has less protein than these bars, so the extra protein definitely helped.
So there you have it — a Vega Bar for every occasion. I'll certainly be stocking up on the Protein and Vega One bars to mix up my mornings between smoothies and bars. And the Snack Bars will definitely become my new favorite desk snack!