Product Review: LUNA Protein Bar (and GIVEAWAY!)

It’s interesting when you take a sabbatical from anything. For me, this nine-month sabbatical from my blog started with exhaustion and health issues, then went to that Point-Of-View crisis with “what do I REALLY want this blog to be about????!!!!”  Finally, it crossed into realm of not knowing how to start up again. I’ve written a new blog post in my head every day for the last 9 months, but I either wasn’t ready to “tell THAT story,” or was still wrestling with my point of view.

Recently it occurred to me that we’ve entered our fourth year gluten-free and with Celiac Awareness day, I figured now is the perfect time to dive back in. How about a product review on something we buy often and a giveaway!

LUNA bars- I’m a protein bar, meal bar gal. When I was pregnant with my kids, they kept me sane. When we are darting off in the morning, late for school, I love having a bar to grab if my blood sugar is too low. I’m not much of a snacker, but when I am, I tend to go for the sweets, so a sweet tasting protein bar is a win-win for me. I’m eating protein for my body; I’m getting something sweet for that psychological need.

One of my favorite brands before I went gluten-free four-years ago was LUNA. I still remember the taste of their Lemon Zest Bar. Ooooh, that white coating with the lemon zing. Yum! I loved the Smores as well. Of course when King Soopers had the 10 for $10, i grabbed a several boxes of them. LUNA Bars were definitely one of my favorite treats. When I went gluten-free, I was stuck with protein bars that only medical professionals could buy because of the high vitamin content; the only one I could stomach was a chocolate mint.

So, in 2011 when LUNA changed their protein Bars to a gluten-free product, I was ecstatic. Where I live in New Mexico, we are two to three months/years behind the rest of the country. Things come in slow, so I had to wait a few months before I had the chance to try the bars, but as soon as I saw them, I bought one of each flavor. LUNA Protein Bars come in 5 flavors–Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Cookie Dough, Chocolate Cherry Almond, Mint Chocolate Chip. YES, I had to do a double check the label on the “cookie dough” flavor, but yes, it’s gluten free!

The Chocolate Peanut butter reminds me of a rich peanut butter fudge enrobed in chocolate. I’d say it’s one of their more rich and indulgent flavors. The Chocolate Bar is chocolate all the way and  definitely will give a chocolate fix in the afternoon. The Cookie Dough is a fun escape from the gluten-free mindset. It’s not wet like cookie dough, (and luckily you don’t have the raw egg issue either), but it’s got that fun cookie dough taste, and a thick chewy texture that is reminiscent of cookie dough. Before I opened the packaging, I pleaded with the bar that it would somehow really taste like cookie dough, and that first bite shocked my taste buds and my brain. “I’m eating cookie dough!”

Chocolate Cherries for a Lucky Gal

I’m a Chocolate Cherry covered kinda gal too. Chocolate and cherries, those will win me over. It’s not quite like chocolate covered cherries, but it’s an indulgent treat with a hint of marzipan flavor (tho less sweet and sticky) with cherries rolled in and coated in chocolate. It’s one of those divine flavor combinations. Unfortunately, this flavor has been very difficult to find in New Mexico. Our stores are only carrying the Mint, the Cookie Dough, and sometimes the Peanut Butter. However, every once in a while, I get to enjoy the Chocolate Cherry Almond. While I’m happy to share any of the other flavors with my family, if I end up with a Chocolate Cherry Almond bar, It’s mine! I hide it. I hoard it. Don’t touch my Chocolate Cherry Almond Protein bar!

And then, you have Mint Chocolate Chip. It might be the closest thing a person eating gluten-free can get to a Girl Scout Mint thin that you can buy, if you aren’t in the mood to bake. And you can get that taste year round! You won’t get the addictive crunch (which is good right, because the crunch is part of the addiction, so it’s a calorie saver), but you get that chocolate-cookie-mint taste that helps your mind escape back to pre-gluten free indulgence of those delightful cookies. I did accidentally squish one once….and it tasted even more like a Thin-Mint. So you could try that if you really want a Thin-Mint fix.

The bars contain whey and soy proteins. They seem to have struck a good balance between the two proteins. I tend to have tummy trouble with too much whey or soy protein. And I’m extremely grateful they use ONLY NON-GMO ingredients. The Parent company is CLIFF, and they were also a favorite of mine before I went gluten-free because they source quality ingredients, and they have fun unique flavors like Carrot Cake for protein bars. My kids love the CLIFF fruit ropes and a few other goodies that are gluten-free. I usually try to steer away from Soy Protein because most soy is GMO, so I’m thrilled that LUNA Protein Bars don’t use GMO soy. LUNA has a great FAQ on their site which explains more about these bars, including allergy info, quality, ingredients, etc.

Beautifully packaged treat from Luna

Last year, I received a surprise package on Sept 13, with three LUNA Protein Bars in it. On the Package, it said, “Happy Celiac Awareness Day!” That was a really fun moment to help pause a crazy day. With all the companies jumping on the “gluten-free trend” without understanding why gluten-free needs to mean gluten-free,  I greatly appreciate that LUNA is stepping to the forefront with Celiac Awareness and promoting a product they have designed that tastes good, has nutritional benefits, and helps spread Celiac Awareness because it can be a very devastating disease when it goes undiagnosed. So, when they sent me the “Happy Celiac Awareness Day” box in August this year, with a note that offered to contact them if we were interested in doing a review or giveaway for September 13, I did. This is a product I buy often, so I was excited to be able to do a review with a giveaway attached.

The bars themselves are fairly small. They are not made to be a meal replacement like other brands are. They are a tad smaller than some of the other protein bars out there. The calories are 170, but the 12 grams of protein are a great way to help have a snack that will sustain you. You don’t want to grab one of these bars when you are starving though. It’s better as a snack before your are starving….once you hit the starving mode, you’ll want two or three. (Yeah, I’ve had two or three). That’s probably fine if you are using it for a meal replacement (just remember these are protein bars -don’t want too much whey- and they also have vitamins as well). However, if you don’t want to have excessive calories, I’d suggest timing your snack before being super hungry.

I’ve seen some stores carry them for $1.19 to $1.69. For the size, I find that upper price frustrating, but that’s not LUNA’s price, it’s the stores. I do my best to grab them on either 10 for $10 sales or at the $1.19 price point. Albertsons’ seems to sell them for around the $1.19. They seem most expensive at Sunflower Market and Target, if I remember. (I don’t shop Whole Foods, so I can’t say what they cost there.) As I said before, I do have a tough time finding all five flavors in New Mexico. However, Amazon carries them for various prices, includes them in the Subscribe and Save. A few of the flavors are actually a little higher price on Amazon than I like to pay, but I can’t find the Chocolate Cherry anywhere, so I consider it an option, especially since I have Prime and don’t pay shipping. While I was looking up a few things about the bars, I also discovered LUNA has an online store as well, so you can purchase directly from their parent company Cliff. They are 14.95, which makes the bars come out to $1.24 before shipping. One of my biggest disappointments is that the stores don’t carry all the flavors. So, I’ll be bugging my stores a bit more for some of the other flavors and keeping an eye out for those 10 for $10 sale, which I think is the best price for their size.

Our family enjoys them a great deal. I do give them to my children, especially my son because it’s difficult to get him to eat and the protein is helpful. LUNA’s official statement is that the bars are more for adults, but both my kids also are deficient in some vitamins, so I’m personally comfortable with the ratios of vitamins, protein and minerals for them. We also don’t have them every day- they are a treat. My children both LOVE the Mint Chocolate Chip and the Cookie Dough.

Here, I took a picture of the Cookie Dough Protein bar. You can see the texture looks like cookie dough a bit. They are small, but tasty. If I could change two things about these bars, I’d make them bigger and have more flavors. I like them that much, I want just one or two more bites in the bar. And Luna has such amazing flavor profiles in their regular bars, I’d love to see them add some of those or expand more amazing combinations into the LUNA Protein Bar line- especially for those of us who are limited in our flavor and company choices.

Cookie Dough LUNA Bar- YUM

I hope that LUNA will consider adding more flavors, especially a Chocolate Coconut- reminiscent of a mounds bar, a Lemon Meringue Pie. and maybe something akin to Snickers Bars too since Snickers adds barley to their caramel. I would definitely enjoy those flavor escapes.

To celebrate Celiac Awareness Day and my return to blogging, Luna is graciously giving away a box of bars to two of my readers. Please read below for details. Since September 13 is Celiac Awareness day, I also thought I’d mention that LUNA is hosting a gluten free webcast with LUNA’s in–house nutritionist Tara DelloIacono Thies, and Delight Gluten Free magazine’s executive editor, Vanessa Maltin Weisbrod on Tuesday, 9/18 at 9:30 am PST – it will be all about living a gluten free lifestyle and nutrition tips. If we are going to inform and educate people about celiac, they will need a starting place if gluten-free becomes their life too! You or your friends you’ve make aware can RSVP to LUNAWebcast@accesspr.com.

Thank you as always for reading. I appreciate you greatly, and thank you to those who have followed my blog and been patient while I’ve been away.

How to enter
LUNA is giving away a full box of bars to two different people.
required entry:: leave a comment below telling me how long you’ve been gluten-free and what LUNA Protein Bar flavor you’d like to try or that’s your favorite.
optional second (appreciated) entry:Tweet this giveaway with my Twitter name @GFAdvocate, then add a comment that you did (comment must be added to qualify the tweet)
Optional third entry: Share the giveaway (marked public) on Facebook, come back and add a comment on this blog that you did to qualify the share.
Bonus entry: Share what you are doing to help spread Celiac Awareness in the comments below. Legitimate links to blog sites welcome. (I’ll figure how to get Comment Luv enabled soon, I hope).

The giveaway will close Sunday Sept 16 at 11:59 MST. I will email and announce the winners on Monday using a randomizer picker. Each winner will be emailed on Monday with a request for their flavor and their shipping information. I will use a random generator to pick the winner. There will be two separate winners. The winner will have until Wed the 19th to send me their information or I will email a new winner on Thursday and the prize for the original winner will be forfeit. Neither I nor LUNA are responsible for issues with shipping.

Disclaimer LUNA did provide me with samples and is sponsoring this giveaway. They also provided me with some photos for the post. However, I purchase LUNA bars often and am honored they invited me host a giveaway for my readers. Thank you for reading, and good luck!

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