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.
Wild Trail is a snack brand that is part of the Brighter Foods family, founded by Robin Williams. Brighter Foods was founded in 2014 in a small town in Wales and has since expanded to employee over 200 people and launched sub-brand Wild Trail in 2016. We were lucky enough to taste test Wild Trail's newest snack bar and give our verdict.
Wild Trail Sweet & Salty Fruit & Nut Bar
I really love the story and concept behind Wild Trail as I am a keen adventurer and love the outdoors. Wild Trail are very proud of their roots and the fact that their base is in the beautiful Snowdonia national park. The snacks are inspired by nature and their aim is to provide 'simple outdoor energy' for people who enjoy fresh air, exploring, and everything that the outdoors has to offer. The snacks are designed to be as simple and natural as possible and also handy enough to eat on the side of a mountain.
Taste & Texture
Considering these bars are all-natural and only contain 5 simple ingredients, the taste is absolutely glorious. The raisins provide the perfect sweetness without being overly sugary, which is a pitfall of some 'healthy' bars which are based around dates as the main ingredient.
The bar is delightfully sticky and the nuts give a crunchy, delicious texture. The 46g bar is just the right size to be satisfying but it is very moreish so you have to be careful! The sea salt provides a delicious depth of flavour and this bar is just what you need when refuelling during or after a big workout or adventure.
Wild Trail prides itself on delivering snack bars that only have a few ingredients and that they are all things you could find in your cupboard at home. The Sweet & Salty Fruit & Nut bar contains just 5 natural ingredients:
- Gluten free oats
- Apple juice concentrate
- Anglesey sea salt
Each bar is a handy 46g and contains 189 calories. There is 15g of sugar which is fairly steep if you're on a low sugar or low carb diet, but it also contains 6g of protein which is good considering these bars don't claim to be 'high protein' like so many other products these days. Plus, if you're using these bars to fuel adventure as intended, the sugar content is a bonus not a negative.
The bars are ideal for those with a food intolerance, allergies, or who follow a 'free from' diet for any reason. Wild Trail bars are dairy-free, vegan, gluten free and have no added sugar. This means they are kind to the stomach and make them ideal as workout fuel and won't upset your stomach during an important endurance event or race!
I was surprised at just how delicious these bars are! They are really tasty and satisfying and make the perfect adventure fuel. It's refreshing to know there are so few ingredients and that they are so healthy and natural. It's a 10 out of 10 from me!
Myprotein is one of the UK's leading sports nutrition companies and offers a wide range of supplements for fitness lovers and gym goers. We review a selection of flavours of their staple offering – whey protein – of which there are a staggering 60 to choose from.
For a lot of people, a protein shake is something they want to quickly chug down after a big gym session to increase their gains and improve their recovery. As such, it doesn't matter too much how it tastes, just that it has the right nutrition benefits. For these people, unflavoured whey protein will do the trick.
However, it is becoming increasingly common for whey protein supplements to be used for things like baking, smoothies, and just as a healthy drink to boost your protein intake and more and more people are turning to them hoping for delicious flavours to replace the snacks and treats they have left behind. Can't eat your favourite apple crumble and custard dessert because of your diet? Myprotein offer it in protein shake form!
Nutrition companies like Myprotein are offering more flavours than ever before and their Impact Whey Protein really takes the biscuit with just how many unusual and interesting flavours are on offer. Some of the more wild flavours you can buy are 'rainbow' (delightfully ambiguous), 'cherry blossom milk tea', 'black sesame', and 'yuzu' (an Asian citrus fruit). We tried a selection of different samples to see how these flavours actually translated into a protein shake and whether the taste lived up to the name. We did, however, stick to the more 'normal' flavours!
Banoffee is a hard flavour to get right as it's almost impossible to mimic the varying tastes and textures of a banoffee pie. This protein shake tastes exactly how you would imagine a banoffee imitator to taste: like artificial banana candy with a hint of toffee thrown in for good measure. That's not to say it doesn't taste good, quite the contrary! However, calling this flavour simply 'banana' would certainly be more fitting and perhaps less disappointing for banoffee lovers.
Rocky Road Flavour
Myprotein's Rocky Road flavour whey protein shake tastes like very sweet chocolate but you can kind of taste a hint of marshmallow if you really think about it. I found this flavour to be too sweet for my taste and I don't think I could stomach an entire 5kg bag or having one of these shakes every day. My advice would be just to stick to chocolate flavour if that's your thing.
I chose this flavour as I absolutely love speculoos biscuits (such as Lotus biscoff) and I was hoping the flavour would translate well into a protein shake. However, the complex speculoos flavour just wasn't there and this shake instead tasted just like gingerbread. As with the banoffee, this is certainly no bad thing and the taste was very enjoyable. However, calling the flavour simply 'gingerbread' instead of trying to sound more interesting by calling it speculoos would be much more appropriate.
This was by far my favourite flavour of all the ones I chose. I am a real sucker for marzipan and this protein powder smells very strongly of proper marzipan. Almond is quite an easy flavour to get right but this protein shake could accurately be described as marzipan and not just almond. It's delicious!
Cinnamon Danish Flavour
This is another flavour that I think is let down by the marketing department trying to be too clever with their names. The cinnamon flavour is definitely there and is quite tasty, but calling it 'cinnamon danish' is overselling it somewhat. From personal experience I'm aware that a lot of people don't like cinnamon as a flavour so I don't think Myprotein would sell many if they renamed this just 'cinnamon' but that's definitely a more accurate description of this flavour.
Traditional Italian stracciatella is just plain, vanilla ice cream with chocolate flakes in it. The word 'stracciatella' literally means 'little shred' and refers to the little flakes of chocolate in the ice cream. So, this protein flavour is a fancy way of saying vanilla chocolate chip. As such, it doesn't taste of anything distinct at all and just tastes generally sweet, like vanilla. As with the other flavours, it tastes quite nice if not a bit too sweet.
As mentioned at the start of this review, we appreciate that for many people the flavour of a protein shake doesn't really matter and it's the nutrition that is really important.
Myprotein's Impact Whey Protein is marketed as 'the UK's number 1 whey protein' and packs an impressive 21g of protein per serving. It promises convenient, high quality protein and low carb content (1g per serving). This particular whey protein is a whey protein concentrate meaning it has some fat and some carbs, as opposed to whey protein isolate (like Optimum Nutrition's 100% Gold Standard Whey) which has pretty much zero carbs and zero fat.
This is impressive nutrition for most types of exercisers and anyone who is trying to watch their diet and improve their physqiue would benefit from the nutritional benefits of this whey protein. If you are a bodybuilder or someone trying to really cut the carbs and sugar, you might be better off choosing a whey protein offering with zero carbs and sugar, such as a whey protein isolate. However, it is probably the sugar content that is contributing to the tasty flavours on offer here so you may sacrifice taste in favour of nutrition.
Myprotein's Impact Whey Protein is available in four convenient sizes as well as sample sizes if you wish to try lots of different flavours.
- £3.49 for 250g (currently on offer down from an RRP of £6.99)
- £21.99 for 1kg
- £44.99 for 2.5kg
- £79.99 for 5kg
The 5kg bag is the best value for money and works out at £1.60 per 100g. Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard Whey has an RRP of £49.99 for a 2.27kg tub which works out at £2.20 per 100g and is therefore markedly more expensive.
Not only is the Myprotein Impact Whey cheaper anyway, it's even more value for money as there are often amazing discounts on offer which makes it a lot cheaper than competitor brands.
If you're an endurance athlete who needs a comfortable hydration solution as well as storage, the new Kalenji Bag Trail 5L Hydration Pack is the perfect choice. We give our verdict on this lightweight running hydration bag.
Comfort - 10/10
When running, especially over long distances, you want to be as comfortable as possible and to make sure nothing on you is going to start chafing after a few hours. This hydration vest is very comfortable and secure and does not chafe or rub in any places. It features two adjustable straps to the front to keep it in place and overall it fits very well. The bag doesn't bounce around at all as you run and the straps feature a felt lining which is very comfortable, meaning it doesn't rub your arms if you're wearing a running vest.
Small details really make this hydration bag great, such as grippers to the holders where you place the water bladder mouthpiece so it doesn't move around and stays put during your run. The mouthpiece itself is very easy to use – just twist and drink. This means that even with slippery, sweaty hands you can still access your water! A problem I've struggled with in the past with other hydration vests.
This hydration vest comes with a 1L water bladder which fits easily inside.
Storage - 9/10
For such a low-priced 'basic' product, this hydration pack has a fantastic range of storage options. There are two pockets to the front which you can access easily while you're running. One is designed for a 150ml soft flask but you could put anything small in there – keys, snacks etc. The other front pocket is large enough for a smart phone which means easy access and practicality while running. To the rear of the bag there is a 'kangaroo pouch' which is designed for packing away a running jacket in case you might need it which is brilliant. I use it for a sweat towel because my hands get so sweaty when running in the summer! This is really useful to be able to carry as I hate having wet hands while I'm running and means I can dry off if it starts to rain too.
The pack itself comes with a 1L water bladder which fits perfectly into the space and it's easy to get it in and out to fill it and empty it. The straw/mouthpiece weaves out of the back and in front of you across your chest. There is also a safety whistle attached to one of the pockets which is a nice touch, especially if you do lots of trail running in remote locations.
The safety whistle is tucked into the side pocket. I never would've realised it was a whistle if I hadn't noticed the description on the website.
There is also an inner zip pocket which Kalenji say is designed for your smart phone or keys but I would always be weary that due to possible unexpected leaking from the water bladder, anything going into this pocket has the potential to get wet.You also can't access this pocket while running so you wouldn't want to put anything in there that you need before you stop.
The only reason I marked down the storage is because the 150ml soft flask pocket is a little awkwardly designed and could do with being bigger so that I could get a larger flask in there as 150ml is little more than a gulp! However, other than this very small quibble, the storage on this bag is exceptional and more than ample.
If you're in need of slightly more storage, the 10L version of this bag allows for two 500ml soft flasks in front pockets as well as space for more snacks and even walking sticks.
Price - 10/10
With an RRP of £17.99, this brilliant hydration bag is less than half the price of similar products and is even 60-70% cheaper than some higher end hydration bags from the big players in trail running and endurance gear. When shopping around for a new hydration bag, I was really rather shocked at the sky-high prices of some on the market. A similar product from big brand Camelbak will set you back over £60, some Salomon hydration vests are over £100 and the singular offering from Nike, which is a very basic product, is priced at £75.
Kalenji offer a really accessible, reasonable price which is perfect for first-time endurance runners or trail runners who have never bought a hydration vest before so don't want to shell out on something expensive, but also for experienced runners who just don't feel like spending £60+ on a hydration bag! Considering this product provides everything you need, the price is almost too good to be true.
The mouthpiece is leakproof thanks to a silicone bite guard and twists on or off for easy use.
Verdict - 10/10
I'm hugely impressed by this running hydration pack and wouldn't consider any other on the market. For someone who regularly runs half marathon to marathon distance both on the road and on the trails, it provides the perfect amount of storage and water. I'd use this for anything up to 50km/31 miles in distance in all weathers for both training and racing.
For any endurance events that are further in distance or more remote in location, perhaps a larger bag would be better as you could take more supplies. However, for organised races and training runs up to marathon distance, this hydration bag is perfect in every way for beginners right through to experienced runners.
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!
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