Allow me to introduce the ALOHA Protein Bar Lineup, ordered from my most favorite flavors to my least:
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
Okay. For anyone who has had the soul-crushing experience of biting into the offensively-flavored cardboard that is the common protein bar (seriously…on what world will that ever be anything remotely close to “birthday cake”? Looking at you, Quest.), it’s entirely fair if you’re approaching this review with a healthy amount of skepticism. However, ALOHA’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip is the real, all-natural deal.
I was genuinely surprised that this not only tasted like a snack I’d want to eat, but also felt satisfyingly indulgent — like chewing on a soft-baked cookie or brownie, rather than the chalky, gritty, power-bar texture we all know and dread. This bar was such a departure from the norm, and it deserves to be in a league of its own.
Sure, it’s incredibly healthy, but perhaps for the first time in protein-bar history, that won’t be why you want to eat it. It just tastes great, and that’s more than enough to keep me hooked. Light, punchy, salty peanut butter, rolled in rich, smooth chocolate — You just can’t go wrong with a classic combination like that.
This one was another very strong contender for top spot in the lunchbox. In fact, one of my main takeaways from this experience is that ALOHA really knows how to capture the velvety, melty, silkiness of milk chocolate — even though the products are lactose free. The Chocolate Mint bar sets the stage for this milk-free magic perfectly, allowing ALOHA’s flavor finesse to shine.
The mint and chocolate are perfectly balanced, and again, the texture is rich and soft, giving the overall effect of a Thin-Mint-brownie-hybrid. It’s a wonderful, light-but-instantly-familiar flavor that would make any fan of the bar’s popular cookie counterpart do a doubletake.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough + Chocolate Fudge Brownie
While these flavors tasted good, they lacked some of the complexity that made my previous picks great. To be fair, I’ve never had a good experience with a cookie-dough flavored protein snack, so ALOHA’s take on the flavor greatly surpassed my expectations. It’s a nice, filling, lightly-sweet snack to curb those sugar cravings; however, I can’t say that it tastes very much like cookie dough.
As a person suffering from a self-diagnosed sweet-tooth, I’m admittedly tougher on anything claiming to rival of one of dessert’s greatest hits. While I enjoyed the texture of ALOHA’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie bar, the flavor itself fell a little flat — and left me wanting…well…an actual chocolate fudge brownie. I blame my personal brownie-bias, though. If you bite into this bar expecting something less rich, less fudge-like, and more along the lines of milk chocolate malt, then this bar is sure to satisfy.
Vanilla Almond Crunch + Caramel Sea Salt
This…this is where it gets a little iffy. While these two flavors definitely tasted healthy, I can’t say that these were flavors I’d try again. As I mentioned, I have a sweet tooth, and when venturing into the land of low-sugar, these two bars are not for the fainthearted or those in the initial stages of a reduced-sugar diet.
While I’m not a fitness or nutrition expert, I have trained with a few. Based on my own sports and fitness training, I can attest to the fact that your initial response to these two flavors will vary depending on where you’re at in terms of a low-to-no-sugar diet — and how long you’ve been there. Once you’ve grown accustomed to a low-sugar diet, your body starts to crave sweets, less.
Gradually, your palette adapts and begins to pick up the natural sweetness of ingredients themselves, rather than relying on the added sugars and artificial sweeteners we’re used to tasting. Sodas, sweetened teas, candy, etc. become almost overwhelming, while the natural sugars in things like almond milk, tapioca, and even certain types of rice becomes the new, sweet normal. These two bars are unmistakably made for those who have found that new, sweet normal.
To others, myself included, the salt in these snacks comes through more heavily, pushing the flavor profile toward something almost savory. Which, admittedly, comes as a shock when you’re searching for flavors like classic vanilla and caramel.