Energy bars have grown up; we’re seeing the next generation of bars fill not just one shelf, but rows of shelves at health food stores, specialty markets, mega-grocery stores, even the spa or gym. While some of the originals were tough to chew, others were little better than candy filled with processed sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup and unpronounceable ingredients, the newest crop of options are sweetened with fruit, rice syrup, agave nectar, raw honey, or unrefined cane sugar. A variety of bars have a low glycemic index, which means that instead of causing blood sugar spikes, they are absorbed slowly. Bars can be found free of common allergens. And new bars include varieties that are macrobiotic, dairy-free or organic, and are even packed with health-promoting probiotics or essential fatty acids. Best of all, the ingredient lists are recognizable and the creative combinations taste great.
Nuts for Whole Crunch
Rather than pureed ingredients, KIND bars keep their nuts whole and their wrapper clear so you can see what’s inside. Flavors like almond & coconut or macadamia & apricot are an easy-to-pack alternative to trail mix for nut lovers on the go. A portion of KIND bar profits support the PeaceWorks Foundation, which cultivates co-existence in conflict regions. Peace Works
Several new bars include veggies for an easy-to-eat dose of greens. Although it may not sound like a treat, green bars include raspberry, raw honey, or even chocolate along with the fiber and vitamins that make vegetables a necessary brick on the food pyramid. Garden of Life adds 21 organic vegetables, raspberry, raw honey, and probiotics to their Perfect Food whole food greens bar. Perfect Food tastes so good you could get carried away and forget your dinner salad. Garden of Life
Go Macro was founded by a mother-and-daughter team who began marketing their own macrobiotic recipes. Brown rice protein and the rice syrup sweetener are the base of the bar rooted in macrobiotic principles of a whole-grain diet. Macro Treats
Beat the Sugar Blues
Whole grains are an important component of our diet. Kashi supplies this in the form of cereal grains, but also in their GOLEAN Roll. Although filled with a nougat center suitable for comfort food, the combination of high fiber, high protein and low-glycemic index carbs make these healthy snacks. www.kashi.com. Solo GI low glycemic index bars receive rave reviews from diabetes educators who suggest the berry bliss or chocolate mint mania to combat sugar extremes. Solo Gi
Nature’s Path bars contain soy protein, healthy inulin fiber, and creative and tasty flavors like cranberry ginger soy, pomegranate cherry, and blueberry flax with an abundance of organic ingredients. Natures Path.
It used to be that many energy bars were candy bars in healthy wrappers. Now some healthy bars actually taste good enough to be mistaken for candy. LARABARs are known for their combinations of pureed dates and nuts for flavors like cinnamon roll and cocoa mole. Their newest line, Maya bars, could be dessert. And they’re organic, and made with chocolate, cashews, almonds, essential fatty acids, and of course dates. Larabar.
Essential fatty acids, including omega-3 and 6 oils are important for heart health, an optimal immune system, and boosting the rest of the body. Odwalla, known for yummy fresh juices, also offers a delicious bar filled with fiber, antioxidant-rich berries, and ground flax. Berries GoMega will make you come back for more. Odwalla. Bumble Bars are crunchy with flax and sesame seeds, and make a fiber-filled, protein-rich, gluten-free snack with flavors that go with a cup of tea, like chai, hazelnut, and cashew. Bumble Bar. The line of Organic Food Bars are vegan, free of wheat and soy, and full of omega-3 from sprouted flax. With fruit, greens, chocolate, or original, every flavor is represented in these agave-sweetened bars. Organic Food Bar.
While all these next generation bars are filled with fiber, Organic Fiber Bars have an impressive 14 grams per bar. Coconut, apple, cranberry, or lemon flavors provide natural sweetness. Renew Life