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Taste test: new snack bars

Grocery store aisles are full of the newest snack bars aimed at curbing our hunger pangs between meals. The Taster's Choice judges know cereal bar choices are hard to navigate with all of their promises of more fiber and protein and less fat. So, we are starting out the year with a review of four of the latest options.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Serving size One bar Two bars (one package) One bar One bar
Calories 110 180 100 170
Fat/Fiber 3.5g / 5g 7g / 3g 3g / 0g 8g / 7g
Sugars/Sodium 7g / 95mg 15g / 120mg 8g / 100mg 9g / 200mg
Carbs/Protein 20g / 2g 29g / 3g 18g / 0g 18g / 10g

ProductFiber One

Chewy

Strawberry

and PB&J
Kellogg's

NutriGrain Fruit Crunch

Strawberry

Parfait
General Mills Cinnamon Toast Crunch Treats Kellogg's

FiberPlus Protein Peanut Flavor
Judges'

comments
The box holding these bars said they are a "wholesome snack the whole family will love." Our judges took issue with the healthiness of the snack, but said they enjoyed the look and sweetness of the bars. "They are appealing looking with peanut butter and dots of jam," said one. "It has a great, airy texture," said another. Judges who disapproved of the bars said they thought the strawberry tasted fake.These granola bars are made with rolled oats and whole grains, according to the manufacturer. But, our panelists were not impressed. They said the bars lacked any real strawberry flavor. "There are two, very thin planks in the package with a thin layer of white yogurt on the bottom and they are very crispy," said one. "The flavor is like Crunch Berries or Fruity Pebbles." Another said, "These are twin cookies, really, with a frosting layer and lots of grainy, wholesome stuff that sticks to every crevice in your teeth."First we tried the cereal, then the muffins made from the cereal. Now, we get to the cereal bars. "These have plentiful chunky layers of crunchy stuff and a nice bottom layer of frosting," said the one judge who enjoyed these bars. "This would be a winner for kids." Another said he liked the texture of the bar, but not the overwhelming cinnamon taste. "It really does taste like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal," said a judge who described the bar as a bit dry.Soy nuts, crunchy peanuts and rich chocolate are the stars of this bar, according to Kellogg's. All four judges were sold on them. "The taste is not too sweet, it's like a Payday with chocolate on the bottom. It's very much like a candy bar, but with more fiber." Another said the bar looked like dessert. "It's got a surprising good mix of sweet and salty." The nutritionist on our panel said she wouldn't substitute the bars for a healthy snack, but "they would make a better choice than a candy bar," she said.
Would

they buy?
Two of the four judges said yes.One of the four judges said yes.One of the four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.94 for a box of six 1-ounce bars from Walmart.$2.50 for a box of five 1.48-ounce pouches from Walmart.$3.19 for a box of six

.85-ounce bars from Publix.
$3.49 for a box of five 1.41-ounce bars from Sweetbay.


Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Wayne Conery, manager of the R-Bar on Treasure Island; Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to jkeeler@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Taste test: new snack bars 01/08/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 11:09am]

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