Product Review and Another Contest!: Think Thin

After the Real World, Real Food challenge, I discovered that I can do a pretty decent job getting the good, filling food without the need for meat-based meals. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not a vegan. I am not even contemplating going vegetarian! I like meat too much (as selfish as that may sound to you veg-heads out there) and, with triathlon training, I know that my body craves meat (especially of the beef variety). I know that my body needs the protein (ya know, in meat) to repair the damage that I will soon be unloading onto my soon-to-be-rippled muscles.

But, sure. I know. That protein can be found elsewhere. Like in complex pairings of foods. Peanut butter and bread = complete protein. OH, right, I can’t eat normal bread and gluten free bread tastes like cat food. OK, beans then. Beans are good. And luckily, I only share my bed with a cat so she doesn’t complain about any noxious fumes. I’m being facetious, of course. I know that I need to take hold of the reigns and focus on my nutrition, plan out my meals, etc… because – being gluten-free – a little slump can make a huge difference. The biggest, glaring problem arises on days when I have a lot to do. I wake up and go for a swim, head to work and eat my oats. But, especially on days like today when I didn’t have leftovers in hand, I end up skipping lunch (or eating really, really late; like 4pm) and go through through the afternoon in a fog.

Thanks to Thin Products, I’ve had the opportunity to try out a variety of the ThinkThin bars. These are quite a bit different than my ol’ standby (LARABAR). I wouldn’t necessarily even put them in the same category. But, don’t be disuaded. These bars are chock full of protein and are actually quite satisfying and good-for-you. There is also a “crunch” bar too, that satisfies my “oh-I-miss-granola-bars” phase. The Crunch bars are relatively new, and the first thing they reminded me of was the Nature Valley Nut Crunch bars that I’m super hesitant to eat (because some of their boxes are labeled gluten free and others aren’t). However, the ThinkThin bars go two steps further: they are bigger and they pack more fiber and protein than the NV alternative. Plus, you can get them covered in chocolate which, let’s be real here… is awesome.

So, ok. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: “This is a little away-from-the-path of that Real Food lifestyle.” First, it’s processed. Ok. Then, it’s packaged. But what convenient snack food isn’t? And, it’s totally in the realm of my Real World lifestyle, because the bars are a) vegetarian, b) natural, c) gluten-free, and d) satisfying. Plus, the ThinkThin bars are ranked #1 as a tool for natural weight management. These bars come in regular size (~250 calories and 15-20g protein) or “bites” size, with 100 calories and 5g of protein. So, depending on what kind of portion control you’re looking for, ThinkThin has you covered.

I stashed my secret supply of ThinkThin bars in my desk drawer, and did a good job of only eating one per day around mid-morning (although some days I really had to resist eating more than one, because the sweet tooth would strike around 430pm!). Usually, I eat breakfast at 8, but I end up so hungry by 11 that I eat my lunch early and want to take a nap or grab a candy bar around 2pm. These bars were great at keeping my appetite at bay, as I would still eat breakfast around 8, but then have a bar around 1030, and postpone eating lunch until 1pm. I could usually make it the rest of the day before going home, grabbing a light snack (like a banana or piece of cheese) and heading out for a workout.

The flavors are wide-ranging and awesome. White chocolate chip, tangerine creamsicle, even chocolate covered strawberries (deeeelish!).

I really like the crunch bars, but my favorite of all was the Chunky Peanut Butter protein bar. I don’t know what it is, but I could literally sit with a spoon and a jar of peanut butter and eat the whole thing in one sitting. The bars are dipped in a coating, and when I bite into them its like eating a Milky Way candy bar (unless, of course, its a Crunch bar). Only the flavors are different than a Milky Way. More variety… it’s great!

I did have a least-fave though, and I gotta say the Lemon Cream Pie was a little not-my-style. It’s weird; I love lemons. In fact, I’m using four of my five lemons from the RWRF Challenge to make lemon bars. But for some reason, making it into a protein bar just didn’t do it for me. But, I am just one (wo)man, and who knows? Maybe my taste buds were off that day. To each there own (or as Ron Burgundy would say: “Agree to disagree”).

Luckily, you can be the judge yourself. I’ve got yet ANOTHER contest for you, fair readers.Β  What does it entail? Well, three lucky winners will receive a special package from the great folks at ThinkThin.

What do you have to do? I want to hear about your take on the macronutrient protein and how it has or has not influenced your eating habits. Do you drink protein shakes? Are you vegan and eat a lot of soy? Do you think protein is a hoax put on by the nutritional giants at GNC? Be brutally honest. Or, you can just tell me what your favorite protein-laden food is. By commenting below, you’ll get your name entered into the drawing. As usual, you can add another entry by tweeting about this (make sure to include my handle so I know [@megankillian}).

I’ll pick winners at random on Dec 30th, just in time for the New Year Celebration!

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About megankillian

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. I love biomechanics!

Posted on December 22, 2010, in chocolate, Food, gluten-free. Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. I love those chocolate p-nut butter ones. LIke eating a snickers!

  2. I think that protein is a myth that the liberal media created, along with global warming, evolution, and gravity. If I believed in protein, which I don’t, I would say cottage cheese is one of my favorites.
    -EC

  3. I totally have to answer this one!! Especially because I am mainly vegan and I always am asked what I eat for protein. I’ve noticed that when I’m active the biggest different in my nutritional needs are in protein – even when I eat beans (or energy bars) all the time its not enough! For me I love nuts – and my favorite is making homemade energy bars – pretty much by grinding up almonds, cashews, dates, and cocoa in a food processor. They are soo delicious and actually fill me up! πŸ™‚

  4. Yay! I actually really like these bars. I’m not vegetarian, but I hardly eat meat (unless it is ethically raised). I get a lot of protein from beans, eggs, and grains. The hubs has to put up with my noxious fumes. He is stuck with me. haha

    I’m also gluten intolerant, and let me say, there are many times that I have had to choose between starving, meat, or gluten. Meat usually wins out.

  5. Quinoa is my favorite protein food!

  6. I also tweeted this post @kovasp

  7. Ahh-the protein debate. I strive for a macronutrient balance of 40C 30F and 30P and always try to balance my protiens and carbs. I also try to eat as clean as I can.
    I am currently reading some sports based nutritional books and this may change in the near future….meaning the %’s but, that is another story all together!

    Do you drink protein shakes? Yes, as a quick postwork refuel or add some stuff and make it a meal. It is more a matter of being easy for me than anything else.

    Are you vegan and eat a lot of soy? No, I am not vegan and I actually try to avoid soy.

    Do you think protein is a hoax put on by the nutritional giants at GNC? No, not really.
    I think that protein supplementation can play an important role in our diets but I think it is also possible to get it from natural food sources as well.

  8. I do want to ask though Megan, what are the sugars on these bars? the * on the label makes me think there is maybe some artif sugars??

  9. I’v done it all. I went completely vegan for almost a year after my wreck in 2008, so there was a block of light firm tofu at every meal(20g pro); then just “healthy” food, nothing off limits, but that gave me too much wriggle room, and I ended up eating more crap than good food. Then to veggies and only whey, soy and fish, with shakes post training sessions. And now, and feeling the best I have, I’m eating gluten free, almost completely veggies, with one serving a week of chicken, lean red meat(usually lamb), fish, and kifer and greek yogurt for my dairy. Eating meat allows me to get the iron I need, and the protein, while keeping away that yearning for meat that inevitably comes after eating nothing but plants for a few months. For me, just trying to stay lean and recover for the next workout, any kind of protein and carb sources(but mainly fruit) work, at a 1:2(25:50) -1:4 ratio depending on where I am in training

  10. I think that the protein thing is definitely hyped up. Particularly meat based needs. We by NO means need meat daily much less w/ every meal like many americans serve it.

    Like Joshua I’ve done the vegan thing even raw vegan. Did I feel good? YES! and I recovered amazingly. I was less sore after hard efforts and felt I bounced back more quickly. BUT while I was doing this I was also eating nothing buy WHOLE foods to include NO gluten. So it could be argued that it was many different things not just my abstinence from meat/animal products.

    Went back to meat at the recommendation of a doc (a whole post in itself) Ate a lot of it. Didn’t feel good physically or mentally… Now I’m open w/ what I eat. I put limits only on sweets/packaged stuff… which I don’t really crave that much anyway bc I don’t eat it much. (I had a bite of a think thin bar and about had to spit it out bc it was just too sweet for me.. sorry… like you said.. to each his own!)

    I think we def need protein.. but not in the large quantities that are currently recommended. I listen to my body. In heavy training if I get that “I could sit down and eat a whole chicken” feeling I know that something is awry in my diet. Do I eat a whole chicken.. uh, no, but if i want chicken/fish/beef I’ll eat it.

    I don’t avoid soy, but I don’t over use it. I occasionally have tofu or drink soy milk. I eat smoothies daily, but don’t put protein powder in them regularly. that happens more when I’m training a lot (hemp or pea and/or some yogurt)and eggs are my go to animal protein! (not in my smoothie. sometimes they find their way into my oatmeal though)

    this is getting a bit ridiculous (in length).. sorry. You hit a nerve w/ the Q! πŸ™‚

  11. Hmmm… that’s weird… I don’t see any anti-Canadian sentiments on this giveaway. Could it be? Could I actually be allowed to enter?!?

  12. My Dad-who is a recovering heart patient- swears by these bars. He grabs one for lunch regularly! This is quite a change from the snickers bar that he use to grab!!!

  13. My eating habits have definitely been influenced by the Think Products and make me ‘think’ about what I am eating. All I know is that I do not feel guilty after eating a Think Thin bar like I do after eating a high calorie, high fat, high sugar filled candy bar.

  14. Protein makes things filling. And I’ll resist saying that’s what she said. πŸ™‚

    But really: I’m kind of an unapologetic carnivore. Not in the sense that I HAVEEEEE TO HAVE MEEATTTT (because i don’t!)…but in that I like certain meats and hate that among athletes its often something that people look down on. I like alternative protein sources too (nuts. i always have various seed butters on hand among other things), but given the choice between eating some grass fed steak or something from processed soy? If I’m looking for something filling, the steak wins everytime. No guilt there.

  15. Whenever I tell people my favorite protein source is nuts and sausage, they look at me funny – I’m not sure why.

  16. I was a vegetarian for 3-years. The morning after IMCdA the ONLY things I wanted to eat were Egg McMuffins & Whoppers. Seriously, my body was craving the β€œjunkiest” of all junk food and I jumped back onto the meat-express that day.

    My biggest issue with being a vegetarian while training is I can only eat so much tofu/beans before I want to scream so I’m (trying) to educate myself about nutrition so I can find other options for fuel.

    Happy New Years!!

    Ron

  17. Dumb question – are these just good for ‘snacks’ or can you use these on hiking/cross-country ski trips? I’d like a variation of bars, if possible.

    Thanks!

    • That’s not a dumb question at all! I take them camping with me (along with Larabars and trail mix). The wrappers are the only issue, really- they are a great portable protein πŸ™‚

  18. Protein seems to work for me. I like protein shakes after long runs and rides. I find I am less hungry later in the day if I get some protein.

    I saw these bars at Whole Foods last night – they look good!

    I tweeted!!

  19. Yup, I’ve just started drinking protein shakes as a quick, convenient post-workout recovery meal. Mostly, though, I prefer real foods. πŸ™‚

  20. I make little effort to focus on protein (or any of the macronutrients) but when I track what I eat now and then, I’m always on target with recommendations for endurance athletes. I do have a personal policy of not eating anything that still resembles its animal – shrimp, crab, lobster, ribs, fried chicken etc. That typically leaves me with deli ham and turkey as my only meat protein πŸ™‚

  21. Macronutrient what? Oh jeez. I think my biggest protein-laden food is….steak. Hmm. Maybe I should rethink this.

    In all honesty I am always up for finding great snack bars that have a good carb/protein mix.

    If anything I probably eat too much protein (and fat…ummmm) but carb-only bars are useless in terms of providing lasting energy so I’d be happy to try these!

  22. Most of my protein-laden foods are meats, followed in a close second by microwave Indian dishes I made sometimes that are full of kidney beans or chickpeas.

    Last-minute entry into the contest! Hope that makes the difference!

  23. Meat, meat, meat, meat. My favorite protein is meat. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    Yeah, I don’t think I could ever go the veggie route – I would die without my meat πŸ™‚ Happily, we have been paying much more attention about where our meat comes from. Mostly what I’m eating is meat I’ve shot myself or I know the people who have killed it.

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