We previously commanded you to get yourself to a CostCo and head directly to the Aussie Bites aisle. While there, you may also be tempted to pick up a package of Sunrise Energy Bars, which should be stocked within an eyeball’s roll to the right. Give in to this temptation. While the two snacks definitely have their similarities—rolled oats, dried fruit, whole grain, 100-percent naturalness, boasted omega-3s—these bars deserve individual attention, especially if it will help them escape the shadow of their trendier cousin.
To start, we dig that their flat rectangular bar shape gives them an extra, if inaccurate, homemade essence—a feat that other individually wrapped oat-oriented bars certainly cannot boast. We’re also intrigued by a couple of brow-raising ingredients. One is Sustagrain® Barley Flour, an raw material you may not know. Well, it’s one of those fancy researched-&-developed products (brought to us by ConAgra Mills via the University of Montana—go Grizzlies!) that’s high fiber and has scientific sounding components likes beta-glucan. It’s used as a healthy alternative to traditional flours for folks with diabetes and gluten-related issues, so bonus points for the Sunrise folks for thinking of everyone. These bars also contain tapioca syrup. But don’t freak—you won’t swish a bite of Sunrise around in your mouth and be all like, “Ah yes. Pudding!” It’s a healthier alternative to corn syrup. Between this and the Sustagrain®, your body will be good to go.
Now, all that’s great, but what we love best about these bars is all their fruit! While Aussie Bites are content to appease only the service staff with a foundation of raisins and dried apricots, the Sunrise Bars take it upstairs by adding cranberries and dried apples, rounding out the taste profile with these fruits’ sweet-tartness. We’re also fans of the nutty combo of almonds, cashews and walnuts. Paired with the flax and sunflower seeds, we think these nuts add to the hard, dense texture. Oh, there’s still a chewy factor, but think more cookie and less muffin. A little dry on initial contact, the fruits and sweeteners soon release their mouth- and belly-coating juices. Still, after the second or third—definitely the fourth—a solid swig of milk, coffee or Chardonnay might be helpful.