So amidst all the hype of the upcoming best pre workout for women of 2015, I will admit I’ve sort of let my protein bar game slip. And that’s why today I’m going to tell you about my absolute favorite protein bars on the market today- the Power Crunch bar. In this review, I’ll tell you about the taste, the ingredients, the packaging, and of course finish with a final evaluation of the value and product as a whole.
Protein bars fall into that weird category where you don’t necessarily go out of your way to grab one. Usually the only times I go seeking a protein bar is when I can tell my body is really in need of some protein, and there isn’t anything high-quality; meaning I can’t get a real food meal in. You’ve been there too right? O look there’s a Walgreens. Phew. I can get at least something in my system. And then you walk in and look around. Candy. Soda. Chips. Cliff Bars and other Soy-based crap. But. Next time you go in there you are going to thank me. Because you’ll probably be able to grab a Power Crunch bar.
The first time I ever had a Power Crunch bar was when I was in my brother-in-law’s car for a road trip in which I was very unprepared. I guess I forgot how long it took to go from LA to Vegas. But it was way way farther than I had anticipated. As is such, I of course did not pack anything to eat. In preparation for that Vegas trip I knew I had to do a crazy workout so naturally I did about a two hour HIIT workout just before we left. Since I’m always running late as is, I didn’t eat much luckily I had grabbed a protein shake before I left the house. So here I am sitting in the car for the third hour and I felt my stomach go into that horrible-feeling mode where you feel like it’s chewed threw all your fat and now it’s coming for your muscles. Yes, I can actually feel my stomach start to utilize my glutes and bicep muscles for energy. That’s when I start getting super ‘hangry’ because I can feel all my hard work in the gym start to get wasted away.
So as I was complaining and folding my arms and not talking (because talking takes calories!), Ryan pulls out this old, sat-on looking, sad protein bar and throws it on my lap. ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ he joked. I raised my eyebrow at it, but then started tearing it open as if it was the last food on planet Earth. I honestly was expecting the worst- but that’s when the first delicious bit hit my lips, and i instantly fell in love. Behold- it was a Power Crunch bar- the peanut butter creme flavor. So let’s start with that flavor.
Power Crunch Bars: What’s the Best Flavor?
- Peanut Butter Creme: 9.5 This was my first Power Crunch bar so it will always hold a dear place in my heart, but I think it will remain my favorite for a while yet. It’s almost like a yogurty, semi-vanilla-y peanut butter taste. It really does melt in your mouth (well, all of them do), but this flavor is delicious. It even exceeds their chocolate PB, which is extremely rare for anything to top the king of all flavor combinations.
- Cookies and Creme: 9.3 This flavor is also super tasty. It’s doesn’t really taste like an Oreo, but then again what does? The texture is the same as the rest and it makes for a much smoother, more milk chocolate than vanilla-creme taste. It’s easily the second best, and I would highly recommend trying it.
- Berries and Creme: 9.2 Berries and Creme surprised me because usually I like the more traditional ‘savory’ flavors for a protein bar. However. Power Crunch knocked this flavor out of the park like they did with the others. It doesn’t taste like strawberry shortcake, but instead has the taste of a really creamy, thick, berry and vanilla fro-yo smoothie. I love this flavor when I’m tired of the peanut butter creme because it has a much different personality. Super tasty.
I can’t emphasize enough how good the texture and consistency of Power Crunch bars are. So many protein bars are soy based and thus the main ingredient are those disgusting soy-crisps that always are the last to leave your palette. Often with a gross metallic/artificial taste to go along with it (looking at you Detour, and you Zone Perfect). But if these aren’t soy-based, what’s in them?
What’s in Power Crunch Bars?
Ingredient Grade: 9.7 The best part of Power Crunch Bars is the taste- but the ingredient profile goes hand-in-hand with the taste. They simply couldn’t have achieved the level of taste that they put in these bars without using something different than the traditional soy-crisp/imitation chocolate coating that so many of the others use.
Proto Whey: Proto whey is the secret sauce, and the first ingredient listed in the ingredients panel- meaning this is what accounts for the majority of the formula.
- Micro Peptied from Hydrolyzed Whey: Whey peptides are the absolute smallest and finest protein source that you can get. What this means is that your body will absorb it that much faster, meaning your muscles will benefit from the recovery effects quicker than any other protein source.
- Whey Protein Isolate: This is basically before they take the final step to reduce the whey into the peptides. By itself WPI is still a very fast protein source and is what you will find in most protein powders on the market.
- Milk Protein Isolate: Milk protein is going to contain both whey and casein forms of protein- giving you an even longer window during which your body will digest the proteins. I love that they added a slow source in here to keep you feeling satisfied longer.
To sum up the overall stats on these bars- you are getting 13 grams of protein. Not the most when you’re looking at protein bars- but when you look at how there are still only 200 calories in here, that’s a pretty good ratio. You will be hard pressed to find a protein bar (other than Quest bars), that has more than 18 grams of protein with under 300 calories.
In terms of sugar, these bars aren’t bad at all. Just 5 grams is much less than what you’ll find in Cliff bars, zone perfect bars, and certainly any of the ‘raw’ or ‘whole foods’ bars that are basically just dried fruit such as date paste, brown rice syrup, or honey. Not saying those aren’t good if you’re either A dying of starvation or B running a marathon, but they really are not health food. Ok I’ll get off my high horse now. Let’s take a look at Power Crunch packaging!
Power Crunch Bars Packaging Score: 8.5
Ok here’s where Power Crunch could spend a little time and money. Like I said, the first Power Crunch bar that I had looked like it had spent about 15 years under a car seat. And while it was only 15 months that it had been down there, it’s a fact that this packaging is just tired looking. What’s more- it gets lost on the shelf amongst the noise of the competition on the shelf. And we all know this is one of the most competitive categories in the health food market right now. Everyone wants a piece of the pie. The shame of the matter is that Power Crunch actually has a superior product, it’s just that (in my view), nobody knows about them! I do my best to spread the word, but investing in some bolder new packaging would do them a world of good. Take my advice guys.
Power Crunch Value and Final Grade: 9.8
I’m ending this review on a high note because this truly is one of my favorite sports / health food products on the market today. The number of times that they have saved my butt (literally!) from being used for energy is numerous. And here’s the best part. They’re dirt cheap. I don’t know how they were able to get their costs down this low, but it’s actually one of the cheapest bars on the shelf. Yes. You will pay just around $2 per bar, which is lower than almost anything near it. It’s rare to find a product of this quality that is so competitive on price. It’s a treat for all of us. Next time you’re on the market for a fantastic-tasting protein bar- give Power Crunch bars a shot*.
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