Thursday, May 23, 2013

REVIEW: LUNA Protein Cookie Dough Bar

As much as I talk about low-calorie this and low-calorie that, how to stay lean and lose weight, there comes a time in an underweight gal's life when she needs to wake up and realize the best thing for her health is to gain some weight and build up her scrawny muscles! And really, accomplishing BOTH of these goals takes a lot more thought than one might think. If you want to gain weight in muscle, and NOT in fat (I mean, who wants a muffin top when you can have rock-hard abs instead?), you can't go around eating chips and cookies all day. No, rather, when looking to gain, you need to search for the most-nutrient dense foods available! And what nutrient is the building block for muscle? Protein, people! Protein!
But how are you supposed to get all your protein in? Well meat, obviously, but that gets kind of boring. For me, anyways. I don't want every snack I eat to consist of deli slices or cheese. This girl needs her sweet-tooth fix! But what's sweet and high in protein at the same time? The two don't exactly go hand in hand. When I think of sweet snacks, I think of Hostess treats, ice cream, granola bars, Oreo cookies, cereal, candy, Pop-tarts- Need I go on? If it wasn't obvious to you already, NONE of these are great sources of muscle-building protein. Or any significant nutrients, really. Some of them are high in fiber, and maybe even a couple of granola bars and cereals have good amounts of protein, but not many I've seen. So what's a sweet-craving teen who wants to gain weight healthily to do? Behold the LUNA Protein Cookie Dough Bar!

I found this little filly in one of the kitchen cupboards while I was over at my Dad's. He goes to work out downtown at the gym every so often, and he most likely got it from there. They're always handing out free samples of products like this. That's a huge score, isn't it? We don't normally stock up on fitness and protein bars like the things from LUNA in my household, but I'm guessing they're pretty high up there in the price range. I figured Dad wouldn't mind much if I took one of his LUNA bars to school with me as a snack.

If you can't read what the wrapper says, I'll type it down for you here:
"Food feeds our souls, lifts our spirits, nourishes and sustains us... (and keeps us occupied while we sit and watch TV) and as women we know the way we eat makes a difference in how we feel (like beans make you feel gassy). However, it's a challenge to satisfy our hunger and eat healthfully (Amen, sister! Testify!). Now there's LUNA Protein, the first protein bar made just for us (Well, another first for womenkind! Yay!). Decadent chocolately covered nougat (what is nougat anyway?) with 12 grams of protein, folic acid, calcium, iron, and vitamin D. Indulgent satisfaction for under 200 calories.
                                                                          - The Women of LUNA"

The stuff in parentheses were my own comments, if you couldn't tell.
So, a protein bar made for just us ladies, huh? Well, I bet Dad is relieved I took this beauty off his hands for him. Don't want to be laughed at for eating the girly bar... But why is it exclusive to the female part of the population? Because it's chocolately? Indulgent? Sweet?
Well, I guess that's a lesser-thought-of plus side to being a women: Us ladies are expected to enjoy the sweet, sugary stuff. It's okay for us to. I mean, men are the ones who are the carnivores, the meat-eaters: eating sweet, pink-frosted slices of cake is so unmanly. But, for females, it's okay. Chocolate is a girl's best friend, after all. The more I think about it though, the more I realize that that doesn't really stop guys from eating dessert anyway.

The LUNA bar's nutritional stats are pretty impressive. 170 calories- not bad for a protein bar. 3 grams of fiber and 12 whole grams of protein! Woohoo! Not to mention several other added vitamins and minerals as well. A little high on the sugar count- 14 grams- but we don't want this protein bar tasting like tree bark.
The Cookie Dough bar is also made with mostly organic ingredients, has a low glycemic index, and is gluten free. Sounds like its a good choice for all kinds of folks out there.
By the way, the official description for this bar on LUNA's webpage tells us what we're looking for here: Chocolate chips and cookie-dough pieces swirled in soft nougat with a flourish of vanilla.
Well, enough stalling- Let's open this baby up!

Hmmm... The actual bar seems a lot smaller once its out of its packaging. I was expecting something a bit bigger here- I hope this'll keep me satisfied till' lunch. Looking at it, the protein bar looks a bit like a Twix. It's the way the chocolate covering cascades over the bar, giving it that wavy look.

Breaking the bar in half, I was greeted with a filling similar to the color of real cookie dough- perhaps a bit darker a shade of yellow. I tore off a small piece of the protein bar to give it a taste. Feeling it, the bar was very dense for its small stature. Anyway, the first bite really threw me off! I thought that since this was a protein bar, it wouldn't taste as good and as cookie doughy as it was made out to be, but actually, the taste was like a cross between a Cookie Dough Pop-Tart and a Dipped Chewy Granola Bar. It was chewy and soft, and surprisingly very sweet. However, a bitter aftertaste starts to develop the more you chew. A couple minuscule bites in, I found miniature chocolate chips resting inside the nougat. There was no icky taste to them. They were pure chocolate, baby! There were also little crunchy bites inside the bar as well, and I couldn't determine what they were supposed to be at first. They had a nice "pop" to them- maybe they were the cookie dough bites LUNA had described were in the bar.  I couldn't tell though. I had led myself to believe they were possible bites of soy protein or something similar, due to the crunch. The picture on the left will give you a good idea of what the bar looked like once I reached the chocolate chips and cookie dough bites: The darker circles are the chips, making the lighter, more grainy looking spheres the cookie dough bites. I found these to be more abundant toward the ends of the bar.

The nougat filling was probably the low point of LUNA's protein bar, believe it or not. It certainly had the texture of cookie dough (Look, I formed it into a cookie dough bite!), but it is bland and bitter when eaten alone. What really helps to pull it along is the chocolate covering on the outside of the LUNA bar, which doesn't hold back on sweetness in the least bit. Not saying it's overly sweet, but it definitely doesn't evoke the feeling of "healthy." Which is a good thing. If you're eating chocolate and thinking, "I bet this is really good for me," that chocolate probably tastes like a twig. Anyway, the chocolate covering masks up the bitter aspect of the nougat filling, letting the subtle cookie dough flavor shine its very brightest. The bar can still taste bitter if you end up chewing on it for a long time, so I suggest letting it melt in your mouth piece by piece instead. That way, the chocolate melds with the nougat, and the bitter flavor is masked up completely. Once I realized this, my complaints with the bar's bitterness disappeared into thin air. It's a good technique to use if you decide to pick one of these LUNA bars up sometime. Either that, or use less bites for each piece of the bar.

Overall, the LUNA Protein Cookie Dough bar surpassed my expectations. I was expecting something that was nasty and bitter, and couldn't really live up to the divine taste of cookie dough, but I was sooo wrong. Although this LUNA bar is subject to a bitter aftertaste, most of the time it tastes near-exact to cookie dough. I mean, it reminded me of a sugary, carby, fatty (yet still addictingly good) Cookie Dough Pop-Tart. And that has to be worth SOMETHING.
This Cookie Dough bar's taste would make it a great alternative to candy, and a nutritionally superior one as well. The bar also kept my hunger at bay until lunch- another plus. Whether you're trying to gain muscle, eat healthily, or are just looking for something sweet to eat, try out one of these protein bars from LUNA! They shocked me- they may just shock you too. And don't worry, boys- I think it'll be okay for you to bring these to the weight room as well.

I'm gonna go ahead and give this bar a 7/10.

LUNA'S Protein: Cookie Dough Bar
  • Pros: Tastes like cookie dough, dense, soft, chewy, yummy and sweet chocolate chips & coating, organic, low glycemic, good alternative to candy, feels like cookie dough, great source of protein and fiber, keeps you full, COOKIE DOUGH POP-TARTS!
  • Cons: Smaller than expected, bitter aftertaste, nougat by itself is bland and is the main source of the bitterness of the bar

P.S... I looked for another one of these bars in Dad's kitchen's cupboards the next day. Sadly, they were alllll gone. I was quite disappointed, to tell the truth. Go working out soon, Dad! I gotta get more of these things into my life!

And that's all for now! What do you think? Are there any brands/flavors of proteins bars you readers like or would like me to review? Let me know! I need to build up some muscle! And they really are tasty, besides.

Till' next time, this has been RiRi Ri-porting!

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