Saturday, February 11, 2012

Product Review: Nimble Bars

Nimble by Balance Bar is a nutrition and beauty bar specially formulated for women. Via the online community of Around the Plate, for which I'm a Nutrition Expert, I had the privilege of trying this brand new product! Thanks to Balance Bar I got to taste a complimentary sample of both flavors in order to give my honest opinion and pass this review on to my readers and clients.

Nimble claims to be both good for your health and beauty by supplying a balanced macronutrient composition (carbs, protein and fat) as well as micronutrients supporting bone health (calcium and vitamin D), energy (B vitamins) and both vision and skin (FloraGLO lutein and beta-carotene).

On first glance, the Nimble bar appears nicely well rounded. But I did have one question in regards to a component they loudly promote. What's FloraGLO lutein? I did a little research. It's a patented, purified form of lutein, proven to help maintain skin and eye health in the quantity of 10 mg per day. Yes--that's the amount found in Nimble. I perused the clinical trials, found on the FloraGLO specific site, and they're ligit. The trials on eye health were completed in patients that already had some form of eye damage and did reveal positive effects on eye health. Trials completed in regards to skin health also revealed positive results. Both lutein and FloraGLO lutein are GRAS, or generally recognized as safe, by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Good enough for me.

My first priority is nutrition, of course, and I'm fairly satisfied with the nutrient distribution of the Nimble bars. They provide 40% of calories from carbohydrate, 30% from fat and 30% from protein. I would prefer a slightly higher ratio of carbohydrate to protein: 50% carb and 20% protein, but this could be balanced throughout the day by adding carbs from other foods. It's a nice combination for a balanced mid-afternoon snack or a post-workout snack too.

There are such high quantities of vitamins and minerals that I would not recommend consuming more than one bar per day and I would also recommend considering not taking your multivitamin on the days that you eat the Nimble bar. That's because too much of a good thing isn't a good thing. It's essential to eat a balanced diet to supply a variety of nutrients and you also have to remember that many of the foods we consume are already fortified too. Some vitamins are fat-soluble, meaning they're stored in the body, and can become toxic if over-consumed. For example, Nimble bars contain 45% DV (daily value) of calcium and 50% DV for vitamin D. That's great! But again, exercise caution if you are already taking these in supplement form, as too much can be harmful. I would view the Nimble bar as your multivitamin. It could take the place. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about what your vitamin and mineral needs are.

There are 5 grams of fiber in Nimble bars--very high--coming from inulin. Women need about 25 grams of fiber per day to promote gut health, healthy cholesterol levels and stable blood sugars, so 20% in one bar ain't bad! Inulin also has other health-promoting properties: it increases calcium absorption, promotes the growth of "good" bacteria in the gut (in other words, it's a prebiotic), it's a soluble fiber (the type that helps lower cholesterol) and it has minimal impact on blood glucose. Not to mention, fiber keeps you full for longer.

The saturated fat contained in the bars (2 grams) just reaches the limit for me in a snack bar. That said, there's about the same amount of saturated fat in peanut butter or a reduced-fat string cheese, so it's still a viable snack option. Nimble bars are not made with hydrogenated oil, so that means no trans fat either.

The Nimble bar contains only 120 calories. That's equivalent to other small granola bars or a medium-sized apple. It's a moderate, snack-sized amount that's good if you're weight-conscious. And who isn't? At only 14 grams of carbohydrate, this is also an easy choice if you have diabetes and are controlling your carbohydrate intake.

Now for taste!

The Nimble bars are offered in two flavors: Peanut Butter and Yogurt Orange Swirl. Both varieties were quite tasty. Here are my thoughts:

  • They did not have an artificial or vitamin-y taste, like many vitamin-fortified food products have. And I've sampled many supplements over the years. I was pleased about that.
  • I usually don't like the taste of stevia (found in Truvia, the sweetener used in Nimble) and tend to avoid products that contain it. This is simply because of the aftertaste, and nothing else. Artificial sweeteners are also well-researched and GRAS. I hardly tasted the Truvia in Nimble and it left no aftertaste.
  • The bars were chewy with a nice, smooth texture.
  • They were slightly sweet; definitely not over-powering. Also a plus for me since I don't have the palate for super-sweet or artificially-sweet products.
Of the two flavors, my preference is for the Peanut Butter variety. It tastes like real, creamy peanut butter. Yum. The Yogurt Orange Swirl was also quite tasty; in fact it tastes exactly as it was described. To me that equates to the taste of a Dreamsicle popsicle. You know the ones with orange outer layer and creamy middle? The orange taste lingered for a while, but again, I wouldn't call it an aftertaste.
To sum it up, the Nimble bar is easy to carry and low enough in calories to eat as a well-rounded snack any time. I usually recommend whole foods for snacks, but sometimes it’s not as feasible an option. The bars would be a good choice instead for travel, an emergency stash for your purse or car or an extended shopping day. After eating the bar, I was satisfied for about an hour and a half, which is good enough to “hold me over” between meals. At $17 for a box of 12, the price isn't too bad, especially compared to similar products. If Nimble replaces your multivitamin, calcium, vitamin D and/or lutein supplement, it would be an extra-good buy. 

I would include Nimble as one of my snack options, but even though it's balanced, nutrient-packed and easy to tote around, don't forget that a balanced diet is still important otherwise.

For more information about Nimble bars, visit They're available at retail locations wherever Balance Bars are sold, on the Balance Bars website or on Amazon.