Kuali sent me some samples of their amaranth superfood snack bars to try, so I've been consuming these before runs for the past week. These are made with amaranth, a gluten-free super-seed that has iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. It's also one of the rare pseudo-grains that contains Vitamin C.
The amaranth in these bars is popped, which gives them a really cool texture and almost popcorn-like flavor. I've tried popping amaranth at home before, and it's no easy feat. I typically burn the seeds before they pop. But I love that Kuali bars have done the hard work for you.
The ingredient list is simple, and it fits all my criteria for a good running fuel bar. The first ingredient listed is agave syrup, which is a great simple sugar for quick energy. And the popped amaranth works to keep me full for a 30 to 50 minute run.
I tried the Amaranth Snack Bars with Cranberries first. These were flecked with dried cranberries. At first, I thought the bar tasted a little dry. But mid-way through, I grew to actually enjoy the chewy, dryness of the bar. And by the end, I wanted more. They have a way of growing on you. I could have used a few more cranberries though.
Next, I sampled the Amaranth Snack Bars with Chia and Quinoa. The texture was very similar but slightly less dry. Although I spotted some quinoa in these, I couldn't find a chia seed (maybe they're blended into a gel before they're added?). Despite that though, this ended up being my favorite flavor. (UPDATE: The company read the review and contacted me to let me know they were using a pale chia seed in these, so they blend in. But in future bars, they may begin using the regular, darker-colored chia seeds).
The Amaranth Snack Bars with Cocoa were really yummy too. The cocoa flavor is mild, but it's there. And it's a nice complement to the popcorn flavor of the amaranth.
Kuali bars are unlike any bars I've had before, and I like that! Sometimes, I get stuck in a rut of eating the same Larabars over and over and over. But these were very different. I'd buy them again!