Updated – New Formula & Packaging! I love the fruit and nut bar trend, particularly in the options sweetened only with fruit. But, some are so heavy in nuts that they can leave me with a bit of an imbalanced stomachache. Enter Thunderbird Real Food Bars.
When I first reviewed these bars a few years ago, they were known as Thunderbird Energetica Whole Food Bars, and were available in six flavors. The company has since reformulated, changed the packaging, upped the number of varieties to nine, and re-launched with a slightly modified name: Thunderbird Real Food Bars.
With such a large list of changes, we thought it was time to re-test Thunderbird Real Food Bars. The new array comes in two categories, high-energy Fruit & Nut (cream-colored packages) and lower sugar Nut & Seed (tan-colored packages), and the nutrition facts for each vary a fair bit, with some rich in natural protein and healthy fats, while others are heavier in fiber and fruit sugars. Nonetheless, you won’t find anything but fruits, nuts, seeds and/or spices in any of the Thunderbird Real Food Bars; they’re all free of added sugars, preservatives, and protein powders.
Tasting Notes for Fruit & Nut Thunderbird Real Food Bars
This line up of bars is perfect for those who need an extra boost of all natural energy.
Cashew + Fig + Carrot
Soft, sweet, and chewy, just like the center of a fig bar. The carrot isn’t as ever-present as what I remember in the prior formula (I wouldn’t know the bar had carrot if it wasn’t in the title and ingredients), but the spice offers wonderful warmth and is a slightly bold accent to this wonderful figgy delight. The texture has just a few nut chunks and lots of those little popping fig seeds.
Cacao + Hemp + Walnut
Tony quite liked this flavor. I thought it was good, but wasn’t overtly “chocolate”, as one might expect. The cacao is muted with the dates taking center stage for a tasty bar that is sweet, but not overly so.
Almond + Apricot + Vanilla
Chewy, sweet apricot goodness only a little better, with random chunks of almonds, a slightly creamy finish and wonderful warm vanilla notes. Obviously, I really enjoyed this one.
Lemon + Cashew + Apricot
Sticky chewy with some big chunks of apricot and lots of stone fruity flavor. The lemon just brightens the sweet backdrop without overwhelming. The cashews are mild, pleasant and present themselves with just a few little nut chunks.
Pineapple + Mango + Papaya
I wasn’t completely sure how I feel about this flavor; it’s good, but a little odd. The buckwheat groats offer a somewhat strange crunchy texture, like random firm bits among a purely chewy fruit backdrop. And while I like prunes, and the nutrition that they provide, they drown the Hawaiian vibe I was expecting from the name. So pretty good overall, but different.
Cherry + Walnut + Cinnamon
Mmm, the unique taste of this bar is easily one of my favorites. Lightly sweet, savory, and almost buttery with just the right hints of salt and spice. A very cohesive blend with little crunchy bites of buckwheat and walnuts throughout, that don’t let the cherries (which I often find too strong in bars) take charge. I also love that it contains sweet potato!
Tasting Notes for Nut & Seed Thunderbird Real Food Bars
These Nut & Seed bars are more for sustained energy and perfect if you’re watching your sugar intake.
Hazelnut + Coffee + Maca
I’m really not a coffee fan, but somehow, this delightful blend won me over. The texture was softer and much less chewy than some of the fruit bars, and the flavor was warm and comforting with the perfect amount of sweetness and a nice cohesive taste. The only thing I could have done without, since I’m not a java lover, is the occasional coffee bean crunch. Nonetheless, this was one of my favorites.
Pecans + Goji + Pistachios
The backdrop of this variety has a unique, lightly salty, just sweet enough, somewhat buttery, flavor that I found rather addictive. The only thing I didn’t like were the nearly whole almond chunks and goji berries. Almonds are not in the name yet were so ever-present – a little bit deceiving I thought. And when I hit a whole tangy goji berry, the tartness was a bit off-putting and didn’t meld with the other flavors. That said, the base of the bar was so delicious! Tony didn’t like this one, but take out the big chunks and I’m betting we would both be happy campers.
Hemp + Sunflower + Pumpkin Seed
Loved the low sugars and I think this bar would be perfect for sustained energy. That said, the seedy flavor was a little too strong for my tastes. If you’re a fan of seeds (which can be a little bitter when gathered or ground), then this could be perfect for you.
The Facts on Thunderbird Real Food Bars
Certifications: Thunderbird Real Food Bars are Certified Gluten-Free, Certified Paleo, and Non-GMO Verified.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Thunderbird Real Food Bars are dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, vegetarian, and paleo. Nonetheless, check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.
For More Product Information: Visit the Thunderbird website at www.thunderbirdbar.com.
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What Others Are Saying ...
Broad mix of varieties
Lighter than your average fruit and nut bars, these pack in a wallop of flavor from dried fruits (including apricots!) and organic spices, and some offer interest with crunchy buckwheat groats. The broad mix of varieties offers something for everyone, but my personal favorites were the Cherry-Walnut, Cashew-Fig, Almond-Apricot, and Hazelnut-Coffee.