Walk down the aisle is of any grocery store and you’ll find endless rows of granola, energy, and protein bars. Which one should you choose? Which one truly has ingredients that will fuel your body while still tasting great? There's a plethora of labels exclaiming buzzwords such as "vegan", "paleo", everything from A to Z. Turns out, you can stop at the letter R – for R bars. This local company from my hometown of Tucson, AZ embodies the mantra "less is more" with their simple yet wholesome and energizing R bars.

Inspired by Tucson’s active community of bikers and hikers, founder Brian Cornelius set out to satisfy the collective craving for tasty, nutritious fuel. Most energy bars are notorious for tasting vaguely similar – slightly sweet with a few add-ins and a faint vitamin aftertaste. But due to the fresh, pure ingredients in R bars, they’re bursting vibrant flavor and nutrients. 

Fuel Up

R bars are definitely one of my top picks for pre-workout snacks. Forget the delicious flavors that make you think you’re eating a cookie; if you want to get sciencey, the balance of carbs, proteins, and natural sugars from the fruits and nuts provide sustained energy for any activity. I’m very particular about my pre-run snacks, and R bars tick all the boxes. In fact, one of my favorite running rituals is picking out my flavor of R bar for my run the next morning. The ingenious flavor combos actually get me excited to lace up my shoes and motivate me to run my best. Additionally, my intense cyclist friends have raved to me about how perfect these bars are for their crazy biking adventures. Their portability makes them perfect to stash in a pocket and munch on during a ride.

Flavors + Ingredients

Speaking of flavors, the R bar starter pack comes with ten creative, delicious varieties. This array includes everything from your familiar taste combinations like cinnamon roll and peanut butter and jelly, to more exotic flavors such as prickly pear pecan. My southern Arizona desert roots may be a source of bias, but prickly pear is probably my favorite, followed closely by chocolate espresso. 

One of the most unique aspects of R bars is their ingredients list, or the near lack of ingredients. All of their bars contain seven or fewer ingredients – seven!! Most of the bars actually only contain about three ingredients: dates, nuts, and one additional fruit or spice add-in. This is the ultimate example of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Somehow, they've made dates, cashews, and dried blueberries taste like a fresh blueberry muffin. Additionally, the bars are all vegan and gluten, dairy, soy and GMO-free.

Looking for some extra protein? We’ve all seen the intimidating, lengthy lists of ingredients on typical protein bars. But R bars have none of that in their new Honey Nut Protein Bar. Only dry roasted peanuts, honey, and dates provide 11 grams of natural, plant-based protein. This is probably the most minimalist protein bar that you can find out there, and maybe the best-tasting one too. The sweet honey and dates bind together the peanutty base, creating a healthy, protein-packed bar that tastes like PB+honey sandwiches from your childhood.

If you don't live in the southern Arizona region and don't have access to local R bar vendors, worry not. Head over to their website to order any of these bars, in a variety of flavor packs and combinations. One bite and you'll see why these R letter-ally our new favorite energy snacks.