Bobs Better Bars: Photo of the five flavors of Bob's Better Bars

I’m usually a “real food” snack kind of person: apple with nuts or cheese, celery with peanut butter, hummus and raw veggies. But I always keep a supply of snack bars on hand, since they are pre-wrapped, portable, and great for throwing in a purse, backpack or airplane carry-on. My warm weather exercise routine includes early morning weight lifting sessions followed immediately by a long walk four days a week, so I nosh on a bar before my walk to tide me over until I get home and can eat a proper meal.

I also like my bars to be as “real food” as possible—ideally, when I look at the list of ingredients, I think to myself, “I could make something like this at home if I had the time and inclination.” So far, a relative few bars have met that criteria, and I have the opportunity to try a lot of bars, since at least a few of the conferences I go to each year have expo halls with free product samples. Mostly, I’m like, “meh.” I mean, they’re OK, I wouldn’t buy them myself, and I certainly wouldn’t write about them.

A new bar on the block

However, when Bob’s Red Mill offered to send me a free sampling of their new Bob Better Bars, I said, “Yes, please.” Reason #1: I generally love Bob’s Red Mill and their products. Reason #2: There was nothing about the ingredient list that gave me pause. In fact, the first two ingredients are peanuts and whole grain oats. And, the bars are inspired by a recipe that Bob’s wife, Charlee, used to make at home.

Each of the bars contains 3-4 grams of fiber (so 11-14% of the daily recommendation) and 7 grams of protein (or 1 ounce equivalent), and just north of 200 calories. I feel like that’s good for a snack bar (if you’re looking for a bar to serve as an in-a-pinch meal replacement, you would want more protein and more calories). These suit my purpose for my mid-workout snack, because I have a protein-rich meal when I get home.

So, how do Bob’s Better Bars taste?

What really surprised me about these bars was the flavors. Namely, my predictions about which flavors I would like best were totally wrong.

  • I thought the Peanut Butter Chocolate & Oats bar would be my top pick (because, HELLO, peanut butter and chocolate…two great tastes that taste great together!), but it was probably my least favorite, even though it was tasty.
  • My top pick was the Peanut Butter Coconut & Oats, which to my taste buds was reminiscent of an Almond Joy, albeit with peanuts instead of almonds.
  • My second pick, which I thought would be my last pick, was the Peanut Butter Jelly & Oats. I think maybe I was prejudiced against the bright pink wrapper, because my least favorite flavors of certain other bars have pink wrappers!
  • Tied for third place were the Peanut Butter Apple Spice & Oats bar, which tasted like a yummy bowl of oatmeal cooked with apples and finished with a swirl of PB, and Peanut Butter Banana & Oats, which tasted kind of like banana bread with PB.

What I thought was really interesting about these bars was that they all included organic rosemary extract to preserve freshness. This actually sort of thrilled me a little—maybe because I love rosemary, maybe because it seemed a little out of the box. In case you’re wondering, the rosemary was barely perceptible. I think there was maybe one bite out of each of the bars where I noticed it, and it was slight and not in the least undesirable. It’s possible that I wouldn’t have noticed it if I hadn’t already read the ingredients label.

Bob’s Better Bars retail for $1.99 (equal to or less than most bars), and are also available online from the Bob’s Red Mill store.

Disclosure: I received 10 Bob’s Better Bars for free, but it was my choice whether to write about them. I chose to write about them because I like them, I would buy them myself, and I would genuinely recommend them to others.