Although there is no definitive answer as to who actually invented the snack bar in the US, it is clear that it started with some healthy granola in a kitchen that ended up in bar form. They became popular in the 1980’s by athletes and fitness enthusiasts. They typically contained cereal grains, nuts, protein powders, sweeteners, fats or dried fruits. It was deemed a healthy and convenient, on-the-go snack that provided quick energy on demand. You would typically find them in the health food section of the grocery store.
Today, you can find snack bars in several grocery store aisles, like cereal, snacks, health food, and even in the candy aisle. You can also find them in gas stations, convenience stores, pharmacies, gyms and grocery stores. We have a variety of flavors to choose from, such as peanut butter banana with dark chocolate, s’mores, blueberry cashew, lemon meringue, and so many, many more. They sound divine!
Snack bars are deemed to be healthy snacks for when you are on the go. It’s no wonder snack bars are all the rage! You can throw them in your bag, have some on hand in the car, quick snack when you’re out and unable to eat a meal, they don’t require refrigeration. The global market for protein bars is growing quickly and expected to surpass more than $2 billion by the end of 2026, according to the financial analysis site, MarketWatch.
What’s the catch? Many snack bars are highly processed, high in salt, and loaded with sugar. “Many protein bars are really just candy bars with a lot more protein,” said Dr. Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Would you purchase a box of candy bars to have on hand as quickly as you would a box of snack bars (also known as nutrition and/or protein bars)? Probably not.
You want to pay attention to the nutritional content of the snack bars you choose. Check the grams of added sugar and protein, as well as the number of calories. Look at the ingredients. Nuts and fruit are good. What about the other items? It is good to be informed. You might want to take a look at your go-to snack bar and compare it to sweets such as candy bars, cookies, and bakery items. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not saying don’t eat snack bars. They have all of the conveniences I mentioned above. You just might want to rethink whether or not you are eating something healthy for you. If that’s your goal – verify the ingredients or grab a healthy snack such as a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts.