"Nutrition bars," as they're rather ominous-futuristically known, have become a multimillion-dollar industry in the years since that first mealy Power Bar. (Actually, there was something called a Tiger Milk bar waaay back in the '60s, but never mind that.) It was originally envisioned as fuel for athletes, but Type-As in the go-go '80s adopted the Power Bar as a way to stay at their desks for long hours, and the fetishization of skeletal celebs in the '90s led dieters to nibble them instead — low-cal, low-fat, low-fun. Nutrition bars became the blank screen upon which the food trend of the moment was projected. Now there are bars to build muscle, bars to replenish electrolytes, bars as meal replacements (the modern dieter's Slimfast shake).
Thankfully, here in the ohs the trend is organic yumminess — we're over that self-deprivation thing, even if we are still working too late and struggling to lose weight. In the last few years, a new crop of bars has emerged, ones that not only taste like but are made of actual food, with ingredient lists out of the produce aisle, not the laboratory. Luna, Clif and Bumble bars are made of organic seeds, nuts and crisped brown rice with fruit for flavor and a slew of added vitamins and minerals; they're nutritional powerhouses and tasty to boot, but all three do have added sweetener in the form of brown rice syrup. Kind, Lârabar, Jocalat and Luna Nectar are bars of a different stripe: Instead of a mile-long list of additives, these bars are built of five or so succulent dried fruits and nuts, in combinations like lemon vanilla cashew or cocoa mole. Much better than a Power Bar.
(All available at Chamberlin's and Whole Foods, $2 or less)[email protected]