As a longtime fan of Bethenny Frankel (of Real Housewives of New York City and Skinnygirl Cocktails fame), I'm always interested in what she's coming up with next. You can image how excited I was when I found out that she's now got a line of Skinnygirl Tasty Nutrition Bars. Having been on the hunt for GF bars for quite some time for my celiac daughter (and then for myself after discovering my own gluten sensitivity), I'd grown frustrated and nearly gave up on finding ones that actually taste good and fill you up so that you're not trolling for another snack an hour (or less!) later. I've gone the raw bar route (yuck!) and tried those other bars that claim to be "kind" with nothing positive to report (so I didn't report!). While many bars claim to be low in fat and calories, they're often loaded with sugar, eliminating any real health benefits.
Skinnygirl Tasty Nutrition Bars range from 120-180 calories per bar, offering 6-10grams of protein, depending on the variety, as well as 5-7grams of fiber, again, depending on the variety. Now let's talk sugar and sodium content: My favorites, the Dark Chocolate Pretzel and Chocolate Peanut Butter with Sea Salt, come in at (8) and (11) grams of sugar, respectively. When you do a quick grams-to-teaspoons sugar conversion, that amounts to (2) and 2.75grams of sugar, respectively. According to the American Heart Association, (www.heart.org) women should be striving for no more than (6) grams of sugar per day (men can have 9 teaspoons--go figure). While most women I've talked to find this guideline nearly impossible to follow, we need to do the best we can to make informed decisions about our health. I'm not sure how much lower in sugar you can go and still come up with a great-tasting snack bar. Sodium content in these bars range from the ridiculously low (45g in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough) to the ridiculously high (280g in Chocolate Peanut Butter with Sea Salt).
Now that we've gotten the health stats out of the way, let's talk taste: To call these "granola bars" would not do them justice as, in my opinion, they are "better than your average bars." You know how sometimes snack bars will have a kind of waxy taste (yuck!)? Not these. The Dark Chocolate Pretzel variety combines chocolate, almonds and pretzels that make for a delicious combination. The Chocolate Peanut Butter had me at Sea Salt. Other flavors include Banana Oatmeal Dark Chocolate, Lemon Swirl, Dark Chocolate Almond with Coconut, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
I would be remiss if I did not point out that the Dark Chocolate Pretzel variety lists brown rice syrup as one of its ingredients. As celiacs know all too well, this can be derived from fermented brown rice (yay!) or barley (boo!). An e.mail from Skinnygirldaily.com told me that their manufacturer reports that the brown rice syrup used in these bars is gluten-free. (You can e.mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like. Response time was just one business day for me.)
If you're wondering why I titled this post Gluten-Free "Indulgence" the reason is two-fold: The great taste and the price. A box of (4) bars (that's right, just four) can be found at Target for about five bucks. Yikes. That's ten bucks a week if you want to enjoy one every day. Online, at www.skinnygirldaily.com, you can order a 12-ct box for $21.99 (again, yikes). How much one spends on (quality) gluten-free snacks is, of course, a personal decision. I'm choosing indulgence, my friends.
If you try the bars, let me know what you think. I'm thrilled that Skinnygirl has jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon and realizes the importance in identifying the source of the brown rice syrup. Here's to you, Bethenny--because it's a great time to be gluten-free!
(This post was written based on my own personal experience purchasing and trying Skinnygirl Tasty Nutrition Bars. This is not a sponsored blog post, meaning, I did not receive any compensation--either monetary or product--for writing it.)