Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review: Special K Strawberry Protein Meal Bar

When I reach for a snack/protein bar, I usually don’t go for fruit. But when I do, strawberry is my first choice. And if you read this blog regularly, you probably know that I am a huge fan of yogurt coating, so the Special K Strawberry Protein Meal Bar seems like a promising combination.

Actually, I used to eat these  all the time because I could buy them on campus and carry them to class for breakfast. They were my main breakfast food when I started eating again, before I discovered Quest bars. And I liked them a lot, so I picked one up to revisit on my way across campus one day.

Just like I remember, white coating and all. The red strawberries show through, so it’s maybe not the thickest coating, but I do like strawberries so it’s reassuring to see them in there. It smells like semi-artificial strawberries, only more tart and fruit than what you’d get with a Jolly Rancher or other candy. It’s more of a strawberry jelly smell.

Inside we have a rice crisp base with dried-up strawberries mixed in. It’s a little sticky on the inside, but that means that at least the base isn’t crumbling apart.

If you’ve ever had the Special K Red Berry (aka strawberry) cereal, this is basically that in bar from. It only makes sense that they’d use the same dried-up strawberries, which I’ve always found to have a much tarter taste than fresh strawberries. They’re not quite real, though still very fruity.

The crispies are mostly harmless, aside from a slightly sour bite toward the end. Their texture is harder than that of a Rice Krispies Treat, and like the Chocolate Caramel flavor, they get a little flat at the end. But it’s not impossible to chew, while still keeping you busy.

The coating is the best part. It is cool, sweet, and creamy and mitigates the tartness and sour hints from the dried berries and base. If I could just buy a whole bar of yogurt coating, I’d be set for life (but nutritionally deficient...)! It can only do so much, however, and it gets overwhelmed by the other components. I’d like to see a little more yogurt flavor.

Overall, I still like it. But, having more experience now in the world of protein/nutrition bars, I can say it’s far from perfect. Still, the yogurt coating is worth it, and it really is good if you want something fruit.

Taste: 8--the yogurt coating is sweet and sugary, but the tart berries and base cover it up.
Texture: 7--crispy, but flat; harder than a Rice Krispies Treat.
Health: 5.5--sure there’s a decent amount of protein, but there are some other (unwanted) ingredients too. The GoodGuide review gives it a 5.0 for health, citing high saturated fats and sugars.
Eat Again? Yes, every once in a while.

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