Gluten Free Dad, here. Since my skills in the kitchen pretty much end with “turn the oven on to 425,” I’ve been handed some product reviews to complete. I approach this with some trepidation, because I remember what most gluten-free substitutes tasted like 5 years ago. Things have come along way since then, and I have enjoyed almost everything we’ve been sent thus far. So here we go.
This is the first of a series of reviews on gluten-free “energy” bars. Or as we like to call them in our family, “breakfast in Dad’s car when he oversleeps.” Perhaps a better descriptive word would be “Celiac Safe” energy bars since using the words gluten-free can imply, to a non-celiac like me, that some ingredient has been removed from this product to make it gluten free. I do not see any substitute ingredients on the labels of these bars, so I assume they are naturally gluten free, but are also made in a dedicated facility.
We’ll start with Divine Foods. We received a complimentary package of assorted flavors from the company for review on this blog. This is the first time we have tried this product. If you are looking for an old-fashioned crunchy granola bar (the kind you have to chew 187 times before you can swallow), this is NOT the bar for you!
There are three types of bars from Divine Foods: the PranaBar Supercharger “energy” bar, the PranaBar Nutrition bar, and the BoomiBar. All ingredients are raw except for the nuts and seeds, which according to the label need slow cooking to help digestion. I appreciate this consideration on their part, because I need all the digestive help I can get this time of year (how much chocolate can a man actually eat in one day?…let’s see!!!).
The regular nutrition bars and the Supercharger bars are flexible but firm. I can’t describe them as “chewy” either. They are dense but not in a bad way, just really well packed together (lots of seeds, too). Though not too sticky, you will probably need to rinse your hands after eating because they will leave a little sticky residue on your fingers, but this was not a big deal to anyone in my family.
The flavors seem well thought out and match the labeling. How many times have you grabbed something that was supposed to taste like “x” and ended up tasting like…anything other than “x”? Of course, no one in our family has ever had a goldenberry or goji, so you’re on your own with those (we liked them)! I think Huckleberry would be a cool flavor: I have no idea what they would taste like, but it would look totally funky on a label…heck, I’d buy one just for that! Anyway…
The BoomiBars seem to have a little more substance to them. They are still flexible, but most of them have larger chunks of nuts (pistachio, almond, etc.). So if you want more girth, the BoomiBars are probably the way to go. They don’t seem quite as sweet as the PranaBars, but that could just be my opinion. Again, the flavor matches the label on the bar, but the nuts really steal the show with the BoomiBars. These were my favorite…the flavors seem more balanced to me (a little sweet, a little salt).
Overall, these are very good and convenient products. Since none of us are gym-rats, I can’t really give you guidance on any “pep-up” they provide. But everyone in our family enjoys the taste and texture (especially that they are not dry like an old-fashioned granola bar), and the size and weight are just right given how dense they are. There are MANY flavors to choose from, which is good.
As I mentioned, I feel comfortable giving these to the boys as a quick breakfast when we are running late (admit it, you’ve had those mornings too ;-)). We also keep a few in each car for those in-between trips (school pick-up at 2:45, next activity at 4:00). It’s not like we can run through a McDonald’s drive-thru!
You can order these directly from Divine Foods and each type of bar comes in a variety pack order. Once you factor shipping, you’re looking at about $2.00 per bar on average. They are also available at your local healthy-type grocery store, so if you just want to pick up a couple before you order bulk, try a couple of each.