This is a sponsored post on behalf of Balance Bar and Walmart.

Wildland Firefighting requires energy

My husband being interviewed by KIRO 7 (he’s the one in the red hat)

I’ve been buying Balance Bars® for my husband for some time now. He’s a wildland firefighter in addition to his regular fire fighter job, so in the summer he needs to be ready to go in an instant. While he’s on the fire line, he needs quick, protein packed snacks, that can withstand the rigors of the hot temperatures he’s subjected to. That’s where Balance Bars came in handy.

He’s been happy with the Balance Bare Bars I’ve been buying him, but when I went to restock his supply for this summer, I got the sad news that they’ve been discontinued! Darn it! My husband does not like change, at all, and I hate trying to find new foods he’ll eat, but I had no choice. It was time to find him a replacement, so I went online to Walmart.com where I’d last purchased them to see what might be similar that is readily available.

I wasn’t long on the site before I realized that Balance Bars are available in several different varieties beyond flavors. They currently produce three lines – Balance Bar Dark, Original, and Gold – but I had not idea what the differences were so I could choose the right one.

Balance Bars – What’s the Difference Between Dark, Original, and Gold?

Figuring out what the difference between the three lines wasn’t easy; what was is what they all have in common. All of them have between 13-15g of protein which is about 30% of the recommended daily amount with calories ranging from 180-210 per bar. They all have added vitamins and minerals, antioxidants (including vitamins A, C, and E), and no trans fats.

After combing through the Walmart site I still wasn’t sure what the differences are between the lines, so I visited the Balance Bar website and went straight to the product page. That’s where I found my answer. First, their website says that all of the Balance Bars are vegetarian, certified Kosher, and some are gluten-free. It also says that all of the bars are sans high fructose corn syrup. As a vegetarian who prefers not to consume high fructose corn syrup, this revelation made me rethink my anti-protein bar stance, and I started to wonder if they’d also be perfect for me.

Next it gave a quick description of the differences. The Original bars have a 40-30-30 formula, Gold Balance Bars have an added layer of “decadence,” and Balance Bar Dark are certified Gluten-Free and made with 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified™ Cocoa making them better for the environment and me. Grateful for the information, the product line was an easy pick for me and I’m betting you can guess which Balance Bar line I chose.

Balance Bars - What's the difference between Gold, Original, and  Dark? Balance Bar: Chocolate Protein Energy Bars We Both Love #BalanceShapeUp #ad

But before I tell you which one I did bring home, let me tell you more about their website because I think a few minutes on the Balance Bar site will save you time standing in the aisle trying to decide which one to buy. That’s because they have ingeniously made the site very user friendly in that it allows you to sort their products by your preferences. You can sort by your taste bud – chocolate, yogurt, nutty, coffee, fruit, mint, caramel, or coconut and all of the options in your taste bud range are shown. Or you can sort by texture and choose from chewy, gooey, or crunchy.

Knowing that my previous complaints about protein bars, beyond the ingredients, has always been the texture, I immediately chose my favorite – crunchy. I was rewarded with every Balance Bar that fit that category. Once I had all the crunch versions up, I looked through until I found two in the Dark line. I chose that line because of the quality of the ingredients and the Rainforest Certification.

Once I had my choices down, I headed for my local Walmart store because sadly fires are raging in our state and he could be called up at any minute to go so I needed to get them home asap.

Balance Bars at Walmart & Taste Testing

Finding the Balance Bars  in my local store was easy and I located the two flavors on my list quickly. I picked up a box of Dark Chocolate Coconut Balance Bar® and Dark Chocolate Crunch Balance Bar® and headed for checkout. Once I got home I sliced up a few for my husband to taste test, but I didn’t tell him they were protein bars.

Balance Bars Taste Test  - Balance Bar: Chocolate Protein Energy Bars We Both Love #BalanceShapeUp #ad

He tried both and guessed that were dessert bars. When I revealed that the were Balance Bars, he didn’t believe me at first, but after showing him the labels, he admitted he was surprised to find out how much nutrition the bars actually packed.

As my husband walked off with the two cases to pack in his wildland gear, I grabbed a few for myself. As I walked back into the kitchen I was surprised to find the bars I’d cut up were gone. My son had slipped into the kitchen and finished them all!

Dark Chocolate Crunch Balance Bar Taste Test - Balance Bar: Chocolate Protein Energy Bars We Both Love - he needs them for the nutrition boost, I like them in place of sweet treats with empty calories #BalanceShapeUp #ad

It was then that I realized that there was no way he could take the Dark variety with him because they’d melt in the 100+ heat he encounters at most fires. So, I offered to take them off his hands and buy him something from the Original line so he doesn’t have to worry about it. Wasn’t that sweet of me? 🙂  He doesn’t care what flavor I buy him as long as it gives him the power to keep going and I benefit from my mistake with two boxes for myself!

I’ll be using the Dark Balance Bars in place of other chocolate treats.  I’ll substitute a half or whole Dark Balance Bar so that I’ll get the sweetness I’m looking for, but nutrition and protein that candy bars don’t have. We’ll see if this change helps with my desire cut empty calories from my diet. I’m down a size just by moving more each day and making changes in my diet to add more nutrition rich foods so I’m guessing these are going to add to my weight loss.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Balance Bar - Balance Bar: Chocolate Protein Energy Bars We Both Love #BalanceShapeUp #ad

Balance Bar Shape Up Challenge

If you’re looking for some assistance with getting fit this summer, check out the Balance Bar Summer Shape Up Challenge (on Facebook). The special page provides eating tips, access to 30-minute workouts, and more. Plus you can participate in giveaways on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

BALANCE BAR WELCOMES SUMMER WITH SHAPE UP CHALLENGE   Balance Bar: Chocolate Protein Energy Bars We Both Love #BalanceShapeUp #ad

How has your summer been shaping up and what’s your favorite Balance Bar?

 #BalanceShapeUp Twitter Chat

Come and join the #BalanceShapeUp Twitter Chat on July 31 at 3pm ET to chat about healthy eating and working out this summer. In addition to tips for shaping up in addition to giveaways.