Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bar Review: Keep Healthy Bars!

There are four foods I eat on a weekly basis, sometimes multiple times per week — ramen noodles, protein waffles, protein smoothies, and energy/snack bars. The noodles — fancy ramen made from scratch with brown rice noodles, tofu, and veggies — are reserved for my leisurely weekend breakfasts. The waffles and smoothies are strictly for post-workout. But bars find their way into my diet morning, noon, and night.

Most often, I eat them as pre-workout snacks early in the a.m. — like 5:30 or 6 a.m. before I take off for a run or gym class. But sometimes, I'll have a bar before an evening yoga class or as a mid-day snack. I'm always trying different bars, but I'm partial to simple bars made with fruit and nuts. And that's what Keep Healthy Inc. makes. They sent me a whole box of assorted bars to review!

In the box, there were four types of bars — New York Date Bars, Fruitkies, Low Glycemic Bars, and Organic Protein Bars. Each bar is a different flavor, so I didn't get through every one before this review, but I did sample quite a few. 

We'll start with the classic New York Date Bars. These were the original bars that Keep Healthy made with they launched the company. Its founder Ron Sowa learned about the practice of eating and sharing dates while living and working in Abu Dhabi. When he learned how healthy dates were, he launched this bar company back in the States. Here's the New York Date Bar collection.

These are simple, straightforward date bars with just two or three ingredients — dates and nuts. I first tried the Apple Walnut Bar before a workout class at the gym. Dates are perfect for pre-workout because they're a great source of quick-digesting carbs. The texture is soft, and the bars are naturally very sweet. This one had apples, dates, walnuts, and a hint of cinnamon. Tasted like apple pie!

I also tried the Apricot Coconut Date Bar. It was still very sweet but it seemed slightly less so, probably because coconut isn't that sweet. I cut this one in half because I was doing a shorter workout. I often halve bars before runs of less than four miles or workout classes of less than 30 minutes. For those easier workouts, I try to keep my pre-workout energy intake to 100 calories. 

The Fruitkies are three-ingredient bars that feature lots of different dried fruits and some also have nuts. I didn't get the name at first, but then I read the back of the bar: "Have a fruitkie, not a cookie." 

My very favorite bar of all the Keep Healthy Bars I tried was the Mango Almond Fruitkie! This has dried mangos, cane sugar, almonds, and brown rice crisp. Because the bars are made with dried fruits, some are very sweet. But this one was only lightly sweet with a rich almond flavor. I'd buy this again and again.

There's also a Blueberry Pecan Fruitkie. It had a much firmer texture with less chew. And it was REALLY sweet. Not my fave. Meh.

The Macadamia Date Fruitkie reminded me of the New York Date Bars. It was good. Had a nice macadamia flavor. Not too hard, not too soft.

Next up — Organic Protein Bars. These are made with nut butter, brown rice protein, pea fiber, natural sweeteners, crisp brown rice, and for some bars, chocolate and fruit. Each has 15 grams of protein, making these ideal for a quick post-workout snack.

I haven't tried these after a run yet, but I did have one on Monday morning as a pre-breakfast. I had to be at a Habitat for Humanity worksite at 6:30 a.m. to see former President Jimmy Carter (!!!) speak for a news story I was writing for work. And that was awesome! But that meant no time for a proper breakfast. So I had the Vanilla Almond Crisp Bar on the drive there. It was hearty, and you could tell it was loaded with protein powder. The powder made it a little crumbly when biting into the bar, but the flavor was great. It kept me full until 8 a.m. when I could get back home and eat a real breakfast.

The Low Glycemic Bars are also high in protein — 12 grams. These nut butter/protein powder bars are sweetened with coconut nectar, so they're safe for diabetics. I really love these bars!

The Lemon Zest Bar had a firm but melt-in-your-mouth texture. It's made with almond butter, whole grain brown rice protein, organic apricots, chicory root, matcha tea, and natural lemon flavor. I love all things lemon, and this tasted like heaven.

But the real star of the Low Glycemic Bar show was the Sea Salt Brownie Bar! I had this as an afternoon snack one Saturday before heading to a party. I knew there would be snacks at the party, so I didn't want a full dinner. This bar had the texture of soft, fudgey brownies and tasted like them too!

I'd say the Sea Salt Brownie and the Mango Almond bars were my faves. But every Keep Healthy bar I tried was delicious (okay, I wasn't in love with blueberry pecan, but it was still okay). And they're so wholesome. Sometimes, I eat cookies pre-workout (seriously), but when I have these bars, I feel much better about the situation.

1 comment: said...

The sea salt bar sounds super great, I'll look out for it next time I'm in the US.