Honey Stinger Energy Chews Review

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You know the smell of a freshly mopped floor that was cleaned with lemon Pine-Sol? Pretty nice as a floor smell, not so nice as a food smell.

When I opened my first pack of Limeade Honey Stinger Energy Chews, the strong chemical-based cleaner smell sent me reeling. I’d committed to a whole box of ten packs after spotting these usually expensive chews on a deals site. Gulp.

I steeled myself for a taste commensurate with the nasty artificial citrus smell, and was pleasantly surprised by a mild, inoffensive artificial citrus flavor, somewhere between green gummy bears and Sierra Mist.

The surface of the chews is slightly sticky. Not sticky enough for all ten chews to tumble out of the foil packet in one gelatinous clump, but sticky enough for two chews to stick together, or for fingers to pick up fibers or stick together after handling them. Sticky fingers during a run, especially a gloved run, feel gross.

Texture-wise, Honey Stinger Limeade Energy Chews are similar to fresh, soft gummy bears or gummy worms. They are easy to bite through and aren’t so dense that they stick to teeth much.

I’m not a coffee drinker and I cut out soda after having been a religious Diet Coke drinker, so I’m now fairly susceptible to caffeine’s effects. Black Cherry Clif Shot Bloks give me a nice jolt of energy to get me ready to lace up in the morning, or to spur me on in the middle of a long run. These…are not Clif Shot Bloks. The 32 mg of caffeine in Limeade Honey Stinger Energy Chews can’t hold a candle to the mighty 100 mg of caffeine in a pack Black Cherry Clif Shot Bloks (50 mg/serving). They gave me no discernible energy bump. Admittedly, the slight mental and physical boost of pausing for a snack with these was the same as with any other snack, not worse, but if I’m going to stop for a snack, I want that energy boost too.

Over a few weeks, I worked my way through the entire box in order to give these a fair shake and not waste my purchase.

Pros:
-Gluten-free — matters to some people
-32 mg caffeine from green tea
-Inoffensive taste — not so good that you’ll be sneaking these between workouts
-160 calories per pack — these could work for a short race or workout
-Easy to chew

Cons:
-Frightening smell
-Not enough caffeine
-Expensive
-Sticky

Overall, 4/10. I just don’t like my running nutrition to remind me of hospitals.

Honey Stinger Protein Bar Reviews

I was lucky enough buy some Honey Stinger 10g protein bars at steep discounts — everything with Lance Armstrong’s image on it must go! — otherwise I probably never would’ve tried these. The regular price of $30 for a box of 15 bars is far too rich for my blood. I found discounted Honey Stinger 10g protein bars online at The Clymb and Steep and Cheep and in person at REI. REI was practically giving them away on 12/26/13 at the store I visited, so if you’re interested, that may be your best bet.

I tried two varieties: Peanut Butta Pro, and Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond.

Honey Stinger Peanut Butta Pro 10g Protein Bar

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Taste: 10/10

In a word, delicious. The Peanut Butta Pro flavor is reminiscent of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. It’s chocolatey and peanut buttery and it really doesn’t taste healthy at all. There’s no discernible honey taste, which is neither a good nor a bad thing as far as I’m concerned, just kind of noteworthy given that honey is touted as an ingredient.¬†Unlike some other protein bars, the milk chocolate will melt in your hands because it’s real chocolate! These are stupid good: 10/10.

Texture: 10/10

There’s none of the weird protein bar chewiness in these bars. The smooth texture is about as firm as a Power Bar, but isn’t nearly as chewy and not at all as gummy; you can break these bars if you hit them just right, or pack them in a bag that gets crushed. No crunch from crispy soy or crispy rice, as the 10 grams of protein come from whey protein: 10/10.

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Honey Stinger Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond 10g Protein Bar

Taste: 10/10

The whole bar has a strong cherry taste, especially the interior. Dark chocolate is a supporting character, but is a welcome addition that rounds out the candy bar-like flavor: 10/10.

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Texture: 10/10

The texture of the Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond bars is identical to that of the Peanut Butta Pro variety, except that the Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond bars contain almond and cherry pieces. Almond bits add crunch, but not much taste, while the cherry pieces add a little raisin-esque chew. The mixed in bits aren’t so thick that they substantially change the texture of the bar; it’s not like a granola bar or some trail mix. They simply add some interest in a robustly flavored bar: 10/10.

Overall, perfection for their category: 10/10.

I’m going to be sad when there are no more sale boxes to be had, since I can’t justify $2 per bar (plus shipping shipping, depending on where I buy them) for small-ish bars with only 10 grams of protein. The calorie and protein content is comparable to my tried-and-true favorite Lemon Zest Luna Bar: both have 180 calories, while the Peanut Butta Pro and Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Honey Stinger Bars come out ahead with 10g of whey protein to the Luna Bar’s 9g of protein. I don’t know enough about different proteins to speak authoritatively about how soy protein compares with whey protein, but my understanding is that whey protein is more easily absorbed by the human body. Another possible consideration: if you’re keen on getting your protein from a vegan source, then whey is not the way to go.