Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Pria Bar French Vanilla Crisp

I’ve mentioned before my reluctance to try Luna bars because their marketing came off as rather sexist (like we can’t handle a “real” Clif bar). Given that I’ve also expressed numerous times how disgusting I’ve found every PowerBar product I’ve tried in the past, you’re probably surprised I decided to pick up a Pria bar, since Pria is PowerBar’s line of women’s nutrition bars.

Well, if there’s one thing I’ve learned on my continuing journey with food, it’s to not be afraid to try new things--and not to hold a grudge. Plus, my dad did tell me that the protein and energy bars from PowerBar are easily the worst-tasting products they make.

Which brings us to the Pria French Vanilla Crisp bar:

...uh, that’s really small. That pencil is your standard-length mechanical pencil, and it dwarfs this little midget of a bar. Boo! Unless all women need to eat like rabbits, I’d call this a nutrition bar for extreme dieters. You know how I like volume. :(

On the plus side, this really smells like vanilla. The coating looks a little thin, but judging from the scent it’s going to be plenty potent!

It’s a little disconcerting to find a peanut butter-colored crispy base inside a vanilla product, but I guess looks aren’t everything. Upon closer sniff, there may be a faint hint of protein/nutritional gunk smell.

OK, let me start by saying that this is NOT a meal replacement! It was half of my breakfast and I still wished I had more. On the other hand, it tasted pretty good. The coating was the absolute best part, hands down. It was sugary to the extreme, almost dissolving in your mouth. It’s like the yogurt coating on other bars, only a lot sweeter. The crispy base...I think there’s something off about the taste, it’s a bit sour or bitter, but honestly, the coating is so sweet you hardly notice.

As for texture, it’s a nice light crisp--unfortunately, by “light” I mean it’s not going to fill me up. It was way too easy to eat fast, which is great if you’re on the go but not so great if you’ve got a box in front of you begging to be eaten.

If we’re going to compare these to Luna bars, they’re definitely more candy-like. It’s the coating--total sugar overload! It’s also significantly smaller, but I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything else from a bar whose label boasts only 110 calories.

If you’re watching your calories and you need a snack, this is definitely a good choice, especially for a sweet tooth. But if you need something to hold you over for longer, skip it. Or eat two. Or three. Given the size and how light and easy they are to eat, I could totally see where if you had a box you’d just keep grabbing another one.

Taste: 8--there was something a little funny about the crispy part, but the awesome sugary sweet coating hid it very well. That said, you’d better want something sweet!
Texture: 9--a very light crisp, which is pleasant but would be way too easy to just keep shoving in your mouth. In a good way, of course.
Health: 8--as far as snacks go, there’s not much to hate on here. It’s not excessive in saturated fats, and although the coating is really sugary it’s overall a fairly good option for a sweet snack. GoodGuide gives it a resounding 10.
Eat Again? Maybe, if I had one laying around, but I’m not sure I’d have much use for them since they’re so small.

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