In 2008 Thunderbird was founded by a group of endurance athletes in Austin, Texas. They were sick of trying to rely on energy bars that contained ingredients that you could hardly pronounce, much-less knew what they were. They decided to take a more natural route. All their product offerings are made with natural ingredients that are fresh and nutritious. The bars are Paleo certified, Non-GMO, Gluten-free, grain free and Vegan-friendly. Recently I was given the chance to sample Thunderbird Real Food bars. I tried all of the bars from their current product line and was very impressed!
Nutrition Profile and Ingredients
The most attractive thing about the Thunderbird bars is the ingredients. You can recognize ALL of them. They have two product lines; Nut and Seed Bars and Fruit and Nut Bars. There’s no crazy long, super hard to pronounce, laboratory-made ingredients in these bars like you often find with many of the dominant name brand energy bars at your local outdoor shop. Thunderbird Bars are made of 4 main ingredient groups. Fruits, Nuts, Seeds, and Spices. That’s it.
Thunderbird Real Food Bar MacroNutrient Breakdown Bar Total Calories Fat Carbohydrates Protein Fiber Sugar*
ALMOND APRICOT VANILLA 161 8.5g 19.5g 7g 3.6g 11.1g
CACAO HEMP WALNUT 195 9.5g 22g 5.5g 4g 20g
CASHEW FIG CARROT 150 3g 29g 4g 3g 26g
CHERRY WALNUT CINNAMON 163 4.5g 28g 3.5g 4g 20g
HAZELNUT COFFEE MACA 148 8g 14g 5g 3g 9g
HEMP SUNFLOWER PUMPKIN SEED 250 22g 11g 7g 3g 5g
PEACH PECAN VANILLA 213 13g 23g 4g 3g 14g
PECAN GOJI PISTACHIOS 174 12g 17g 6g 4g 13g
PINEAPPLE MANGO PAPAYA 163 0g 30g 2.5g 3g 22g
TEXAS MAPLE PECAN 231 18g 22g 3g 4g 16g
*All sugar in the bars come from the fruit or berries used.
Taste & Palatability
The nutrient profile of the individual bars offered varies depending on ingredients. Depending on how picky your taste buds are there is a bar in their line to suit most diets. Each bar’s ingredients and nutrient profile are intelligently crafted and would provide a nutritious natural energy pick me up on your next hike, run, paddle, adventure race or even just a mid-day snack.
Having tried every bar offered by Thunderbird, I can assure that all of them taste great. Way better than many other energy bars that I have tried previously. Many of these are chalky due to the use of either whey protein or soy protein powders as a base ingredient for the bar. The other bars tend to be super chewy. Like, tire your jaw out, over-cooked steak chewy. Not great.
I know there are varying levels of pickiness amongst people, but I think that amongst their 10 different options there is a flavor for everyone. Most of the bars are a little sweet but vary based on the fruit or berries used. The bar’s sweetness is tempered by the nuts and spices included. The bars are very palatable. They are soft and without being too chewy and the nuts inside add a nice crunch to every bite. I would look forward to eating one of these as a nice mid-hike snack, aside from being a nutritious source of energy.
Cost and Where to Get Them
You can get a 15 count box of a single flavor or assortments from either their Nut and Seed line or Fruit and Nut line. The boxes cost $29.95 on their website but with shipping, it will be right under $40. At around $2.80 a bar, they are plenty competitively priced with other energy bars on the market. I would argue more so since they are real food and not some lab made concoction. You also find the bars in many grocery stores or health food stores around the USA.
I’m impressed with both the flavor of the Thunderbird Real Food Bars and the nutrient profile. Depending on your dietary needs, whether low-carb, Paleo, Ketogenic, or “give me whatever I’m running 100 miles dude, I don’t care”, there are bars in their current offerings for everyone. (Exception: If you have nut allergies, these aren’t for you.) I try to stay relatively low carb and Paleoesque in my eating (hey you gotta cheat a little sometimes right?) so I gravitated towards their Nut and Seed bars, but all were delicious.
If I had to pick a favorite or two, it would be the Hemp Sunflower+Pumpkin+Seed bar and the Hazelnut+Coffee+Maca bar. The first because it had the best nutrient profile for my current diet, the second because it was my favorite tasting bar. I’m a sucker for anything with coffee in it!