• Energy bars (aka "power" or "sports" bars), were created for marathoners to give them a portable, energy-boosting snack.
• Protein bars are basically just energy bars, but with added protein.
• Diet bars were designed as a meal replacement or snack for people who are dieting. Their calorie and nutritional content varies, depending on the type of weight-loss plan they're intended for.
• Meal replacement bars are intended to fulfill the nutritional value of a low-calorie, but still often high-fat, meal.
To me, they're all just "snack bars," something to you can reach for quickly, and a convenient way to obtain some calories or quiet a growling tummy when traveling, at work, or anytime real food is not available. This means I generally only eat them when hiking or on an airline flight. For my husband, who cannot seem to eat enough food to get the calories he needs, they're a quick, easy way to get some more calories into him in between meals. So he really depends on them much more than I do, and I'm always on the prowl for the next tasty vegan snack bar. Mark will eat one just about everyday, and he likes to eat one specific kind of bar at a time. After a few months he will grow tired of them, and I am off in search of his next replacement bar.
We've been through quite a few of them. Not in any particular order, we've consumed:
Raw Revolution Bars
Ruth's HempPower Bars
Smart Monkey Bars
Just Great Stuff
The very cake-like Optimum Bars are my person favorite, as they seem more like dessert than a snack bar. But as I said, I don't eat them very often. Most recently, Mark has transitioned from Raw Revolution Bars to Just Great Stuff Bars, and my taste buds very much approve of his newest choice!
I love the raw goodness of Lara Bars and Pure Bars, but Just Great Stuff Bars seem to raise the flavor level up a few notches. Betty Lou's, Inc. makes Just Great stuff Bars, and I've found them at stores in three varieties: Organic Fruit & Veggie, Organic Superberry Açai, and Organic Cacao Açai.
See how fruity, nutty, and chewy-looking the Strawberry Açai bar is:
And now I see that they make a fourth flavor, Organic Chocolate Dream Greens, made with dark chocolate, dates, raisins, bananas, cashews, carrot, spinach, kale, and broccoli sprouts. That sounds like a pretty powerful nutritional punch, for a little 180-calorie snack bar! Since I haven't yet seen these in stores, I'll likely be ordering them online!
Not everything Betty Lou's makes is vegan, but they do have some other wonderful vegan snacks, many of which are great for kids, like their Organic Hippy Happy Apple Harmony Bars, (don't you love that name?), and their Gluten-free Strawberry Fruit Bars, which are low in fat and taste like delicious oversized strawberry Fig Newtons.
I also really like their North Shore Smackers—dark chocolate and almond butter patties wrapped around oats, crispy rice, and spirulina, and sweetened with agave and rice syrup taste more like dessert than a snack!
You can order their entire vegan lineup right here.
I was looking for a good bar, but I found Just Great Stuff and a whole lot more! Have you tried Just Great Stuff Bars yet? What's your favorite snack bar?