Pack in the Protein

In a world that is becoming more focused on eating healthily, it has become far more accessible to find alternative ingredient foods and the “free from” aisles in supermarkets have tripled in size, now offering a huge range of dairy, wheat, gluten and sugar free products. Being a complete and utter sugar addict myself, and knowing the obvious – that stuffing my face with chocolate and biscuits is not going to help in the long run – I was really pleased when Natural Balance Foods sent me some of their protein bars to trial*.

The great thing about these bad boys is that they are gluten and dairy free, as well as containing no added sugar. Packed with up to 10g protein per bar, I think they’d be a satisfying snack after a workout, on a long hike (hence the name “TREK” I’m guessing) or for an on-the-go pick me up to stop you craving rubbish. I also didn’t realise initially that they’re made by the same people who make the nakd rang, which I’m also a big fan of!

The TREK energy bars come in 4 flavours – Banana Blast, Cocoa Chaos, Berry Burst and Peanut Power and I was sent a selection to try out – whilst also enlisting some friends to be my taste testers – a hard job as you can imagine!

We found a sunny spot in the park and made the mistake of trying them pre-picnic (I say mistake, they are really filling and I had a whole load of other delicious picnic food waiting for me afterwards!) Kate, Rach and Emily all chose a bar and did their best to eat it looking natural whilst awkwardly being photographed.


Kate’s first reaction to the Berry Burst bar was “ooh that’s so much better than I expected” – but then as the bars are cold pressed from dates, raisins, oats, and soya “crunchies” with additional natural flavours, they are bound to be different to traditional cereal bars we’ve grown accustomed to. “The berry flavour is prominent and it tastes pretty good – I wouldn’t have guessed it didn’t have any added sugar in”. I asked if there were any downsides, . Kate said she liked that the TREK bar had lots of protein, and the size of it was bigger than Natural Balance Food’s other well known brand, Nakd, but it was slightly drier.


Emily was slightly more skeptical than Kate, and turned out to be quite knowledgeable about nutrition. Emily said “I love the taste of the Banana Blast TREK bar, but I’d be put off by the number of calories and the percentage of sugar in it, even though it’s natural, there’s still 170Kcal and 25g of sugar per bar”. This got us chatting about it, and the conclusion we came to is that it would be perfect as a snack to eat whilst exercising as it would give you a sugar boost to initially keep you going, long term energy and satiety from the protein and you’d easily burn off the calories from hiking up mountains – maybe not a bar to turn to if you’re flobbing on the sofa and also trying to lose weight.


Rach really enjoyed the Peanut Power bar and said it reminded her of a Healthy Snickers. Knowing that it was Gluten, Wheat and Dairy Free, she could see the appeal to a health conscious audience, especially in current foodie trends which focus on natural ingredients and choosing protein rich foods over processed carbohydrates. Though the peanuts make this flavour the most calorific, it would keep you full for a long time and is still superior to snacking on a chocolate bar of equivalent calories.


The final flavour, Cocoa Chaos, was a hit with everyone. Similar in flavour to some of the Nakd varieties, and as a chocolate lover, it leaves you satisfying those chocolate cravings without any of sugar crash. Not overly sweet, and with a texture a bit like ground flapjack, it’s a big enough bar to make you feel as though you’ve had a decent amount.

Overall the TREK energy bars surpassed my expectations. Perhaps to be best enjoyed pre, during or post exercising (and with exercise I don’t count jaw exercises munching through a rug full of picnic food!) rather than as an everyday snack as the sugar and calorie levels are quite high. Having raved about the Nakd range, I thought that their flavours wouldn’t be as tasty and although less chewy, the amount of protein in these is impressive and the size, texture and flavour was really satisfying.


Thanks to Natural Balance Foods for sending me these samples*, I will definitely be buying more in the future to combat post workout cravings!