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Granola Bar Bonanza! CLIF CRUNCH Bar, NOW Bar Review and Giveaway

Posted Jan 23 2012 12:00am

In observance of the already-past and definitely overlooked occasion of National Granola Bar Day , today’s post is a celebration of granola bars. It also happens to be a celebration of two great companies who have each stepped up with cool giveaway offers for a few of my readers.

The first company is no stranger to this website: I’m talking about CLIF Bar , whose products are longtime family favorites and whose business principles I admire tremendously. I’ve been fortunate to enjoy a partnership with them for a few years now, and every time I think they’ve run out of ways to impress me, they step up and toss another dose of healthy mojo my way.

This time, in honor of National Granola Bar Day, they’re providing four boxes of CLIF CRUNCH , the company’s crunchy granola bars that contain a full serving of organic whole grains in each bar. Their ingredient composition is 70% organic, and each bar contains 3 or 4 grams of protein depending on the flavor.

Last fall CLIF introduced two new flavors, blueberry crisp and chocolate peanut butter, making a total of six different varieties. My favorite is , but one reader will get to sample four CRUNCH flavors and decide for him- or herself, because that’s the prize: four 10-bar boxes (there are 2 thin bars per pack) of CLIF CRUNCH, all for the cost of one lucky comment. I’ll pick the winner at random and announce the result this weekend.

Today’s second company is a newcomer to my blog, and a relative newcomer to the sports nutrition game – and they’re the brainchild of a somewhat unexpected founder.

If you watch The Amazing Race, you’re familiar with host Phil Keoghan , who is a globetrotter and adventure athlete in his own right. In addition to The Amazing Race, Keoghan hosts a show in his home country of New Zealand called No Opportunity Wasted, which gives contestants 72 hours and $3000 to fulfill a long-held dream. (Apparently one of Keoghan's own dreams is to take Oprah skydiving , but that's neither here nor there.)

NOW Bars borrow the acronym from Keoghan’s show, and they reflect his desire to have a great-tasting energy bar to sustain him for long days of filming, travel, or endurance exploits such as his bike ride across America in 2009. They come in two flavors, and feature a secret ingredient of sorts: manuka honey , a naturally occurring product of New Zealand honeybees that provides unique flavor and potent nutritional benefits, and is even thought to have some medicinal properties.

Manuka honey has increased anti-inflammatory properties and higher antibacterial potency compared to regular honey, and has even been shown to accelerate wound healing. It’s as effective as glucose for replacement of carbohydrates during endurance exercise, and can also accelerate post-workout recovery. From a taste and texture standpoint, it makes NOW bars sweet, moist and chewy, and makes them more resistant to temperature extremes (i.e., they don’t freeze or melt very easily).

NOW Bars come in two flavors : Peanut with Caramel, and Honeycomb with Chia and Raisins. I’m not a huge caramel fan, but I really love the honeycomb flavor, both because of its taste, and because it includes chia seeds, which are a nutritional powerhouse all their own. The bars are pretty good-sized – each one is 2.5-oz, compared to the 1.5-oz CLIF CRUNCH – with 11oz of protein to help keep your hunger at bay for a while. Both flavors have all-natural ingredients and are completely gluten-free.

NOW Bars are  as well as other online vendors, but in conjunction with today’s review (and National Granola Bar Day!), the company will provide 2 winners with a 12-count box of each flavor. We’ll go with the same rules for this one as for the CLIF giveaway.

So in case you’re losing track, allow me to recap: I’ll randomly select a total of three winners from the comment box below. One winner will receive four 10-bar boxes of CLIF CRUNCH, and the other two will receive a box of each flavor of NOW Bars. Winners will be announced this Saturday night. Thanks very much to CLIF and NOW for sponsoring this contest, and good luck to everybody!

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