A few weeks ago, the folks who make The Gluten Free Bar reached out on social media seeking gluten intolerant writers and photographers to sample their new product, Gluten Free Bites. Feeling that I’m at least one of those things, I volunteered my taste buds. A short while later, a box arrived at my door.
I opened it to find three bags featuring three distinct flavors: pb+j, coconut cashew crunch, and dark chocolate hazelnut. Given my frequent outdoor adventures, I decided to test out each flavor with a different activity, and to share the bites with anyone who came along.
PB+J and Fatbiking
This was a first-time experience for my wife and I. We rented fatbikes and hitched a ride with three friends out to the Wanoga Snow Park near Mt. Bachelor. We moved slowly at first, but got the hang of riding on snow before long. After 2.5 miles in various conditions, from slippery icy ruts to roots, and small downed tree-hopping, we stopped to take a short break.The five of us each enjoyed a bite or two (two is the recommended serving size) and were pleasantly surprised by the flavors. The outside texture reminded me of a peanut donut hole. Inside the crunchy peanut pieces was a chewy, sweet layer. Everyone commented that while the texture was a little dense and not super easy to chew, the jelly surprise in the middle was a treat. I suspect that the dense texture would be considerably softer in warmer conditions, but with the peanut crust on the outside of each bite, I wouldn’t worry about these smashing together to form a mega gluten free bite. All-in-all, these bites were not only satisfying, but the flavor was great. Of the three samples I received, pb+j was the most enjoyable. View the activity on Strava.
Coconut Cashew Crunch and Running
On this particular day, I was hustling through my work day, hoping to sneak in a run before the sun went away. The forecast didn’t look great for the remainder of the week, and I was eager to catch the sunset at Shevlin Park in Bend. This is a great place to run, hike, walk, enjoy the creek, and stare out at the Central Cascades. I closed out my work day and ran out the door, excited for my timing. I made it to the upper portion of the park just as the sun was dropping to the horizon. I enjoyed two coconut cashew crunch bites before turning and jogging home at a comfortable pace. These bites had a more firm texture and were far less sweet than the pb+j bites. In fact, they were so firm, I probably wouldn’t bring this flavor with as a running snack in the future. I do think they’d be great for hiking, especially if you’re on a long trek. They are satisfying and at 110 calories per serving, they’ll fill you up without weighing down your pack. Coconut and cashew both have such unique flavor, I was surprised to find them working so well together. If you like a trail snack that’s satisfying and less sweet, these bites are for you. See the route on Strava.
Dark Chocolate Hazelnut and Snowshoeing
The morning after Thanksgiving, my wife and I took two friends out to snowshoe on Tumalo Mountain. This is a three-mile hike with 1,500 feet of elevation gain that provides incredible views of the surrounding mountains. Mount Bachelor, all three Sisters, and Broken Top show prominently on one side, while the entire Deschutes River Valley can be seen by simply turning around. On the summit, we each enjoyed a couple of dark chocolate hazelnut bites. These bites had the softest texture of the three flavors. Hazelnut and dark chocolate are a great match and these were simply delicious. As tiring as the trek was, the bites were satisfying and we had plenty of energy to hike down from the summit. As far as running snacks go, this flavor is the best candidate. The hazelnuts on the outside will keep them from smashing together in the heat and the texture makes them the easiest to chew while you’re on the go. See the route on Strava.
The Final Verdict
Gluten Free Bites certainly pass the test of a great snack for active folks who enjoy the outdoors. In fact, they’re a good snack to keep around the house as well, if you possess that sort of self-control. I recommend giving these a try or any of the products you’ll find from the GFB. All of their products are tasty, satisfying, and great for sharing. If you need further incentive, check out the nutrition facts, easy-to-pronounce ingredients, and additional flavors on the GFB website. And if you see a guy slipping and sliding and struggling to balance on a fatbike around Central Oregon this winter, cut him some slack, because it’s probably me.