As I try to get more into fitness again myself, I'm going to try to do some reviews here and there of various products - affiliate links included. To start, I'm reviewing a handful of chocolate chip protein bars, spurred on in part by Kill Cliff giving me a few samples to try (the other brands listed had been previously purchased for my stockpile). This is not an all-inclusive list by any means, so if you have a protein bar brand you like that has a flavor containing chocolate chips, be sure to comment below!

The four I am going to compare are:
*Balance Cookie Dough - 15 grams of protein
*KC Bar Chocolate Chip Cookie from Kill Cliff - 21 grams of protein
*Breakfast Squares Oatmeal Chocolate Chip from GNC Total Lean - 12 grams of protein
*Promax Protein Bar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough - 20 grams of protein 

Promax(r) Energy Bar - Chocolate Chip Cook...

Promax(r) Energy Bar - Chocolate Chip [More]

Price: $22.97

Obviously the KC and Promax bars lead in protein, but what about other areas? The Promax bar has the most calories (290) and carbs (37), with a good portion of the carbs being sugar (26g). On the plus side, it also has no trans fat, 18 vitamins and minerals, and no artificial sweeteners/preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, maltitol or gelatin. It's also gluten-free and vegetarian.

Despite less calories (240), Kill Cliff's bar has the most fat (8 grams, leading to 70 calories from fat, compared to 7 grams of fat and 60 calories from fat for each Promax and Balance). However, it does have less carbs (21g) and with the inclusion of fiber, IMO, and sugar alcohol is said to have only one gram of net carbs, making it ideal for those looking for a low-carb protein bar. It is not gluten-free or vegetarian, however, and the sugar alcohol comes in the form of maltitol, which can cause some stomach issues when taken in high doses. The amount here should be fine, and like Promax, the KC Bar also has no artificial colors or flavors.

The Balance Bar claims on its label to be a source for 23 vitamins & minerals and an excellent source of antioxidants (vitamins A, C, & E). It also lists a low glycemic index (24) and had the second lowest carbs (22 grams, with 17 grams of that being sugar). However, the ingredients list is not as appealing as the others with fructose in the mix. I should disclose here that I'm not a nutritionist and therefore there are many ingredients in all these bars I am not familiar with. 

The Breakfast Squares also have a nice long list of ingredients but seem to stick to the "lean" name with 170 calories (45 from fat), 5 grams of fat, & no trans fat. While carbs are slightly higher at 27, it also, as befitting an oatmeal product, was the only one with a significant source of fiber (10 grams). If you aren't bothered by the list of ingredients, the mix of protein and fiber could be a great way to feel full in the morning if your goal is weight loss.
GNC Total Lean(tm) Breakfast Squares - Oat...

GNC Total Lean(tm) Breakfast [More]

Price: $11.99

But what about taste? That's where things get trickier, and while some were good enough to recommend, none of these bars absolutely wowed me. Of course a quick protein bar is a great way to add some extra protein and calories when adding calories to one's diet. I'm also a notoriously picky eater, and everyone's taste varies, so keep in mind the following is my opinion. 

One secret trick I use when eating these as home is warming them up in the microwave, or at least giving it a try once to see if I feel the bars taste any better - and they often do! This of course isn't practical when you're having a bar on the go. To me, the worst-tasting both at room temperature and warmed up was the Balance bar. I have other flavors of their bars that I will try at some point, but their cookie dough flavor is not one I would personally buy again. And perhaps befitting of it having the lowest calories and fat, the Breakfast Bar was not much better - though it was one that did improve significantly upon warming it up. Both are quite chewy. 


Also a bit on the chewy side was the KC Bar, which had an almond aftertaste. The winner for flavor when eaten on the go, out of these four, was the Promax bar, which had a taste that was close to actual cookie dough (ingredients like brown sugar probably helped there). That said, the KC Bar also improved significantly when warmed up, with the aftertaste becoming less noticeable. While the low net carbs might not be ideal for all situations, if you do need a low-carb protein treat, a warmed up bar from Kill Cliff would definitely do the trick. 

If you do warm them up, stick to 5 seconds at a time until you figure out how long it takes with your microwave. You probably only need to go about 5 to 15 seconds total. Though I'll keep trying other brands and flavors - and generally prefer to stick to meat and eggs over bars - I'd give Promax a B for taste either way, KC Bar a B- cold and a B+ warmed up for an average of B, Breakfast Squares a C cold and B- warmed up for an average of C+, and Balance cookie dough flavor a D+ either way. Now, some of the reviews I'e seen elsewhere such as on Amazon have been more positive, so do try them all yourselves - as I said, I'm a picky eater to begin with. Overall though, make sure these complement your diet and stick to clean, natural foods when possible, using these simply for extra protein boosts or when you need a replacement on the go. 

I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, all opinions and recommendations are my my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

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