Not so long ago, perhaps somewhere a few days down a trail on a backpacking trip, I gave up on the food category known as "energy bars." After years of eating bars from a dozen different companies, something clicked. All of a sudden, bars--calorie-rich and oh-so-convenient in the outdoors--started to seem too sweet, too chewy, and too "fake."
But then Clif Bar & Company did something different. It put out the Mojo bar, marketed as a "sweet and salty trail mix bar," a couple years back, which has steadily grown on me ever since.
The "salty" part of the equation is key. So much packaged food for athletics and outdoors pursuits hinges on a sugary taste. With the Mojo bars, which come in various flavors, a nutty, salty taste is dominant.
Mojo bars cost about $1.50 each, comparable with the competition. Flavors include chocolate peanut, dipped fruit nut, honey roasted peanut, mixed nut, and a couple other options.
The peanut-butter pretzel is my latest obsession. It's got peanut-butter filled pretzel chunks, nuts, rice crisps, sunflower oil, and other ingredients. On a long hike, the taste can be sublime.
Clif Bar & Company (clifbar.com) markets the Mojo as made with 70 percent organic ingredients, none of which are bioengineered (GMO). The barscould be vegan, except for the honey-roasted peanut and chocolate peanut flavors, which contain organic honey (a non-vegan product of bees).
Nutritionally, each bar has about eight to ten grams of protein, around eight grams of fat, and around 180 calories, depending on the flavor. For me, the bars provide a good caloric and nutrient mix for about one
hour's worth of activity. (I aim to eat 200 to 300 calories of "energy food" per hour when active.)
Mojo bars are by no means a niche product. They've hit the mainstream. Indeed, the company sells its bars now at Whole Foods, Safeway, Target, REI, and Wal-Mart. If you're tired of traditional energy bars--or want a saltier side to your grab-and-go food for a trip--I recommend giving the Mojo a try.
--Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.