Product Review: Perfect Foods Bars



For years (years!) PowerBars, Clif bars, Balance Bars, and pretty much any kind of bar you can think of was a staple in my diet. Back then, I was singularly focused in my label attention, and only looked at calories and fat. Most “energy bars” taste like candy bars to me, but I filed them away in my brain as “healthy” because they were not really candy bars. They were energy bars! Stupid girl.

Anyway, I have long since shunned most pre-made bars, with the exception of Lara Bars (which I often make my own version) and the occasional Clif bar. I pretty much stay away from Clif too, because, as much as I like them, they have too many ingredients for my taste. So, they are emergency on the bike food, or, the I’m-travelling-and-didn’t-plan-ahead-and-nothing-else-is-remotely-healthy food.

So, you get my point – pre-made bars are not a huge staple in my diet these days. However, I am always on the lookout for a new bar that could move into my backpack rotation, as there isn’t always enough time to make my own from scratch. So, I was really excited when  I won a box of Perfect Foods Bars from The Wannabe Chef blog a few weeks ago.

I had a nice note from Katie over at PFB asking for my address and preferred flavor, and a few days later my box of Cranberry Crunch Lite goodies arrived. Since review content is where the majority of the traffic for this blog comes from, I thought I’d write a review on these bars.

And, while I usually like to run through the whole spiel before I get to my opinion on something, today I’m cutting to the chase: Perfect Foods Bars are awesome!

Okay, now I’ll get to the whole spiel.

Topline: Prefect Foods Bars are gluten-free, high protein, and organic energy bars with no preservatives. You have to store them in the refrigerator – that’s a good thing!

The story of these bars is great. It’s a family business based on a family recipe and mantra: You are what you eat. They have several flavors to choose from, from the expected peanut butter to the less than expected carob chip, and a few in between.

Let’s compare my Cranberry Crunch Lite to a PowerBar Harvest, one of my now forbidden old-time faves.

Perfect Foods Bar Cranberry Crunch LitePowerBar Harvest Strawberry Crunch
Organic peanut butter, organic honey, dried cranberries, nonfat milk powder, brown puffed rice, organic rice protein, dried whole egg powder, organic flax seed oil, organic sunflower seed oil, organic olive oil, organic pumpkin seed oil, dried whole food powders (organic flax seed, organic rose-hip, organic orange, organic lemon, organic papaya, organic tomato, organic apple, cherry, red bell pepper, organic alfalfa, organic celery, organic kelp, organic dulse, organic carrot, organic spinach).Whole oats, brown rice syrup, dried fruit blend (strawberries, cranberries, apple juice concentrate, sugar, rice flour, sunflower oil), soy crisps (soy protein isolate, rice flour, barley malt, salt), evaporated cane juice syrup, almond butter, soy protein isolate, honey, inulin (fiber), glycerin, natural flavor, roasted soy beans, oat fiber, nonfat milk, peanut butter, minerals: calcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, iron (ferrous fumarate), zinc oxide, copper gluconate, manganese sulfate, chromium chloride, potassium iodide, sodium molybdate, sodium selenite, vitamins: vitamin c (ascorbic acid), vitamin e acetate, pantothenic acid (calcium pantothenate), vitamin b3 (niacinamide), vitamin b6, vitamin b2, vitamin b1 (thiamin mononitrate), folic acid, vitamin a palmitate, beta carotene, biotin, vitamin k1, vitamin b12. Contains almond, milk, peanut, and soy ingredients. Made on equipment that also processes wheat.

Holy cow. That is a big difference in the volume of ingredients. And, while the Perfect Foods Bars have more ingredients than, say, a Lara Bar, it’s all good stuff that you can pronounce. And honestly, they taste way better than Lara Bars (sorry Lara).

What is manganese sulfate? I honestly have no idea. Nor do I know what a lot of the items in the PowerBar are. But, I know what everything is in the Perfect Foods Bars.

Now, let’s check out the nutrition comparison.

Perfect Foods Bar Cranberry Crunch Lite
PowerBar Harvest Strawberry Crunch

The main thing to note here is that while their protein profiles are exactly the same (10g), the Perfect foods bar has 7g less sugar (that is almost 2 teaspoons less), hardly any sodium, and a nice balance of natural vitamins and minerals. Since I selected a “lite” flavor, it has less than 200 calories, whereas the PowerBar has 240. Not a huge difference to me, really. Sadly, I couldn’t find a PowerBar label that had the vitamins and minerals info, but it is probably more “packed” with vitamins since there are so many added in. Whether or not that is a good thing is highly debatable.

It should be noted that the other flavors of Perfect Foods Bars do have more than 199 calories – typically in the 300 range, so more of a meal replacement than just a snack.

Taste

Once again my flax allergy has come into play, and I won’t be able to consume these regularly without having a seriously swollen throat. But, I had one so I could give you guys an honest opinion.

Seriously, YUM. Even though the flavor is “cranberry crunch,” these tasted very much like peanut butter and jam to me. And, y’all know, I love me some peanut butter jelly time. They are much bigger than a Lara Bar, and leave you feeling satisfied instead of “was that all?” I reckon I can space them out and have one every few days without going into full-on flax-induced throat swelling. Allergies stink.

Pros:

  • Nutritious bars you can feel good about feeding your family.
  • High in good protein.
  • No preservatives, gluten free, AND organic.
  • A family run business. They stand behind their product because it is their product. Just wonderful.

Cons:

  • On the pricey side – a box of 8 will set you back $19.50, and if you order online, add shipping to that.
  • Need to be refrigerated. You can toss ‘em in the backpack or purse for the day and not worry, but you can’t store them for days on end in your pantry. But, really this is a pro, don’tcha think?
  • I really cannot think of any other cons!

Bottomline: If you want a pre-made nutritional bar that is made of real foods, you should definitely try these. Mosey on over to Whole Foods and pick up a box in the refrigerated section. (And, if you’re like me, swing on by the hot bar while you’re at it.) Notably, you can also buy the bars online, or at other stores – see where here.

While I did receive these bars free as a blog prize, Perfect Foods Bars did not know I planned to review them (I didn’t know either!) and I was under no obligation to give these bars a favorable review. I just like ‘em, and I think you will too!

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