Former professional Ironman triathlete, Brendan Brazier, doesn’t mess around when it comes to making functional food. Since launching his plant-based company, Vega, so many years ago, he has dramatically influenced the world of vegan nutrition. His plight began with a nutritional shake (now known as Vega One), but his product line now includes other protein and smoothie blends, plus this all-inclusive line of Vega Bars.
Covering three common food-on-the-go needs, the Vega Bars include Snack (the lightest of the three with simple, whole food ingredients), One (a hefty meal bar packed with protein, whole food ingredients, and supplements), and Sport Protein (also substantial, but protein focused). We sampled select flavors of each variety…
Vega Bars: Snack
This was our favorite type of the Vega Bars. Nuts, seeds, and brown rice crisps are bound into a dense and filling bar with organic tapioca syrup and agave syrup. Vega Snack Bars are half dipped in chocolate for a thin, but delicious icing on this nutritious and filling treat. There is no added protein powder or any type of fortification – just pure whole food ingredients – and the sugars are actually quite modest for the satisfaction (just 8 grams in each generously sized bar.
I adored the Dark Chocolate Mixed Nuts & Sea Salt, but Tony reached first for the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, which was also quite scrumptious. The Dark Chocolate just had more of an intense grown-up flavor with a generous base of almonds and cashews. The Peanut Butter Cup has a quadruple dose of the legume – organic peanuts, organic peanut butter, organic peanut flour, and organic peanut extract – definitely a pure peanut lover’s delight!
Vega Bars: One
Also known as their “all-in-one meal bars” Vega One clocks in at 270 calories with 12 grams of protein. Fortunately, it really does satisfy. One bar keeps me fueled for over three hours, and can easily stand-in as breakfast when needed. It’s a bit higher in sugars than I like to eat regularly in the morning, but on occasion, it’s justifiable. Plus, they pack so much goodness in there! Each bar has 1 serving of greens, the equivalent protein to 2.2 eggs, 3 grams of fiber, 1 billion probiotics, 1 gram of omega 3’s (the same as 2 servings of salmon), 1.4 cups of antioxidants, and 25 vitamins and minerals!
The Vega One Bars come in several flavors, but I’ve only sampled the Chocolate Coconut Cashew to date. It has a thick chocolaty nougat-like layer over a thinner chewy crisp bottom that is surprisingly greenish (hemp protein perhaps?), all coated in a perfect, thin chocolate shell. It’s definitely sweet, with a candy bar vibe, and no notable coconut shreds. The powdery texture in the nougat is the only tell-tale sign that this is a nutrition protein bar.
Vega Bars: Sport Protein
Falling in between the Snack and One Vega Bars for calories (approximately 260 per bar), but eclipsing both in protein (around 15 grams per bar), the Vega Sport Protein is a “complete protein blend” combined with a smattering of whole food ingredients. These Vega Bars are also a bit higher in sugars than I like to regularly consume, but for fitness fuel, they are spot on.
We sampled the Chocolate Coconut first, which has a very nice, soft, and chocolaty center that is notably rich in protein (a bit “powdery”). Sporadic bits of coconut reminded me of the flavor without overwhelming while the chocolate rush makes it a bit dessert like.
Next up was the Chocolate Peanut Butter, which turned out to be my favorite. The chewier center mitigated the powdery texture and provided a nice base for the sweet peanut butter flavor and chunks of peanuts and crispies scattered throughout. The thin outer coating of chocolate perfected it.
I expected to love the Chocolate Mint, but the center was back on the soft and powdery side and the peppermint extract was quite strong, overpowering the lighter chocolate center.
Certifications: Vega Bars are labeled as “plant-based” (vegan), gluten-free, and non-GMO, and they use many organic ingredients, but we did not note any certifications.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Vega Bars are dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Nonetheless, verify on the label and check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes, ingredients, and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.
For More Product Information: Visit the Vega website at www.myvega.com