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” a food to want to eat anymore.
But then Clif Bar & Company did something different. The Mojo bar, marketed as a “sweet and salty trail mix bar,” debuted a couple years back. It 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 the prime influencer.
Mojo bars cost about $1.50 each, which is comparable with the competition. Flavors include chocolate peanut, dipped fruit nut, honey roasted peanut, mixed nut, and a few more.
All are good. But the peanut-butter pretzel flavor is my latest obsession. This bar intermixes peanut-butter filled pretzel chunks with nuts, rice crisps, sunflower oil, and other ingredients. On a long hike, the taste can be sublime.
Clif Bar & Company markets the Mojo as made with 70 percent organic ingredients. They do not contain bioengineered (GMO) ingredients. The bars are even a vegan food 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 10 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 have hit the mainstream. Indeed, the company sells its bars now at places like 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. www.clifbar.com
—Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.