by Matt Weik
I’m going to start off by saying I am not a fan of plant-based products. This is a personal choice of mine as I’m big on animal proteins as it’s what I use the most. That being said, I’m not completely turned off by other products and I actually enjoy trying new things. I got some Evolve protein bars to try and to my surprise, they were actually really delicious. Could these be a great entry point for those on the fence to try plant-based bars and other plant-based products? It could very well be.
Are My Taste Buds Evolving?
Whoa whoa whoa! Easy there. Not so fast. I wouldn’t say my taste buds are “evolving” but I know good when I taste it and the Evolve protein bars are GOOD. I wasn’t able to pick up every flavor but rather three out of the four available. I tried the Almond Cherry, Peanut Butter, and the Trail Mix. The one missing was the Peanut Butter & Jelly (which I have a feeling is amazing).
Now, what you may not know is that Evolve is a brand under Cytosport – similar to Muscle Milk. It is their plant-based natural line of products which also includes things like protein shakes (powder as well as RTDs) and greens powder.
Out of the three I tried, by far my favorite was the Almond Cherry followed by the Trail Mix, and then the Peanut Butter. I’m not saying any of them were bad, it’s just I preferred some flavors over others. The size on the bars was “ok.” Not big and not small. Total weight of the bar is 55g which is comparable to many of the nutritional-type bars on the market.
The bars are made up of 10g of non-GMO plant-based pea protein and are free of dairy, soy, gluten, palm oil, and artificial flavors. I’ve tried pea protein powder in the past and it wasn’t my cup of tea. Again, I prefer whey protein sources (concentrate, isolate, hydrolysate).
I was happy to see that the Evolve protein bars had some healthy ingredients in them and everything they include you can actually pronounce and are things you’ve heard of. Additionally, for those vegans out there, the Evolve protein bars are indeed vegan-friendly.
Using the Peanut butter bar as an example, here are the nutritional facts:
The bars were all soft and the nuts provided some nice texture. Overall though, it was the softness of the bar that actually surprised me. Normally these types of bars are on the hard side and when nuts are included, they resemble a rock. The Evolve protein bars, in my opinion, had the perfect texture for a bar. Did the bar fill me up? No, not really. Again, it’s not a large bar to begin with but I can certainly see it filling up someone smaller than myself or being a great snack item for in-between meals.
What Exactly Is in It?
Using the Almond Cherry as an example again, here are the ingredients: Pea Protein, Soluble Vegetable Fiber, Almond Butter, Almonds, Cane Sugar, Sugar, Tapioca Syrup, Cashews, Dates, Water, Dried Cherries, Natural Flavors, Dried Cranberries, Rice Starch, Cashew Butter, Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt, Puffed Amaranth, Quinoa Flakes, Chia Seeds, Flaxseeds, Malic Acid, Sunflower Oil.
I’d personally prefer something on the lower end of the sugar scale but I can deal with it as I’m a fan of dried fruit. I like and prefer healthy fats in my bars – I don’t need a ton but a little is always nice. The chia seeds, flaxseeds, cashew butter, almond butter, and almonds were a nice touch to the profile and flavor of the bars. Dried cherries and dried cranberries helped naturally sweeten things up which you could really taste when you take a bite (at least of the Almond Cherry bar). It’s hard to knock these bars for anything. It’s truthfully a really good tasting bar.
Would I Buy Them Again and/or Recommend Evolve Protein Bars?
As much as it surprises me to say this, YES. I’ll be honest, I never thought I’d be saying to you that I highly recommend a plant-based bar. But the Evolve protein bars have completely changed my opinion of plant-based products. Does this mean I’m going to be eliminating whey or animal products from my nutrition? Absolutely not. Not even close. However, I may venture off and try some more plant-based bars and see how they compare to the Evolve protein bars.
I love me some heavy whey protein bars to fill me up but when I need something lighter, I think these Evolve protein bars are going to do the job. The calories are reasonable for what it is, you’re getting 10g of protein (yes, plant-based protein), some healthy fats, and some natural sugars to help energize you.
One area where I feel this bar would do well is pre-workout. You could eat one of the Evolve protein bars an hour or so before your workout and be able to pull some extra energy out of the bar to put into your grueling workout.
Overall, I would highly recommend you give the Evolve protein bars a try. Even if you don’t like plant-based anything, I’m willing to bet if you try one of these bars it will change your mind – I know it did mine.