Raising the Bar: Bobo’s Oat Bars are Half Power, Half Dessert, All Delicious.
Processed food has a bad reputation, thanks to Twinkies and Spam. So it’s refreshing to see a whole new crop of food bars that are easy and energizing, but also nutritious. Bobo’s Oat Bars walk the middle path on the continuum between cookie (tasty, not so healthy) and powerbar (packed with athletic-inducing nutrients, not so tasty). Small and square, they’re a perfect fit for the side pocket of your Camelback, school lunchboxes, or your car glove compartment. Here’s how Bobo’s rates on the questions most vital to foodbar lovers everywhere:
Taste: Bobo’s have the satisfying consistency of a Chewy Granola Bar or a cookie fresh out of the oven. They’re never hard or crispy and the flavor (you can choose from nine of them—my favorites were coconut and banana) comes from real fruit and never tastes artificial.
Nutrition: Heavier on carbs than protein, Bobo’s are great for long hikes and strenuous exercise that demands an extra boost of energy. Whole grain oats do provide some protein (about six grams per bar), and are healthier than the heavily processed ingredients in most athletic bars. After oats, the two most common ingredients are brown rice syrup, which is a sweetener, and Earth Balance, a vegan butter substitute. Which means that if you’re not heading out for some exercise, these bars are a delicious and decadent treat (which might head straight for your hips.) Bobo’s are also 100% organic, vegan and non-GMO.
Digestibility: When I wasn’t absolutely famished, I found myself getting full after only half or a third of a bar. When I was famished, I finished a bar off in about 30 seconds and then suddenly felt…very…full. The good news is that each bar packs a lot of power, so you only need to take one or two on very long hikes. And unlike nut-focused food bars, they’re easy on the digestive tract (read: no gas) and don’t sit in your stomach, so you can easily get back on the move as soon as you’ve snacked.
Sustainability: This woman-owned company (hurrah!) is named in honor of Bobo, the founder’s teenage daughter, who helped develop the brand. By using organic, non-GMO and vegan ingredients, these bars support sustainable agriculture as well as good health. But as with every other food bar I know of, the wrapper is plastic and non-recyclable (will some eco-minded inventor please come up with an alternative!), so be sure to stick it in your pocket instead of tossing on the trail.
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