We all know that nature, landscape and wildlife photographers scarf down snacks like there is no tomorrow. We’re typically out from dawn to dusk, grateful for whatever we can grab to keep us fueled. Sure, it’s great if we can take a sandwich along with us, but how many times do we more likely find ourselves indulging in snack foods that are, at the very least, not very good for us? Over the years I have come to rely on protein bars to keep me going.
It’s no exaggeration when I say I have tried at least a dozen protein bar product lines. Of course I’ve had favorites, such as the Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Peanut Granola Bar. I do believe that the category has evolved over the past decade so that there are some fine choices out there; ones that are nutritious as well as good tasting. But I have yet to find anything quite like the KIND Bar.
Up front I want to disclose that as a blogger, writer and photographer, the company sent me an assortment of Kind Bars to try out. Fair enough, I told them, but if I did not like them I would say so, and they agreed. Now I can stand up and say: I am Les Picker and I am an addict. For my recent 13-day photo trip to the Canadian Rockies, and a 10-day trip to Iceland, the KIND product line is the only bar I carried with me so that I could review it fairly. I get no money for this review, I have no relationship with the company and, frankly, I had never even heard of them before this test. So I approached this taste test with more than my usual degree of skepticism.
Turns out, these are simply the best tasting protein bars I have ever experienced. Generally, I don’t particularly like almonds. Yet the KIND Bar folks have produced a bar chock full of almonds that I just love. The bars have a great texture and are chewy, creating a very pleasant mouth feel. More importantly, they have perfected the flavor balance in the various bars so that each and every one is distinctively appealing.
Most importantly, the bars are loaded with nutrition and where I might typically have two bars within an hour of each other, with the KIND Bars just one is filling enough to last. Of course I always carry at least two bars in my backpack just in case, since I often hike in remote areas.
I tried these varieties and here is a sampling of my reactions.
Maple Glazed Pecan and Sea Salt. Valhalla from first bite. Perfect blend of nuts, sweet and salt; first bar I’ve ever tasted that has almonds where they do not overwhelm everything else. Chewy texture. Not overly sugary (only 5g sugar) and with 6g protein and 5g fiber (20% of your DV), the bar is perfect for long photo hikes or night shoots. Gluten free, low glycemic, low sodium. What’s not to like?
Dark Chocolate, Nuts & Sea Salt The chocolate is rich, with deep, complex flavors. The nut mix is perfectly balanced. Very satisfying chew. You want to savor it, bite by bite. The chocolate is obviously a step above the typical bar. How can a health bar with rich, dark chocolate be bad?
Peanut Butter and Strawberry. I used this bar twice as a breakfast substitute when I got up early for sunrises. Somehow the two flavors are blended so that one does not overpower the other. Fueled me from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM when I got back for breakfast.
Dark Chocolate Chili Almond. This is the only bar I did not like, mostly because I don’t like hot spicy mixed with chocolate. Again, the chocolate is deep and complex, and the nut mix quite good, but then the heat comes up, although it is fairly mild.
Almond Cashew With Flax. Another winner that I enjoyed as a change of pace.
As a testimony to their quality (at least to me), I went to a grocery store and purchased a dozen more bars to take with me for my upcoming Acadia National Park photo workshop.