Description: Whole food snack bars are both a version, and an evolution, of the original granola bar. Way back in the beginning, the classic granola bar was chock-full of dried fruits and nuts, and was popular with backpackers, hikers, travelers, vegetarians, and those into organic gardening. These bars have always been a great alternative to sugar-laden cookies and other snacks; as far back as the 60s and 70s, you could find thick, chunky, wholesome bars, especially at alternative style bakeries and health food stores. The granola bar became the power bar by the 90s, as the idea of being able to eat a bar that provided quick, easy energy and nutrition while on the go, became popular with our society’s increasingly busy lifestyle. Big business caught on, and the marketplace exploded with these types of bars. The quality and integrity of whole food bars was compromised and a variety of junk food imitations of the original fruit, nut, and seed bar was born.

Whole food snack bars have come a long way, and now one can choose from a wide variety of wholesome, organic, raw, nutritious alternatives to the popular over-sweetened and processed bars that edged into the original bar. The highest quality bars are loaded with a wide variety of organic ingredients including, though not limited to, seeds, nuts, grains, fruits, vegetables, herbs, sweeteners, sea vegetables and nutritional enhancers such as whole food green powders like spirulina, bee pollen, whey and hemp protein powders, and other interesting ingredients. The best of these bars are manufactured with a conscious effort to keep the vital nutrients intact. Some of the finest whole food bars made from live, raw foods, with fresh vegetable juice added, might be considered a small meal. Eating some of these high-quality bars can be a powerful step towards optimal health; it is a way of adding more fresh, raw, less processed, nutritiously-potent foods to the diet.

The best of the bars can include phytonutrient dense sprouts and superfoods such as wheat or barley-grass juice powder, blue-green algae or spirulina, blueberries and raspberries, and flax or quinoa sprouts, all of which contain high levels of antioxidants, and are rich with essential fatty acids. This type of food bar is highly concentrated, and is an excellent alternative to the lifeless, commercial fast-foods commonly available today in most stores nationwide.

What to look for: Ideally, seek organic, raw, vegan, gluten and soy-free food bars. Naturally high in fiber, and flavored primarily with the wholesome ingredients they are made from rather than sugar, choose bars sweetened with raw honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, barley malt syrup, stevia, date sugar, or molasses. Some bars are enhanced with live probiotics to help support healthy, microbial balance in the digestive tract.

Uses: Great for when you are on the go, and need a quick boost of energy. Eating whole-food snack bars, rather than junky, fast-food alternatives such as a milkshake and French fries, can facilitate improved mental clarity, extended endurance, cardiovascular health, better immunity and hormone balance. For some, bars are good to use as between-meal snacks, or in place of a meal when needed. If well made, whole food bars can provide optimal nutrition for everyone from young children to students, professionals, shoppers, athletes, travelers and anyone on the move.

Where to find: Natural food stores and online resources. Many of the best quality bars are difficult to find in local stores. Search online and experiment – many bars are available in bulk at very reasonable prices.

Avoid: Inorganic bars, refined sugar, soy and soy protein, peanuts, trans-fatty acids, and dairy. Hydrogenated oils, preservatives, additives, salt, and coatings are also to be avoided. We suggest eating no more than 2-3 snack bars per week. Please do not choose to eat energy bars as a replacement for wholesome meals on an ongoing basis; they are designed as a snack rather than a meal, regardless of advertising and other marketing ploys.