clif builders bar

Not being one to regularly eat protein bars, I never gave the Clif Builder’s Protein Bar a second glance until a reader wrote in asking for my opinion of it. Somehow Clif Bar read my mind, because not long after, they sent me a couple of these protein bars to sample!

I’ll start by saying the original Clif Bar was the best tasting energy bar I could get as a kid. These days, good tasting energy bars are more common, but Clif is still up in the top ranks. If the Builder’s Bar lives up to its brethren, I’d consider it a success!

So let’s see what this protein bar is all about…

Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

We can start off looking at the ingredients:

[Chocolate Mint] Ingredients: Soy Protein Isolate, Beet Juice Concentrate, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Palm Kernel Oil, Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Rolled Oats, Cocoa, Organic Soy Protein Concentrate, Organic Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Natural Flavors, Organic Dry Roasted Almonds, Rice Starch, Evaporated Cane Juice, Inulin (Chicory Extract), Cocoa Butter, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Oat Fiber, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Red Cabbage Color.

This bar has quite a few ingredients, but for the most part, they are all natural. Few energy bars could be considered more natural or less processed. As with most bars, this isn’t something I’d want to be eating every single day, but nothing scares me off.

Some people might be scared off due to the soy protein, which has gotten some bad press lately, but I wouldn’t worry too much about it. (Unless you’re eating these for each meal of the day, every day, and plan to keep that up for years to come.)

Next, the nutrition facts…

Nutrition Facts:

Serving size: 1 bar
Calories 270
Fat 8g
Sodium 230mg
Potassium 200mg
Total Carbs 31g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 20g
Protein 20g

By the looks of things, we have a fairly balanced bar, pretty high in calories, with a nice mix of protein, carbs, and fat. You get your carbs to refuel your glycogen stores and protein to help rebuild muscles after a workout.

For during your workouts, I’d stick with regular Clif Bars, but the Builder’s Bar could be used for post-ride recovery or even a quick breakfast when you’re super low on time.

Clif rates this bar as “Low Glycemic.” That’s good if you will be eating this bar as a snack.

Clif Builder’s Bar Taste Test

Here is my taste test of all the flavors:

Chocolate Mint

clif builders bar

Wow! This smells like Thin Mints cookies from the girl scouts! The taste and texture… are very similar too!

A lot of bars try to pull off this flavor, and they get the scent, and sometimes even the taste. But hardly ever do they get the texture right. Clif Bar did!

It’s a soft bar with crunchy mint cookie bits in it. Kind of like a 3 Musketeers bar maybe, crossed with your standard protein bar (which differs in texture from a typical high-carb, low-protein energy bar.) Basically, this is a really good tasting bar!

Chocolate Chip

A new flavor for 2012, I actually like this one, despite not normally liking chocolate chip bars. This reminds me of some dessert where you make a chocolate chip cookie in a pan (like brownies,) since it has that moist texture and is simply thicker than a normal chocolate chip cookie.

Peanut Butter

clif builders bar

Smells kind of like a Reeses peanut butter cup. It doesn’t really taste like a Reeses, but it does remind me of some sort of candy bar. It would be a little bland for a candy bar, but it’s very nice for a protein bar. It’s plenty sweet for my tastes.

Overall, I enjoyed it. It’s a nice chocolate and peanut butter flavor that tastes good, and the texture is nice too – nice and chewy! It was cohesive too, like it was meant to just blend together perfectly.

 

Crunchy Peanut Butter

A new flavor for 2012, this is a crunchy bar with a sweet peanut butter taste. It’s like peanut butter candy.

Definitely a change from the regular Peanut Butter Builder’s bar – this one is sweeter and it’s pure peanut butter, with no chocolate coating.

Cookies ‘N Cream

Normally a cookies ‘n cream would be my favorite flavor, but I was kind of disappointed with this. Since I loved the other Builder’s Bars, I had high expectations here, and the flavor just wasn’t robust enough.

It’s not a bad flavor, just nowhere near as good as the others.

S’Mores

Another new one for 2012 here…

I love s’mores, but I can’t recall any energy bars that actually pull off the true s’mores flavor. Well, this bar can’t deliver the whole s’mores experience, but it tastes pretty darn good for an energy bar!

This has the potential to become one of my favorite Builder’s bars!

Lemon

clif builders bar

After tasting the amazingness of the mint chocolate and peanut butter flavors, I saw a lemon one on the store shelf and had to grab it. Could Clif keep up the amazing flavors? Let’s see…

Well, the lemon flavor is about what I expected. Similar to every other lemon flavored bar out there. I’d rate this flavor “so so.” I’d eat one again if I had to, but I’d never buy one again, nor recommend it (especially after sampling the other flavors.)

Basically, you can’t capture a good lemon flavor in an energy bar like this. And this isn’t sweet like lemon meringue pie. So there’s nothing going for it.

Even the texture was not quite as nice as Mint Chocolate or Peanut Butter. The bottom was crunchier and the top was chewier, which just made things odd rather than cohesive.

In Use

I use this bar either as a meal replacement or post-ride snack, rather than eating it during bike rides, so it doesn’t get tested as hard. But there are a couple things to mention.

First, it takes a while to eat this bar! That’s bad for on-bike fuel, but rather pleasant when you’re talking about post-ride snacks!

Second, I feel satiated (satisfied) after eating this bar. I found this bar much more satisfying than the smaller Clif Kid Zbar I tried the other day, and it’s noticeably more filling than typical energy bars in the 200-250 calorie range.

There may be some 400 calorie bars that are more filling than this, but sometimes those are like a rock in your stomach, so I’m plenty happy with the Builder’s Bar.

clif builders bar snack size

Clif Builder’s Bar Snack Size

Is the full size bar too filling for you? Need smaller portions? Clif has just the thing for you – the “snack size” Builder’s Bar.

This bar looks fairly similar in the wrapper, but once unwrapped, you can see it’s half size. I think it looks tiny when it’s next to the full-size bar.

I’m a fan of how the original is real thick; it looks beefy and substantial, while the snack size bar looks wimpy. Maybe “petite” is the right word?

clif builders bar size comparison

As far as taste, it’s about the same. But the snack size Chocolate Peanut Butter seems to have fewer crunchy nuggets, so it’s nowhere near as fun to eat. I’m not sure why it wouldn’t still have the same amount of crunch per bite (relatively speaking.)

Note: The Chocolate Mint bar, on the other hand, tasted exactly the same as the full size bar. It even had a full size chocolate chip inside it!

Personally, I can’t think of any occasion where I’d need a snack size bar rather than just half a regular Builder’s Bar. Heck, I can’t see myself not finishing the full size bar under any circumstance. So I’ll stick with the regular size since it’s fun to eat and fills me up nicely, but your needs may vary.

My final verdict is…

If you get the right flavor (I know mint chocolate and peanut butter are good,) this is an awesome bar with great taste and texture! It now ranks as my favorite protein bar!

The Clif Builder’s Bar is satisfying to eat and keeps me pretty satiated. I really like this as a convenient protein bar if you need one for a quick snack, meal replacement, or post-ride fuel.

Official website: www.ClifBar.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com


Product Review Details
Company: Clif Bar
Product: Clif Builder’s Protein Bar
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2013-04-04
Obtained Product: Free sample from company.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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1 Comment
  1. Thanks! This was useful in helping me decide which to buy.

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