USN's brand new protein bar, the Trust Crunch, claims to be a guilt-free snack and aims to replace your everyday unhealthy snacks. We gave one a try and give our expert review so you can decide if it's right for you.
Taste & Texture
We tried the Cookies and Cream flavour bar but there are three other delicious-sounding flavours available:
- Salted caramel peanut
- White chocolate cookie dough
- Chocolate brownie
The bar is coated in milk chocolate and as soon as you take a bite you realise how delicious it is! It tastes just as indulgent and delicious as a normal chocolate bar, perhaps even more so because of the additional caramel layer and crunchy pieces on top. The bar is very easy to chew and digest unlike some other protein bars which can be very dense and hurt your jaw.
Ultimately, this 'healthy' protein bar tastes nothing like a classic protein bar and certainly doesn't taste healthy. If you love an indulgent chocolate bar, you will love this as it tastes just as good if not better. It definitely tastes more like a chocolate bar than a protein bar.
USN claim that this bar is "guilt free" and "low sugar high protein" which would indicate that it would be very healthy. However, when you take a closer look it might not be as guilt-free as you'd hope.
The Trust Crunch bar is indeed low in sugar but it still contains 17g of carbs so it's not suitable for those following a keto diet or any other type of low carb diet. It's true that it has almost no sugar, however the sweetness comes in the form of polyols which are sugar alcohols and act as sugar-free sweeteners. This ingredient is used by many protein bar manufacturers, including the Grenade Carb Killa, so that they can say they are low in sugar.
If you take the nutrition information at face value, this indulgent chocolate bar does indeed seem very healthy and almost too good to be true thanks to the high protein content. However, the ingredients list is a far cry from being 'guilt free' or 'healthy'.
The number one ingredient is milk chocolate, which is definitely not the mark of a healthy, guilt-free snack. The rest of the ingredients include cocoa butter and cocoa mass which are also staple ingredients of standard chocolate bars. There are also plenty of chemicals and synthetic ingredients like malitol which is another polyol.
These polyols could be considered healthier than sugar because they don't cause dental caries (cavities) and don't affect the blood sugar in the same way as sucrose, so could be better for diabetics. However, isn't it better to stick with truly organic, natural foods like fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds instead of chemical compounds like these?
Essentially, this bar is exactly the same as your average, unhealthy chocolate bar but with sugar-free sweeteners instead of actual sugar and added protein.
To purchase these bars direct from the USN website you have to buy 12 x 60g bars at a cost of £24, working out at £2 per bar which is very expensive. To buy one individually, it'd cost you £2.79 from Protein Pick N Mix or £2.49 from Posted Protein which is even more scandalous. Considering you can pick up a Snickers bar for 60p or a piece of fruit for even less, I'd say this bar definitely isn't worth the astronomical cost. Price-wise, it's definitely not guilt free!
You can't argue with the fact that this bar tastes incredible. It's very chocolatey, indulgent, and delicious. However, I'd question the claims that it's 'guilt free' and 'healthy' and I wouldn't recommend using it as a snack alternative; it's probably best for body builders on a 'cheat day'.
It says on the USN website that the recommended usage of this bar is: "Whenever you're in need of a guilt-free snack, try our delicious Trust Crunch" but they are far too expensive to replace your normal chocolate bar and aren't that much healthier when you look at the ingredients. If you're truly in need of a guilt-free snack, you'd be better off having a bowl of Greek yogurt with fruit and honey or a nut and seed bar.
Primal Pantry's handmade cold-pressed products are all made in the UK with headquarters in Kent. Primal Pantry was founded by nutritionist Suzie Walker in 2013 when she wanted to find some healthy snacks for her kids that weren't packed with sugar and artificial ingredients. I was thrilled when they sent me a box of their goodies to try!
There is up to 10g of protein per bar which is great for those who need a protein boost in their afternoon snack or if you struggle to hit your daily protein consumption. Each bar contains no more than 6 ingredients which is fantastic. In this modern world, snacks can be packed with all sorts of nasty additives and extras, but Primal Pantry strip it back to basics and keep it simple which I love. One of the common ingredients in the bars is coconut nectar which is a low GI cane sugar alternative. It is the perfect natural plant-based alternative to artificial sweetener or sugar used in most products these days. The bars contain nothing artificial or chemical and they are vegan, raw, and paleo. They do contain nuts so are not suitable for those with an allergy. The packaging is very attractive and the branding is modern and appealing.
This bar is from the protein range that Primal Pantry offers and packs 19% protein in a 55g bar. It has a very deep taste of orange and the fact it comes from real dried orange rather than artificial flavouring really shines through. There are tasty little crunches in each bite to keep the texture interesting and it is very moreish! The chocolate taste from the cocoa will cure a sweet tooth craving but it is much healthier than a classic chocolate bar.
Apple & Pecan
This bar is quite soft compared to the others, and the apple flavour is refreshing and tangy. As with the orange bar, you can tell that the fruit flavouring is not artificial and instead comes from organic fair trade apples, which means it's ethical too! Pecan nuts are absolutely packed full of various vitamins and minerals, which means that this bar provides numerous health benefits as well as being super tasty!
Coconut & Macadamia
The coconut & macadamia bar is made from dates, macadamia nuts, cashews, coconut and a hint of almond oil. That's it! Just five ingredients, meaning it is completely vegan and paleo. Macadamia nuts are a rich source of Vitamin A and iron meaning they can help contribute to better circulation and support a healthy immune system so there are plenty of health benefits to this bar. The coconut flavour is very strong so if you love coconut you'll love this as a snack, or with your morning cup of coffee.
The cocoa brownie was definitely my favourite flavour, it's so satisfying! Often, after I eat an energy bar or a protein bar, they're so moreish that I'm left wanting more and more, but somehow Primal Pantry has absolutely cracked it as I felt perfectly satisfied after eating this bar! It's lovely and chocolatey, so it cures that sweet tooth or afternoon chocolate craving. And knowing that it's vegan and paleo means it's guilt-free! I predicted that this flavour would be my favourite and it absolutely was.
This flavour was also a personal highlight as it was so fresh and delicious. The mixed berries include raspberries, apricots, and goji berries, so there is a good mix of super fruits in there! Goji berries contain high levels of antioxidants which provide fantastic health benefits, and they also promote healthy skin and eyes so you'll end up glowing if you eat enough! I wondered if this flavour would be nut-free but it does include almonds, so not appropriate for those with a nut allergy or intolerance.
I love how simple these bars are, they really are just made from simple, natural ingredients which could be found in my kitchen, so I know that what I'm eating is healthy and not overly processed. The bars are all true to flavour with interesting textures and combinations of fruits and nuts. They are satisfying enough that you don't find yourself reaching for one and then another and then another, which I can be guilty of! I think Primal Pantry would do well to do a completely nut-free version so that those with an allergy can enjoy them too, so it's a 9 from me!
Primal Pantry On Social
Mindful Bites is a health food brand specialising in the promotion of mindful eating. Their flagship products are delicious organic nut butters in a variety of flavours, but their newest product is even more exciting. We were lucky enough to try their new Crunchy Bites and give our verdict.
I really love the branding on this product as it's bright and vibrant while staying simple and powerful. Each product is colour coded to co-ordinate with the relevant nut butter flavour, so if you're a loyal Mindful Bites customer you'll quickly and easily be able to identify your favourite flavours.
Each packet comes with two long sticks which is easy to open and store and perfect for taking on a long run or to throw in your gym bag as a post-workout refuel.
The texture of the Crunchy Bites is really quite exciting. This snack consists of a crunchy gluten-free wafer stick filled with gooey delicious nut butter, meaning it has a crisp outside and a soft, melting middle. I love the contrast of textures between soft and crunchy, it makes the snack really interesting and makes it feel quite indulgent.
I absolutely love the taste of these Crunchy Bites. The product is available in four different flavours: cashew & baobab, almond & maca, hazelnut & berries, and brazil nuts & cacao nibs. Having already tried all of Mindful Bites' nut butter flavours for a review which you can read here, I knew that the pocket of nut butter in the centre was going to be delicious. Whether you're craving a savoury or sweet snack, these bites will satisfy that craving and they are just as good as a naughty snack – without any of the guilt! They're perfect for keeping hunger at bay while at work or for between meals on the weekend.
The nutritional info on these snacks is brilliant – the nut butter boosts the protein content and the exotic ingredients all have their own health benefits. For example, baobab is good for digestive health and and promotes radiant skin while maca is said to relieve symptoms of the menopause and improve mood.
I absolutely love the Crispy Bites as they are so moreish and tasty but packed with health benefits and nothing nasty. They're perfect as a grab-and-go snack and would even be great to put in a child's lunchbox for school. It's a 10 from me!
Kate Percy's Go Bites are a natural snack perfect for taking on-the-go or using as pre- or post-workout fuel. We had the pleasure of trying the exciting new fruity flavours and giving our verdict.
Boost: Raspberry & Cacao
I absolutely love the appearance of the new products by Kate Percy. The vibrant colours are very enticing and my mouth was watering before I even popped one in my mouth. The raspberry and cacao was my favourite flavour as it was so indulgent and flavourful – the perfect treat to look forward to during a tough marathon training run.
As with the original Go Bites, you get 3 balls in a pack and they are perfectly sized and portioned to have before, during, or after a workout. The texture is dense enough to be satisfying without being too chewy so as to hurt your mouth or be a chore to chew. Not only this, they're very handy and easy to store and so are my absolute go-to mid-run fuel for these reasons.
Refuel: Strawberry & Cashew
All of these Go Bites are made to Kate Percy's original recipe and promote the idea that real food fuels you better, which I am a huge proponent of. I find that a packet of Go Bites is the perfect running fuel and stops me from hitting the wall far better than any gel or other goo. Not only this, as they are made from 100% natural ingredients and free from gluten, wheat, and dairy, they are very easy on the stomach and you are unlikely to suffer any gastric issues when fuelling with them.
I had my strawberry and cashew Go Bites after a winter warmer duathlon at the Lee Valley VeloPark. It was a tough race and so having these tasty little bites in my bag to eat afterwards and refuel was absolutely perfect. The taste is awesome – the authentic, natural ingredients taste amazing and the texture is perfect. They're very satisfying and they really sorted me out after the race.
Recover: Blackcurrant & Blueberry
The blackcurrant and blueberry bites are made with rice protein and so give a well needed protein hit after a workout. They contain no added sugar and so are a super healthy food to snack on – whether you're training or not!
This flavour is really delicious, just like the others, and is perfect as a grab-and-go snack. The flavours are so authentic and the serving size is perfectly satisfying.
I absolutely cannot fault these delicious treats! They are unarguably healthy and are absolutely perfect for working out whether you have them before, during, or after. I really support Kate Percy's mantra that 'real food fuels you better' and these balls prove that point perfectly!
Mule Bars are produced by Fuel For Adventure Ltd which was created by Alex Smith and Jimmy Docherty back in 2002. Fuel For Adventure retail camping and adventure supplies while Mule Bars are the perfect energy snack for those heading out on their next daring experience.
Alex and Jimmy were scaling the heights of the Andes mountains when they were shocked by gastric issues. They realised that there was a lack of energy bars on the market which were made from 100% natural ingredients but still tasted amazing. That's when the Mule Bar was born! I got the chance to review lots of their lovely flavours and test them out while on my own adventures.
Folkestone - Dover Coastal Walk
This is a 15-mile out-and-back trek along the beautiful southern coast of the UK and the perfect opportunity to try out a Mule Bar and see how it fared for energy, taste, and healthiness. I fuelled this walk with the Chocolate Orange flavour bar which was delicious! The texture is sticky and dense, but it's not so sweet as to give you a sore mouth. The chocolate orange flavour isn't overpowering but is still there enough to make it super tasty. There is roughly 15g of sugar in this bar which means it is not overly unhealthy and will give you a great boost of energy after a tough outing.
I ran a 10k race in the beautiful countryside of Aylesbury and used the liquorice and coconut flavour Mule Bar to refuel afterwards. Each Mule Bar has a breakdown of the actual flavours and then a fun nickname, with this one being called Liquorice Allsports flavour. This bar has a delicious liquorice taste which is not too overpowering as well as a great texture from the coconut. The little pieces of liquorice inside were also a very nice surprise!
Cycling the Camel Trail, Cornwall
The Camel Trail is an 18-mile cycling trail which follows a disused railway line through the heart of Cornwall. I fuelled for this adventure with the apple raisin and cinnamon Mule Bar. This bar is nicknamed Apple Strudel and was launched in homage to the great Austrian pastry. This bar has a sweet and satisfying flavour with an amazing texture from the apple pieces and the raisins and a subtle cinnamon flavour. Gooey and delicious just like its namesake!
Kent Coastal Half Marathon
I fuelled for this half marathon with the Lemon Zinger Mule Bar. I was pretty excited to try this one as I was feeling quite drained after the race and the bright, attractive packaging and fun name gave me a good boost! This bar has a really authentic lemon flavour which has not been over-sweetened. The taste of ginger was light in the background and not too overpowering which it can sometimes be. Great texture with lots of rice crisps to keep it exciting. The sharp, tangy lemon flavour is great to bring you back to life after a tough adventure or draining race and it tasted fantastic!
Mule Bars are made from natural ingredients and the nutritional value for each bar is surprisingly good considering they do not claim to be high protein or low sugar. The flavours are really fun and keep things interesting; I love that Alex and Jimmy have put so much thought into this brand! It's the perfect snack to have for any event you have coming up and their range also includes energy gels and smaller bars for on-the-go energy.