Jul 11, 2011

PRODUCT REVIEW: Kashi TLC Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bar

Because of my light lunch (for me) yesterday, I was ready for dinner around four. And once I got started, boy did I realize how hungry I was! I had a few slices of cucumber with sweet sauce, a peanut butter and honey sandwich, a YGCPB (don't you just love how handy acronyms are?), and a bowl of Friendly's vanilla ice cream (meh, not worth it - it's just not Edy's creamy; I'm not doing that again) with cheerios and craisins on top.

Since dinner was so early, however, I needed a snack later in the evening to tide me over. Ba-da-ba-bum-bum-bum: the Kashi TLC Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bar!

Now, just so you know, I tend to be a huge fan of Kashi stuff. The folks at Kashi just really know how to make a granola bar (and cookies...and frozen dinners - and I'm not even a frozen dinner kind of person)!

Anyway, I was super psyched to try this:

I just love how the sun stays out so late up here! At this altitude, and this time of year, it's out until around 8:30. I got it on its last legs, but I think the natural lighting still does wonders for the pic :)

I managed to keep the hunger in my tum-tum at bay while I snapped a quick pic, but man I was ready to rip into that sucker!

Not a shabby first impression:

Chock full of nuts and grains and held together with a sticky, sweet syrup. But where's the dried fruit?

Yay, craisins to the rescue!

So here's the break-down, using my five-nut rating system:

Size - Perfect, not too big and not too small. It satisfied me without leaving me overly full, weighed down, or wondering 'when is this bar ever going to end?' LOL, have you ever seen those massive granola bars that are about eight inches by three and a half inches? Enough said. Five out of five nuts!

Flavor - I'm not a huge fan of the really-sweet granola bar (seriously, beware of the Nature's Path granola bars - you'll be left brushing the cloying sweetness off of your teeth for a good quarter hour). I found the sweetness of this granola bar to be a bit much. The craisins were plenty sweet, so the folks at Kashi could really have cut back on the syrup just a little bit - I want to taste the almonds more, and not feel like I'm eating a candy bar. If I want a candy bar, I'll eat a candy bar! That said, it's still really tasty. The grains give a good base to balance the nummy-nummy almonds off of (and they are very generously represented in the bar) and the craisins contribute their signature sweet-tart flavor that I go gaa-gaa for. Three and a half out of five nuts!

Texture - Love it. The oats, dried fruit, and nuts make for a really great, really satisfying mouth feel with a great combo of crunch and chewiness. And the random other puffed grains add a great lightness to a dense bar, keeping it from feeling like eating a mass of grapenuts. :P Holding the bar can get your hands kind of sticky, though, so just keep it in its wrapper while you eat. Unless you like sticky fingers! Five out of five nuts!

Visual - What can I say? She's a beauty. I just might have liked to see a bit more of the dried fruit on the outside, as it all seemed to be packed in towards the center. Though that might vary from bar to bar... Four and a half out of five nuts!

Nutrition - With 6 grams of protein, 6 grams of sugar, and a whopping 4 grams of fiber, as well as a nice mix of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from the nuts, I feel like the bar packs a pretty solid nutritional punch. Especially considering that its candy bar-esque properties. However, I'm going to have to knock it a bit for having brown rice syrup as the third ingredient and evaporated cane juice crystals as the fifth. Not only does that seem a bit high to me, but it's also totally unnecessary! Cutting back on the syrups would improve the flavor of the bar, IMO. Three and a half out of five nuts!

Price - Ever heard of coupons, guys? That's my main gripe with Kashi. A box of six costs $4.29 and, using coupons and sales, I can get a box of six Quaker or Nature Valley granola bars for $2 - sometimes less, when Harris Teeter does triple the coupons! So the price is a little hard for me to swallow. But, then again, the Kashi bar is way yummier and uses better ingredients - no high fructose corn syrup, as I'm shocked to find in some of its rivals' products! *Gasp* And, when it comes down to it, that's just about 72 cents each - really not too much to pay for a handy snack that both tastes good and is good for you. If you're lucky, you can find it on sale for $3, making that just 50 cents per bar. Three out of Five Nuts!

That brings the Kashi TLC Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bar to a total score of 4.083 nuts! I'm definitely going to be revisiting this as a handy-dandy snack option for hikes, class, travel, and when i'm just feeling to bum-ish to whip anything up at home. :)

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