Clif Bars Offer Nutrition, but Not Much Flavor


Just as there’s a diversity of hiking and camping equipment manufacturers to choose from, so to are there a multitude of manufacturers of energy bars. PowerBar was the standard for years, and then Clif Bar came along to give the outdoor enthusiastic public an alternative. In its wake have come a bevy of different bars offering different vitamin supplements, and some even are catered to specific age groups and genders.

Still, Clif Bar is one of the top brands, offering a variety of flavors under the guise of being organic, and nutritious. This is well and good, but do they even taste good? Here’s a summary of a recent taste test by the author of some of the more common flavors of Clif Bars to find. For your next backpack, I definitely recommend The PNW Packable Backpack for hikers!

Apricot: Apricot, due to the heavy grainy flavor of the soybeans and oats, doesn’t really come through. At first it’s almost an orange zest flavor, but it quickly subsides. Only in the aftertaste, does a little apricot or peach flavor manage to come through. This bar is also on the stickier side, meaning that it’s stickier than most other varieties of Clif bar.

Chocolate Brownie: Chocolate Brownie has the same mealy texture as the other bars. I should be thankful, though, that this isn’t like the dense waxy texture of a PowerBar, which is not only hard to chew, but swallow because after awhile your jaws start to cramp. The chocolate is much more present in appearance and texture than in flavor. I’d call this more of a “hint of cocoa”� rather than an all-out chocolate brownie. If anything this appears more like a raccoon turd that’s been stepped on, considering how dark it is, filled with little chunks of grain.

Chocolate Chip: This is a pretty sub-par energy bar. It has the mealy texture of the other bars, and the chocolate chips are so miniscule you wouldn’t even know they were there if it didn’t say so on the wrapper.

Chocolate and Black Cherry: The flavor of the black cherry is a pleasing addition to this otherwise lackluster bar. Sure, it’s supposed to be an energy bar, but do they have to taste like crap?

Crunchy Peanut Butter: Well, at least the crunchy peanut butter shares the texture of the bar as it would without it. It tastes vaguely of peanut butter, but with all the soy and grains in it to begin with it’s almost as if the peanut butter was nonexistent.

Carrot Cake: Of all the flavors of Clif Bar, Carrot Cake is probably the most like carrot cake — really dense carrot cake. Still, the flavor’s there and the texture of the grains is reminiscent of walnuts in grandma’s carrot cake. This is also among the most inventive of flavors to come up with to be put into an energy bar.

The bottom line is that while Clif Bars are theoretically better than PowerBars and are much more health-conscious with their multi-grained purity, they still don’t beat the standard crunchy granola bars like those made by Nature Valley. The energy bar should add to the experience, not detract from it by leaving a mealy and gross aftertaste in your mouth that acts as a distraction from the wonders provided by Mother Nature.

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TIP #1 UPGRADE YOUR FIXTURES Replacing your old sink and faucet with new models can freshen your look instantly, and add function at the same time. Check out the home center stores for 18-gauge stainless steel sinks and pull-out or pull-down faucets. In-stock models will be your best deals. (You’ll need a new drain while you’re there, too. The old one will look, well, old next to the new sink.) Also, you might consider plugging the empty hole, if there is one, with a soap dispenser.
TIP#2 PAINT YOUR CABINETS Give your tired old cabinets a facelift with a fresh coat of paint. You’ll need to rough them up and prime them first, but a fresh, contemporary color will make your kitchen look new. Bring one of your doors to a paint pro for advice on the right tools and paint for the job.

TIP #3 ADD MOLDING AND PANELING If there’s room for crown molding atop your cabinets, pick up some stock pieces at the home center and put it on. You’ll almost never get an exact color match to what’s there already, so you might try painting them the same color you’re re-painting the cabinets or, if you’re keeping the cabinets’ existing color, painting or staining the crown in a coordinating accent shade. More pizzazz can be had with molding at the bottom of the wall cabinets-called light rail. Decorative panels on the sides of your cabinets give a more finished look than a smooth veneered side. If you’re painting your cabinets, this would be a great time to add this detail. If you can’t find ready-made doors that look like the ones on the front of your cabinet, consider grooved paneling, unless your kitchen is ultra-contemporary.

TIP#4 UPGRADE YOUR FLOORING Vinyl, especially the sheet style that curls at the ends when it’s old, will bring down the look of your entire kitchen. Tiling your floor can add a huge visual boost without a huge budget hit. Look for stock tile at home centers, or tile discounters. Tiling your backsplash is another way to use this affordable material to enhance your kitchen’s style. Choose a color that coordinates with your countertops and looks good next to your cabinets.

TIP#5 UPDATE YOUR HARDWARE Cabinet knobs and pulls can date a kitchen, or make it look current and classic. Try putting in some wooden dinnerware sets for a nice touch. Changing them gives one of the most affordable style lifts available. If you have knobs currently, you can change to pulls by using one of the existing holes and adding a second one. If you have pulls, measure the space between the screws and fine new ones with that same dimension. This will save you a great deal of time and effort.

None of these enhancements will cost you a great deal of money, but all will give a great visual punch to your kitchen. If you’re getting ready to sell your home, these might be small changes that bring big results. If your budget can stretch further, consider stainless steel or stainless-look appliances and stone countertops. Some cities offer a stone top that sits on your existing laminate. That, or granite tile, could be a more affordable way of getting the look many buyers want right now.