Ever since I first tasted a Clif mini last summer, my pre-workout snack has never been the same. Clif bars have come to be my perfect and thus preferred fuel before a run; their precise combination of protein and carbohydrates has been proven far superior to my former snacks. As a result of this discovery, I determined to sample each and every Clif bar flavor. My decision to take on this endeavor occurred before the peanut butter-Salmonella scandal, so my brief reviews below exclude the Peanut Butter Toffee and Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch varieties...keep your fingers crossed that they may safely return to store shelves soon!
Nutritionally, all Clif bar varieties are equivalent; one bar typically contains 3-7 grams of fat, 9-12 grams of protein, and 18-23 grams of sugar. Each bar also provides a smattering of vitamins and minerals: 25% RDA for calcium, 100% vitamin C, 25% iron, and several others. For more specific information, click here.
Clif bars all carry the same price tag as well: my Whole Foods sells them for $1.19 each, and Target sells them for 99 cents.
With all that said, below is my take on each variety in terms of tastiness.
-Apricot: Oddly enough, reminiscent of orange marmalade--shall we call Paddington Bear? Very moist. Recently reformulated.
-Banana Nut Bread: Strong banana flavor, unlike many allegedly banana-flavor bars. Identical flavor to the real thing (i.e., banana nut bread), but much more nutritious!
-Black Cherry Almond: One of my least favorites. Although the package reads "cherry," the flavor was decidedly lacking on cherryliciousness. Bonus points for plenty of almonds.
-Blueberry Crisp: If you purchase this bar, prepare to unwrap a muffin-like treat. Softer than many varieties, with a suprisingly fresh blueberry taste.
-Carrot Cake: Another fabulous rendition of a favorite baked good. The only thing that could make this even better is a blob of cream cheese icing...I suppose that would detract from the bar's health benefits, however.
-Chocolate Almond Fudge: Reminds me of a milk-chocolatey brownie with a plenitude of nuts. I'd prefer a more intense cocoa flavor...see below.
-Chocolate Brownie: One of my top picks! This variety achieves an authentic brownie-like consistency with a deeper chocolate flavor. The only downside is its tendency to leave attractive black remnants in your teeth.
-Chocolate Chip: Hands down favorite. This is always the first variety to dwindle in my box of Clif minis. The soft texture makes it more like chocolate chip cookie dough than an actual cookie. I always look forward to eating these.
-Cool Mint Chocolate: I must reiterate what others have said of this bar--it is the closest one can get to Thin Mint flavor without hunting down a Girl Scout. It has the same effect of the Chocolate Brownie variety--it leaves you with a black-flecked grill.
-Cranberry Apple Cherry: No doubt my least favorite variety. This bar is just a melange of non-distinct flavors, none of which appreciably shines through on your taste buds. My advice to Clif: ditch this flavor and develop something with fewer ingredients in the mix. As a side note, its flavor reminded me of gummy fruit snacks. Weird.
-Crunchy Peanut Butter: This bar is the most protein-packed, lowest in sugar, and most peanut-tastic. A bite into one of these guys is like taking a spoonful of crunchy PB right out of the jar. The only drawback is its lasting breath effects--it always leaves me tasting peanuts mid-run.
-Maple Nut: Think pancakes 'n syrup...in bar form. Deliciously sweet, and I love its inclusion of chopped pecans.
-Oatmeal Raisin Walnut: The name says it all--it's an oatmeal raisin cookie! The raisin population was a little low in my bar, so it was more like a regular ol' oatmeal cookie, but the combination of cinnamon, molasses, and walnuts made for quite the pleasant flavor experience.
-White Chocolate Macadamia: This bar converted me. That is, I am no longer a white chocolate hater. I now embrace the wonders of white chocolate, especially in combination with hearty macadamias. This bar is quite sweet and the highest in fat (7 grams), making it quite cookie-like, so I would enjoy this variety with less regularity than the others.
I have previously reviewed the seasonal flavors; if you're interested in reading about my take on those, click here.
Clifs are for more than just pre-workout snacks...here are a few other ways to enjoy them:
That concludes this Cliff's Notes version of Clif (ha!). I'd love to know, what's your favorite flavor? Why? Which ones can't you stand?
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Be back tomorrow with a weekend recap!