Train Like a Badass
Assessment criteria for protein bars and protein cookies

Assessment criteria for protein bars and protein cookies

Protein bars and protein cookies are a convenient way to get some protein when you’re in a hurry. They never should take the place of a balanced diet. However, there are times when they’re entirely acceptable. They’re a good solution for a post-workout treat. They will also do their job as an in-between snack. And last, but not least, they may be a great help to curb your hunger or craving.

We test and review protein bars and protein cookies according to the assessment criteria below.

  • Smell
    • I’ll take three boxes of those – 10 pts
    • tasty, very pleasant, consistent with the flavour, all ingredients are specifically detectable in accordance with the name of the bar or cookie (all three elements) – 9 pts
    • pleasant, consistent with the name, pleasant, all ingredients are detectable in accordance with the name of the bar or cookie (all three elements) – 8 pts
    • same as above (8 pts), but without one of the elements – 7 pts
    • smell without a specific scent – 6 pts
    • reminiscent of the one from the label but not exactly that, e.g. the smell should be orange but it’s just citrus in general – 5 pts
    • not consistent with the name of the bar or cookie, e.g. it should be chocolate
    • but it’s gingerbread – 4 pts
    • something absolutely different than the label – 3 pts
    • repellent smell – 2 pts
    • I don’t even want to smell that – 1 pt

    Additional points:
    -0.5 pt for barely detectable bitter aroma
    -1.0 pt for fairly detectable bitter aroma
    -1.5 pts for bitter aroma that grabs the whole spectrum of smell

  • Outer firmness
    • has someone finally come up with protein marshmallows? – 10 pts
    • very easy to mold, without effort, like a muffin – 9 pts
    • easy to mold (soft) – 8 pts
    • when pressed, it bends in slightly – 7 pts
    • relatively easy to press in between the thumb and index finger – 6 pts
    • it takes a bit of force to press it in – 5 pts
    • it takes force to press it in – 4 pts
    • it’s too tough to visibly press it in – 3 pts
    • tough enough to break a window with it (hard) – 2 pts
    • offensive-defensive bar or cookie (concrete) – 1 pt
  • Inner firmness
    •  it melts in your mouth – 10 pts
    • melts between the tongue and roof of the mouth – 9 pts
    • easy to squish between the tongue and roof of the mouth  – 8 pts
    • somewhat easy to squish between the tongue and roof of the mouth – 7 pts
    • easy to chew, without much effort – 6 pts
    • really need to grind one’s teeth to chew it – 5 pts
    • tough to chew – 4 pts
    • necessary to use force to chew – 3 pts
    • hard, difficult to chew – 2 pts
    • very tough, too hard to chew (fcuk this, I’m not chewing it, give me a hammer!) – 1 pt
  • Taste
    • I was supposed to eat only one bar pr biscuit, but already had three – how is that possible? – 10 pts
    • very pleasant, rich, palpable taste consistent with the label throughout the whole thing without any bitter/weird aftertaste – 9 pts
    • pleasant, palpable taste, consistent with the label throughout the whole thing without any bitter or weird aftertaste – 8 pts
    • same as above (8 pts), but without one of the elements – 7 pts
    • as above (7 pts) but with a slightly bitter taste and/or aftertaste – 6 pts
    • no specific taste and/or bitter aftertaste – 5 pts
    • no specific taste, bitter or artificial taste and aftertaste – 4 pts
    • different taste than promised on the label, unappetising, bad aftertaste – 3 pts
    • repellent taste, after the first bite you don’t want any more – 2 pts
    • I wouldn’t even give this to my dog, a.k.a. for connoisseurs – 1 pt

    Additional points:
    +0.5 pt if it WILL make its way as a sweet and satisfying treat
    -0.5 pt if it WILL NOT make its way as a sweet and satisfying treat
    -0.5 pt for an unbalanced flavour

  • Moistness
    • I’d like a cup of coffee, please, but only out of habit – 10 pts
    • pleasantly moist, it is possible to eat all of it without a chaser, don’t feel a bit of dryness – 9 pts
    • it is possible to eat all of it without a chaser – 8 pts
    • pretty good but you may feel like drinking something in between – 7 pts
    • pretty good but you have to drink something in between – 6 pts
    • have to drink often – 5 pts
    • need to drink something with every bite – 4 pts
    • even with a drink, it won’t go down the throat – 3 pts
    • you drink even before you take the first bite because you can plainly see it’s the crackeriest of crackers – 2 pts
    • it’s bone dry, impossible to eat – 1 pt
  • FAT:

    • up to 3g – 10 pts
    • 3.1g – 4g – 9 pts
    • 4.1g – 5g – 8 pts
    • 5.1g – 7g – 7 pts
    • 7.1g – 9g – 6 pts
    • 9.1g – 11g – 5 pts
    • 11.1g – 14g – pts
    • 14.1g – 17g – pts
    • 17.1g – 20g – 2 pts
    • 20g+ – 1 pt

     

    CARBOHYDRATES

    • up 6g – 10 pts
    • 6.1g – 9g – 9 pts
    • 9.1g – 12g – 8 pts
    • 12.1g – 15g – 7 pts
    • 15.1g – 18g – 6 pts
    • 18.1g – 21g – 5 pts
    • 21.1g – 25g – 4 pts
    • 25.1g – 30g – 3 pts
    • 30.1g – 40g – 2 pts
    • 40g+ – 1 pt

     

    SUGAR

    • up to 2g – 10 pts
    • 2.1g – 4g – 9 pts
    • 4.1g – 6g – 8 pts
    • 6.1g – 8g – 7 pts
    • 8.1g – 10g – 6 pts
    • 10.1g – 12g – 5 pts
    • 12.1g – 15g – 4 pts
    • 15.1g – 18g – 3 pts
    • 18.1g – 22g – 2 pts
    • 22g+ – 1 pt

     

    PROTEIN

    • 35+ g – 10 pts
    • 25.1 – 35 g – 9 pts
    • 19.1 – 25 g – 8 pts
    • 17.1 – 19 g – 7 pts
    • 15.1 – 17 g – 6 pts
    • 13.1 – 15 g – 5 pts
    • 10.1 – 13 g – 4 pts
    • 7.1 – 10 g – 3 pts
    • 4.1 – 7 g – 2 pts
    • under 7 g – 1 pt

     

    CALORIES

    • up to 139 kcal – 10 pts
    • 140 kcal – 159 kcal – 9 pts
    • 160 kcal – 179 kcal – 8 pts
    • 180 kcal – 210 kcal – 7 pts
    • 211 kcal – 230 kcal – 6 pts
    • 231 kcal – 250 kcal – 5 pts
    • 251 kcal – 280 kcal – 4 pts
    • 281 kcal – 310 kcal – 3 pts
    • 310 kcal– 350 kcal – 2 pts
    • 351+ kcal – 1 pt

    Additional points:
    -1 pt for nutritional values given for 100g only (if the serving size is different than this)

  • Ingredients
    • a short list of absolutely crucial ingredients, natural tastes, aromas, extras (vitamins, microelements) – 10 pts
    • a short list of absolutely crucial ingredients plus essential preservatives for extending shelf life – 9 pts
    • a short list of ingredients, natural tastes, aromas, extras – 8 pts
    • a medium long list of main ingredients, natural tastes, aromas, extras – 7 pts
    • a medium long list of main ingredients, without natural tastes, aromas, extras – 6 pts
    • a long list of ingredients, with palm oil or glucose-fructose syrup or added sugar (any of them, regardless of other ingredients) – 5 pts
    • a long ingredient list, with palm oil or glucose-fructose syrup or added sugar (two of them, regardless of other ingredients) – 4 pts
    • a long ingredient list, with palm oil, glucose-fructose syrup and added sugar – 3 pts
    • a long ingredient list, palm oil, glucose/fructose syrup and added sugar plus artificial additives – 2 pts
    • you need the periodic table to understand what’s in there – 1 pt

    Additional points:
    +0.5 pt for natural taste, aromas or extras (if not included in the score)
    +0.5 pt for at least seven extra vitamins and minerals (if not included in the score)

  • The overall experience
    • it was supposed to be one bar or cookie but I already ate three and I want more – help! – 10 pts
    • it was tasty, I definitely want more – 9 pts
    • it was pretty good, I could eat some more – 8 pts
    • it was good and let’s leave it at that, but was worth it – 7 pts
    • it was alright but it’s enough – 6 pts
    • I ate it, thanks – where’s my chicken & rice? – 5 pts
    • phew, I’m glad that’s over – 4 pts
    • how could I have eaten that?! Something went wrong here – 3 pts
    • they should recall this from stores – 2 pts
    • barfing and spasms after eating – 1 pt

See all protein bars and protein cookies we’ve reviewed so far here and here, respectively.