When you walk down the protein aisle at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or wherever it is that you shop, are you overwhelmed with the choices? Not sure which to pick? Well, no longer! Or, at the least, now you’ll be familiar with two big-name protein bars on the market. Because for this Food Fight we’re pitting seasonal and new flavor Clif Bars against KIND Fruit & Nut Bars. May the battle begin!
Taste and Texture
Clif Bar: Whenever I go hiking and backpacking, I always stock up on Clif Bars. They’re just so dense, filling and hearty. Usually pretty darn sweet, they also have a bit of salt in them, which tastes fabulous any time but is especially tasty when you just climbed a mountain. And this time of year, Clif Bar releases fun seasonal flavors. This year they sent us Pecan Pie (the newest one!), Iced Gingerbread and Spiced Pumpkin Pie. Clif Bar also introduced a totally new non-seasonal flavor: Sierra Trail Mix. And the taste and texture verdict on these is good, very good. With that same thick, chewy and dense texture you know from Clif Bar, these are darn delicious. Super filling, every flavor is rich and thick. I found Iced Gingerbread and Pumpkin Pie to be a bit on the syrupy sweet side, but they had great spicy flavor and tasted like winter. Pecan Pie was the most subtle of the bunch, and really tasted like a mild pecan pie. Sierra Trail Mix was my surprise favorite of the four though — it’s all of the awesomeness of trail mix but mushed up in a bar. I’ve had a lot of “trail mix” bars in my day, but this one actually tasted like trail mix with nuts, raisins and chocolate. Really, really good!
KIND Fruit & Nut: There are a ton of fun KIND Fruit & Nut flavors to choose from. And you really can’t go wrong with any of them. The basic Fruit & Nut Delight (pictured above) is kind of their flaghship flavor, and it’s just as it sounds: sweet from fruit and paired with nuts. Nothing outrageously amazing, but good. A little chewy and sticky, you can see the actual fruit and nuts in them, which is awesome. Flavor standouts for me though where Almond & Apricot (pretty sweet, but in that natural fruit way that is super nice) and Apple Cinnamon & Pecan (tasted of fall — I could eat this every day!). Delicious stuff.
Winner: Dude! This is so hard. Clif Bar wins on texture, but KIND takes the slight edge for it’s real fruity flavor. So, it’s a tie!
Clif Bar: These are dense and filling for a reason: Each bar has roughly 250 calories, 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber, 23 grams of sugar and 9 grams of protein.
KIND Fruit & Nut: One of these has about 200 calories, 12 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber. Protein ranges from 3 to 6 grams, depending on the bar.
Winner: Dude … this is still so hard! The Clif Bars are so much more filling than the KIND bars, but the Clif Bars’ high sugar content downright blows. That said, Clif wallops KIND in the protein department — although neither have quite as much as we’d like to see. So, argh. We’re calling this a tie again. If you’re looking for a snack on the go and aren’t starving, go KIND. If you’re really hungry or need a mini-meal, go Clif Bar. Phew. That was tough.
Clif Bar: With no trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and synthetic preservatives, we dig that these are non-GMO and made with organic rolled oats (no gluten ingredients used). The ingredient list is looong and while it’s mostly full of good stuff, we’re not big fans of organic brown rice syrup being ingredient numero uno — and most of the protein comes from soy.
KIND Fruit & Nut: Also with no trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and synthetic preservatives, these have a totally non-scary ingredient list. Gluten- and wheat-free, all-natural and non-GMO, the weirdest thing you’ll see on the label is soy lecithin and chicory root fiber. The rest of the ingredients listed are — as you might imagine — fruit and nuts. Hooray for whole foods!
Winner: DUDE. We finally have a clear winner on this one: KIND! Clif Bars weren’t far behind, but KIND wins it for the cleaner ingredient list. Woot!
And the Food Fight Champion Is…
We give the very slight edge to KIND Fruit & Nut Bars! But, really, you can’t go wrong with either one of these. They’re delicious, good for you and made of real food. Just remember that Clif Bars are best for big active appetites while KIND Bars are better for just being on the go or as a pre- or post- workout snackaroo!
Do you agree with our winner for this Food Fight? What’s your favorite flavor of both? —Jenn