True Delights-ful

At the end of January, Foodbuzz and Quaker teamed up to provide samples of Quaker's new True Delights granola bars for food bloggers to review. I received my bars and have since been eating them as a component of my workweek lunches. Here are some of my thoughts on this new product.

There are three True Delights flavors: honey roasted cashew mixed berry, toasted coconut banana macadamia nut, and dark chocolate raspberry almond. All three bars share the same nutrition facts. Each 35 gram bar contains 140 calories (40 from fat), 4.5 g of fat (7% daily value, or DV), 1.5 g of saturated fat (7 % DV), no trans fat or cholesterol, 3 g of fiber (14% DV), 8 g of sugar, and 2 g of protein. (You can find more nutrition details at Quaker's website.) Each box contains 5 bars of a single flavor, and the suggested retail value per box is $3.49.

Right off the bat, there are a number of things that I like about all three bars. They are moist, and have good texture and chew factor. On the more superficial side of things, both the True Delights packaging and the bars themselves are quite attractive and don't deter me from wanting to eat one. Nutritionally, I appreciate the bars' high fiber content and low caloric content. I'm also glad that they're free of cholesterol and trans fat, although I think they could be a little lower in regular fat considering there's a mere 2 grams of protein per bar.

Let me continue my griping for a little bit longer. In addition to wishing there was more protein in each bar, I'd also like to see less sugar. With the high sugar and low protein, these might alleviate your hunger for a little while (I'm thinking as a mid-morning snack to tide you over until lunch), but won't do much if you need some serious power such as before a race or strenuous workout. That said, the high fiber content ensures that you will stay full and feeling satisfied, especially if you pair a bar with a piece of fruit.

One last con I see in these bars are the excessively long names. Maybe it's just the lazy writer in me coming through, but I don't see how a five word flavor title in addition to the overarching name, True Delights, adds anything. I don't feel like I'm getting more bang for my buck. It just seems over the top. Then again, eating a bar with a five word name didn't detract from my enjoyment of it, so take my thoughts in this area however you like. The word-conservative writer likes a short name, though. Give it some punch, but keep it tight.

Okay, enough with the pedantic writer rant. As I mentioned before, I've been packing these bars for lunch during the week. Paired with a hummus-stuffed pita or some fruit and yogurt, these bars round out my lunch nicely with their whole grains, sweet flavor, and relatively low fat percentage. Not all the flavors are created equal in my opinion, though, so here are some thoughts on each of the three varieties of True Delights bars.


Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry
I tried this flavor first, and it ended up being my favorite of the three. I could definitely taste the honey (and little too strongly, but it was not overwhelming), and I found the texture of the roasted cashews extremely satisfying. The flavors of the oats, honey, nuts, and dried berries blended quite nicely. Thumbs up on this one!


Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut
Next I tried the flavor with the biggest mouthful of a name. I enjoyed the coconut/banana combination, which is not one I would have naturally put together. Combined with macadamia nuts, this bar came across as subtly tropical. I did not detect anything particularly toasted about the coconut, though. I also thought that the strips of coconut might have been better off mixed into the oats in smaller pieces. Larger chunks of banana would not have been amiss, although Quaker did hit a good level of banana flavor without letting it become overwhelming. I sometimes enjoy eating granola bars after I've warmed them in the microwave for ten seconds, and I tried it with this variety. In my opinion, this bar turned out to be even tastier warm than at room temperature. As a result, this flavor also earns a thumbs up.


Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond
This flavor, the final bar that I taste-tested, ended up disappointing me. I thought that the dark chocolate/raspberry combination was a sure thing, and so had intentionally "saved the best for last," or so I thought. I'm not sure what didn't work about this flavor. The chocolate itself tasted good, and both the raspberries and oats were satisfactory. But mixed all together something just did not quite click. Warming this bar in the microwave helped a little, but something still tasted off. Perhaps the dried raspberries were too bitter? I'm not sure. Sorry, Quaker, but thumbs down on this variety.

There you have it -- my complete analysis of Quaker's brand new True Delights line of granola bars. If you're looking for a protein-loaded bar, this product is not for you. On the other hand, if you're out a quick, nutritious snack, I'd recommend the cashew or macadamia flavors. I'm not sure that I would purchase these myself -- I like my bars to pack more protein power -- but I certainly would say no to them, either. Be sure to visit the True Delights website to snag your free sample. Thanks again to Foodbuzz and Quaker!

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