Marathon Smart Stuff Bar Review

Marathon Bars reviews

marathon_smart_stuff_chocolate_bar_snickersI was contacted recently by the PR Firm for Marathon Bar and asked if I would like to sample some and do a review.  Being a sucker for free stuff how could I say no.  I was told it was different from the Marathon Energy and Marathon Protein Bars so why not.

The package came with 8 bards (2 of each flavor: Crunchy Multi Grain, Crunchy Chocolate Crisp, Crunchy Honey Graham and Crunchy Trail Mix.)  I also received a fact sheet and a press release.

The fact sheet says that the Smart Stuff brand is a healthful snacking solution that provides balanced nutrition for active minds and bodies.  The bars include whole ingredients such as blueberries, cranberries and peanuts.  Made with real chocolate, the bars are a snack the whole family can enjoy.  The are fortified with a blend of eight essential vitamins and minerals and is an excellent source of calcium, plus each bar contains 3 to 5 grams of fiber per serving.  Naturally low in sodium, the bars contain 140 calories or less per serving, plus 5 grams of whole grains with no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.

I immediately went right to the ingredients on each bar to double check that their claim of no high fructose corn syrup was true because I recently saw a Dark Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter cup whose ingredients are: Semi-Sweet Chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milk fat, soy lecithin, vanillin, artificial flavor, PGPR, milk), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, TBHQ. (Do you see dark chocolate in their anywhere?)

The bards do not contain high-fructose corn syrup and as best I can tell are made with some wholesome ingredients.  There is peanuts, dried cranberries, dried blueberries and toasted oats in the bars.  Enough about the ingredients you are looking for how do they taste.

marathon_smart_stuff_crunch_bar_snickersMy favorite bar was the Crunchy Trail Mix.  This bar has dried cranberries and blueberries and I’m a sucker for dried fruit.  The bar is not huge so it is perfect for a mid-day snack and it contained only 130 calories.  The texture was that of other bars with the soy crisps but there was an inherent chewiness from the dried fruit plus some crunch from the almonds.

After the crunchy trail mix bar I found the Crunchy Honey Graham bar to be my 2nd favorite.  I have been on a s’mores kick lately (thanks to this and this) and this reminded me of a s’mores without the marshmallow.  The only thing missing was some texture.  A few more peanuts or almonds would have done the trick otherwise it was excellent.

The Crunchy Multi-Grain had that granola bar flavor to it.  It was chewy and sweet while adding in that extra crunch with the peanuts.  The crunchy chocolate crisp bar for me didn’t do it.  I know it’s chocolate and you would have expected it to be better but for me it didn’t do it.  Maybe because it is a Snickers/Mars Candy product that I expected the chocolate to be different.  I do know that I thought the chocolate on the other bars tasted better, but this is just my opinion.

Since I have changed my nutrition on the bike to be all liquid especially for the 70.3 distance these bars would not help me during racing, but for a mid-day snack they are perfect in that they are low in calories.  I would suggest that you give these bars a try and see what you think, but I do think that they are better choices than the Marathon Protein Bar or Marathon Energy Bar for me.


Disclaimer:  I was given these bars in return for a review but was not asked to write a positive review.
Disclaimer 2:  My wife is an Active Ambassador for Marathon Bars and thus how I was able to compare the Smart Stuff bar to the Protein and Energy Bars that Marathon produces.
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  1. Matt Oravec says:

    Interesting… but since you didn’t BIKE TEST THESE BARS!!!!!! … how can I take anything from this except that I should pack in my lunch ;)

    Did your wife try them at all? What was her take on the different brands?
    Matt Oravec recently posted..Taper time baby!!!My Profile

    • CTER says:

      The bars are a lot like PowerBar but they do not have as many calories so it would take more.

      They are just like the PowerBar in their consistency so they will melt in the heat.

      The Marathon Energy Bar is a better bet for the bike.

      Karen did not get a chance to try them out. I was hungry!

  2. Jeff Irvin says:

    Good too see another healthy “snack” alternative available.

    I tried the marathon protein bar at a run group a few months ago and it was not my cup of tea. Felt like a bomb was dropped in my stomach! This looks much better and who doesn’t like trail mix type bars?
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Man’s Best FriendMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      Yes the protein bar was like lead. You could almost feel it dropping down it was so heavy. The Energy Bar is lighter but this bar is just as light but the ingredients are better.

      The trail mix bar is very good and it gives you that small hint of chocolate as well.

  3. marlene says:

    We don’t have ANY of those bars here! grrr
    marlene recently posted..Toronto Island "Give-it-a-Tri"My Profile

  4. B.o.B. says:

    Thanks for the review! I like that they are low in calories. I’m always looking for a good snack bar.

  5. I’ll be honest, the SNICKERS tag alone on the packaging would make me shy away from even considering this bar. I would not even pick it up to look at the ing’s. Now I’m curious to see what’s in it.

    What liquid cals are you using on the bike now?
    MilesMusclesMom recently posted..…cuTTiNg oFF LiMbS…My Profile

  6. tricia says:

    thanks for sharing!

  7. Colleen says:

    They sound good! I was on Team Marathon Bar last year and wish these had been around. I think I would have gotten more out of these! :) Thanks for the review!

  8. Matthew Beal says:

    Thanks for the info Jason. I’ll definitely check these out.
    Matthew Beal recently posted..2011 MS 150 Pedal to the Point Recap (Day 2)My Profile

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