It seems one of our family's hobbies lately is tasting -- and rating -- all the new Gluten Free Snack Bars that have hit the market in the past few years. It's a tough job, but we enjoy doing it! Although we try not to "overdo it" with snack bars, they do come in handy when in a rush, on-the-go, or as a "back up" snack or meal replacement when traveling. Our latest culinary trial involved the NuGo line of snack bars. One caution: Many, but not all, are gluten free, so read labels carefully! Here's the complete list of the Gluten Free NuGo varieties. What I like is that all their bars are all-natural, and use real dark chocolate -- not fake, trans-fat laden "chocolatey coatings" like some other bars.
The NuGo Dark line, loaded with 10 grams of protein, has several gluten free offerings, and they're dairy free and vegan as well. Our absolute favorite -- hands down -- was the Chocolate Pretzel. At first bite, it was a surprise...I was not expecting the saltiness. But the addition of sea salt to the pretzel and chocolate combination is pure heaven. We cannot keep these bars in our house...they are virtually gone within a day or two of buying them, as all four of us fight over them and "keep track" of our supply! A close second is the NuGo Dark Mint Chocolate Chip. I told our son, who has been gluten free since before he was two, "Now you know what Thin Mint cookies from the Girl Scouts taste like." Only NuGo Dark Mint Chocolate Chip bars are really better. And healthier. And natural. And did I mention 10 g of protein?! I would like to try their NuGo Dark Peanut Butter Cup variety next.
Other varieties we taste-tested included all three NuGo Slim varieties: Roasted Peanut, Raspberry Truffle, and Brownie Crunch. All NuGo Slim bars are gluten free, almost sugar free, have 7g of fiber, and a whopping 15-17 grams of protein! Our kids liked the Brownie Crunch variety the best (what a surprise...with them, the more chocolate, the better!). I personally liked the Roasted Peanut a bit better. None of us were too impressed with the Raspberry Truffle, but we tend not to be big fans of mixing raspberry and chocolate in general.
The last variety we tried -- based on what was available at our local Whole Foods -- was the NuGo Free Dark Chocolate Trail Mix. All NuGo Free bars are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and vegan. From the sound of the Dark Chocolate Trail Mix bar, I thought I'd love it, but we all gave it a mediocre rating. I honestly think we have been "spoiled" by the NuGo Dark Chocolate Pretzel. Everything is rated relative to that for us!
We have not yet tried the Crispy Cat Candy Bars made by NuGo, available in two varieties (both gluten free) or the NuGo 10 "raw energy bars," which sound great...full of nuts, fruits, and seeds. Just beware of the NuGo "Nutrition Bars," none of which are gluten free due to the oats, I'm guessing.
There's a handy Store Locator on the NuGo website, and in addition to the Whole Foods where we have been buying our bars, they also are sold at Wegmans and Vitamin Shoppe in our area. See where they're found in your area, and sample them yourself. I'd love to hear what you think about these varieties -- and some of the others we haven't tried yet ourselves.