Paleo diets have become an oft talked about dietary strategy by Crossfitters, combat athletes and others focused on eating in a way that is healthy and supports the high energy needs of their training. These diets are especially helpful for athletes that compete in sports with weight classes as the participants tend to lean out and maintain or improve their performance. An excellent primer for Paleolithic diets can be found at Archevore. A detailed description of these dietary strategies is beyond the scope of the article but I will give you a few details to provide context for the review of the AMRAP Refuel Bars. (For the non-CFers, AMRAP usually means As Many Reps As Possible is a common theme in their workouts)
These are the first 2 steps that I took when I’ve followed a paleo-esque diet in the past:
Step 1: Eliminate added sugar, high fructose corn syrup and don’t drink your calories. This is a huge step towards making this lifestyle change work. While it’s straight forward and simple this can be a little rough for people to implement.
Step 2: No more grains. That means no bread or pasta. If it has flour in it, stop eating it. Once you’ve done this you’re about 80% of the way to your goal and eating better than 95% of the people you see everyday. You’re also going to be skipping about 90% of the aisles in the grocery store.
Now that you’ve seen the two main tenets of Paleo eating you have realized that there are going to be some challenges while traveling and when you didn’t have time to pack your lunch. This niche market is rapidly expanding and one of the companies in that niche is AMRAP. AMRAP was kind enough to send me box of their product to try it out and see what I thought.
The AMRAP Refuel bar is made of raw almonds, egg whites, raw sesame seeds, raw honey, cinnamon, some sea salt and is 100% Paleo. Each bar has 300 calories, 14 grams of protein and 22 grams of carbs (2g of fiber). The bars are individually wrapped and sold in boxes of 8 which do not require refrigeration. The bars are available directly from AMRAP, from Amazon, and from Crossfit gyms that have a wholesale account. The bars have 189 customer reviews with an average of 5 stars on Amazon.
For the taste test I had my family try them. My wife, who hates all protein supplements, thought it was OK at first but didn’t like the aftertaste or texture. My 6 year old daughter said “it wasn’t that good” but ate almost half of the box as snacks after school and my 2 year said “yummy” after one bite but didn’t want anymore. My own impression is that it’s much better than the other meal-replacement bars that I’ve had. There is a mix of sweet and salty that I liked a lot but for some the texture may be off-putting. Lilly and I polished off the box of 8 in less than a week.
This is probably the most unprocessed meal-replacement/snack bar that I’ve ever eaten and definitely the only one that I’ve eaten that is Paleo compliant. It tastes better than most of the other bars I’ve eaten and it is perfect for your backpack or gym bag. If I was at a gym that carried them individually I’d probably buy them fairly often after training but they are a little too expensive for me to keep around the house, $23.95 for 8 bars, for a snack. They’d also be a reasonable option for traveling, tournaments and other places where the food choices are limited and already expensive. The bars are available directly from AMRAP and Amazon.