CTRL Meal-on-the-Go Bar review

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REVIEW – I have a kid who has never really eaten a “normal” breakfast. It’s probably all my fault since I used to just toss him into his car seat in the morning with some dry cereal (he didn’t like it with milk) that he would eat like kibble on the way to school. Anyway, now that he’s a teen I make him take a protein bar in the car and eat that on the way to school, and he really only likes one flavor of one brand. When the CTRL Meal on the Go bars wanted a review, I decided I’d see if maybe we could add a little variety to my son’s morning.

What is it?

The CTRL Meal-on-the-Go Bars are meal replacement bars with 15 grams of whey protein.

What’s in the box?

12 bars of either Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough or Magic Charms flavors

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Chocolate Chip Cookie dough

  • 15g Protein
  • 11 g fat (4.5 saturated fat/no trans fats)
  • 27g carbs
  • 9g fiber
  • 12g sugars
  • 240 Calories

Magic Charms

  • 15g protein
  • 10g fat (4g saturated/no trans fats)
  • 27 g carbs
  • 9 g fiber
  • 12 g sugars

Ingredients (Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough): Roasted cashews, isomaltooligosaccharide, whey protein isolate, milk chocolate coating (sugar, palm kernel oil and hydrogenated palm oil, nonfat dry mil,, cocoa powder [processed with alkali], soy lecithin [an emulsifier] and vanillin [an artificial flavor]), cookie dough bites (wheat flour, sugar, palm oil, water, chocolate chips [sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla extract] molasses, corn starch, natural flavor, natural and artificial vanilla, salt, soy lecithin) honey, whey crisps (whey protein concentrate, rice flour), cocoa powder, natural flavors.
Allergen warning: Contains milk, soy, cashew, and wheat. Manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy wheat, and egg. Contains bioengineered food ingredients.

Ingredients (Magic Charms): roasted cashews, isomaltooligosaccharide, whey protein isolate, white chocolate coating (sugar, vegetable oil [palm kernel oil], hydrogenated palm kernel and cottonseed oils nonfat dry milk, milk, glyceryl lacto esters of fatty acids, soy, lethecin, salt, artificial flavor), honey, oat cereal (whole oat flour, sugar, marshmallows [sugar, corn syrup, food starch—modified dextrose, gelatin, sodium, hexametaphosphate, natural and artificial flavor, color [red 40, yellow 5 and 6, blue 1 and 2]) wheat starch, food starch – modified brown sugar, salt, calcium carbonate, tricalcium phosphate, color (titanium dioxide, caramel), trisodium phosphate, preservative (tocopherols), whey crisps (whey protein concentrate, rice flour), cereal marshmallows (sugar, corn syrup, food starch-modified. Contains less than 2% of gelatin, sodium hexametaphosphate, artificial flavor, natural flavor, artificial color (blue 1).
Allergen warnings: Contains milk, soy, cashew, wheat. Manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy wheat and egg. Contains bioengineered food ingredients.

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I’ve tried a lot of protein bars and I’m pretty picky, taste-wise. A protein bar shouldn’t feel like a punishment – it should be at least as tasty as some kind of healthy breakfast. In that department, the CTRL Meal-on-the-Go Bars don’t disappoint. Everyone who tried them liked them quite a bit, and they were a mix of kids and grown-up family members.  There was a slight preference in my limited sample for the Cookie Dough bar, but everyone pretty much agreed that the Magic Charms bar tasted like a cookie or cereal, only more dense. They agreed that the cookie dough bar is fudgy and tastes like a treat. Are they as good as a Snicker’s bar? No. But you shouldn’t eat a Snicker’s instead of a meal because you’ll feel like garbage about an hour afterward. These don’t give you the sugar downers despite having 27 grams of carbs.

So let’s talk about the CTRL Meal-on-the-Go Bar’s ingredients: the ingredients list is TINY on the wrapper and I didn’t find it at all on the product pages so I made a point of putting it on this article.  It was a challenge to read and spell.   You’ll see that cashews make up the number one ingredient, which isn’t surprising. They are delicious, just like the bars! However, you’ll see the number two ingredient is isomaltooligosaccharide. This is a mixture of short chain carbs that are hard to digest. It helps you feel full and it is marketed as a healthy low carb/low calorie/high fiber sweetener which sounds awesome. However, because isomaltooligosaccharides are hard to digest, they can cause GI problems, especially if you eat too much. Neither my son nor I experienced any problems in that department, but I would caution anyone who is eating more than once a day to stay close to a bathroom until you know what these will do to you.

It should also be noted, if it isn’t obvious, that these aren’t keto-friendly, nor are they vegan. They definitely pass the taste test, but they aren’t terribly large. If I wanted to live dangerously I’d pair these with a piece of fruit or something else that would make you feel fuller, because these little bars are not meal sized. They are more of a snack to have until you can make time for lunch, rather than a lunch substitute. I find that is the case with most protein bars.

You might note that there aren’t many pictures of the bars out of the wrapper in this article.  That’s because these things melted a bit en route and as a result, they didn’t look that good.  In fact, they weren’t that solid in my air-conditioned house either.  I kept my bars in a refrigerator as recommended, but  I think they could get messy to eat if you are really “on the go.”  You’ll also notice from the pictures that they aren’t exactly crammed with little marshmallows or chocolate chips like they are in the photo on the package.

I thought I’d also mention the price factor on the CTRL Meal-on-the-Go Bar.  They are about $3 each, which I think is a bit pricey.  I guess it depends on your perspective, though.  If you view them as a meal replacement, then $3 isn’t much for a meal.  If you feel like they are more in a snack category, $3 is a bit more than my usual brand of protein bar.

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What I like

  • Lots of protein
  • No sugar crash
  • Good taste

What I don’t like

  • Ingredients are so small on the wrapper that they make me think they don’t want me looking at them!
  • Can be melty

Final thoughts

The CTRL Meal-on-the-Go bars are tasty, but may not travel that well if you can’t keep them cold.

Price:  35.99 for a box of 12.
Where to buy:  CTRL.
Source:  The sample for this review was provided by CTRL.

3 thoughts on “CTRL Meal-on-the-Go Bar review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. I view something like this as a “chemical bar”, but that’s just me. I try to eat real food for breakfast, but in a pinch, I suppose one of these sugar/carb loaded sticks would hold me over. When I am in a rush, which is never now that I am retired, I just grab and apple or banana ago with it.

    Thanks for the excellent review. I’ll pass on buying them.

    1. Theresa Villeneuve

      Yeah it is full of hard to pronounce ingredients and I think that’s why the ingredients are hard to find on their website and in such tiny writing on the wrapper.

  3. Yeah, the isomaltooligosaccharides are just a form of slow digesting starch that will be slow to digest. Normal stuff.

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