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If you are looking for something to spice up your usual nutrition bar routine, look no further than KIND’s line of STRONG bars.
Unlike your usual sweet, candy-like snacks, these bars are a different breed, steering clear of the common fruit flavors and focusing on robust, savory offerings that will shock your taste buds. When I received my samples, I was immediately intrigued by the bold flavor names such as Hickory Smoked, Honey BBQ, and Roasted Jalapeno.
What I love about KIND bars are the all-natural ingredients the brand uses, so I know exactly what I am eating. The line of STRONG bars is focused on proteins, so each bar is full of almonds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and pea protein. Pea protein is the key ingredient because it’s an easily-digestible, plant-based protein free of GMOs. But its distinct flavor is also why these bars are savory as opposed to sweet.
The high-protein focus also makes each serving a little higher in calories and fat. But don’t worry, these are the good fats. The brand also guarantees 42 percent less fat per serving compared to almonds alone.
Unlike its sweet bar predecessors, each STRONG bar label features a Spice Meter that warns you of their boldness.
The labels aren’t lying either.
As soon as I took my first bite, I immediately widened my eyes in surprise as strong notes of each spice and ingredient overwhelmed my senses. This strong, hearty taste gives each bar the illusion of a meal instead of a snack. Though it took me a moment to readjust my preconceived notions about what a nutrition bar should be, I found that the more I ate, the more I loved this new bold bar line.
Considered the mildest of the bars, this was one of my personal favorites. Though it had me yearning for an outdoor BBQ, the spices were subtler, offering a comforting sweet and salty combination. Unlike some of the other bars, this one focuses on bringing out the simple delights of a smoker, without overwhelming you with flavor.
The sweetness in the bar is apparent, but it’s almost shocking how much I felt like I was eating a piece of BBQ chicken. Though it didn’t taste like actual poultry, I found that the glaze immediately brought to mind one of my favorite grilled meals. The mustard seed and cayenne chili powder are prevalent, bringing out a bold flavor that is nicely complemented by honey. It’s the honey, which is present in most of the bars, that creates the sticky texture of the bars that could be a hindrance to those on the go with no way to wash their hands.
Though you can smell the sweetness, I found it to be most present in the after-taste. The immediate reaction was to the bold flavors featuring a slight zing of ginger. The previously-mentioned spices, coupled with garlic and onion, create the Asian finish that inspires the name. The almonds and sunflower seeds contribute to the crunch, but are overtaken in flavor by the spices. The Spice Meter puts this bar smack dab in the middle of the spectrum, making me a little nervous to try the other flavors that are labeled bolder.
I am a huge fan of honey mustard, as it reminds me of hot dogs on Fourth of July as a kid. The comfort of this well-known product helped make this bar one of my favorites because it really did stay true to the classic taste. The smell of mustard is pungent as you open the bar. The initial sweetness yields to the more robust mustard flavor, and finishes with a kick. As you continue to chew, the mustard flavor becomes more dominant, leaving you with the taste of Dijon.
Intimidated by the high spice rating, I was cautious, initially only taking a very small bite. The extra green flecks suggested the presence of jalapeno that, while definitely apparent in flavor, did not actually cause me to run for the nearest water fountain. Instead, I found the taste to be very true to the vegetable—hot, but with the help of honey, surprisingly good. Unlike some of the other bars that overwhelmed me, I found this heat to be simpler. This focus on one specific flavor, similar to its milder Hickory Smoked variety, had me gobbling down the bar quicker than I anticipated.
Images by Lauren Montemurri