Raise The (Food) Bar

03/28/2008 02:48 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

We despise bars. No, we're not talking about Hershey Bars and definitely not cocktail bars. We are talking about food bars -- putrid protein bars, grainy granola bars, and especially the depressing "meal replacement" bars. It doesn't matter what they are labeled, they are all awful, and unfortunately they are everywhere!

We believe that unless you are an astronaut or hiking Mt. Everest, there is absolutely no reason to ever rip open one of these bars. They upset us for many reasons, but mostly because we want you to eat real food, whether you're dieting, in a hurry, or just confused about food in general. Here are our top 5 incentives for you to throw those bars out the window as we help you raise the bar on what you consider a meal.

Bar the Bar #1: Time

Has life really gotten so busy that we have to throw our meals into our purse or our glove box and scarf them down in an elevator or at a stoplight? Really? Seriously, are we so crazed that we feel the need to mush protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals, chemicals, and fake chocolate into something smaller than a slice of bread and drier than a Saltine cracker, eat it in four bites and call that lunch? Have we lost our zest for life so much that we'd rather grab a handful of Balance Bars at the market than a few pretty pieces of fruit, a bag of almonds or hunk of cheese? We don't think so.

It's completely possible to find the time to eat real food instead of a processed bar. Think about it - it takes the exact same amount of time and energy to wash a fibrous apple and open a piece of protein-packed cheese as it does to unwrap a sugar-filled granola bar. The apple and cheese are so much better for you and will keep you full for hours longer than the chemicals in that bar. So start making time for your body, and it will thank you later.

Bar the Bar #2: Flavor

You can lie to yourself all you want, but you can't lie to us. We know that food bars do not taste good. Some of them might taste okay - we'll give you that. They are tolerable, but we don't believe that you should have to tolerate your food. We think that every man and every Hot Chick should eat the foods they love! You can love pizza or steak or ice cream, but we don't believe that you really love meal replacement bars. Why be so cruel to your taste buds? Why make yourself chew and swallow undersized, condensed "food" that tastes chalky and fake? You may have forgotten this in your quest to start eating healthy or as you've tortured yourself with every diet on the planet, but we are here to tell you that you should actually enjoy every morsel that you put into that hot little mouth of yours. There are a zillion different flavors our there in the universe and all food bars come in one flavor - mud. Bring your taste buds back to life with something (anything) more exciting than that.

Bar the Bar #3: Calories

There are just as many calories in a typical protein bar as there are in a Snickers bar. Seriously, read the labels. You might as well eat a candy bar with your coffee for breakfast instead of that "healthy" bar. Now, the candy bar may have a bit more fat or sugar, but calorie for calorie they are all pretty much the same. And remember, it doesn't really matter where our calories come from. At the end of the day, it's the number of calories we consume that determines whether we gain, lose or maintain our weight, so be smart about your calorie intake. Save those calories for food - food that you enjoy, like a cheesy omelet, a turkey sandwich, a slice of pizza, an apple dipped in peanut butter, or an ice cream cone. Get our point? Bars are a waste of our precious daily calories, so stop wasting your time (and calories) on them and start eating these real foods instead.

Bar the Bar #4: Ingredients

Have you looked at the list of ingredients in that bar you normally eat? Most of the stuff may sound healthy, like "soy protein nuggets" or "brown rice syrup," but it's really not very good for you. Brown rice syrup is just a fancy name for sugar. It's glorified corn syrup, and corn syrup is one of the worst things we humans can put into our bodies. (You can practically run a car off of corn syrup - Al Gore's working on it.) The bars that say they have zero carbohydrates are even worse for you.

All that means is that they're filed with even more crazy chemicals and additives. None of this processed crap is good for our bodies; it just slows us down and makes us hungrier. And the bars that claim to be organic or raw or vegan or whatever are no better. The other day we made the mistake of eating half of some organic peanut butter raw food bar and it was one of the biggest mistakes of our life. It made us nauseous, and when we looked at the ingredients we realized why. No joke - this thing contained raw unheated pollinated honey, milk protein, dried egg protein, tomato powder, rice polishing, and freaking EGG SHELL, plus peanut butter, sunflower seeds, date, fig, bell pepper, sea lettuce and olive oil. Um, yuck.

Bar the Bar #5: Cost

Yes, a meal replacement bar may be cheaper than a night out at a restaurant, but it's definitely not the least expensive way of eating. These ridiculous protein bars now cost around $3 each. For $3, you could also buy any of the following: two slices of pizza, about seven bananas, two cupcakes, half a sandwich, two ginormous tubs of oats, a small Pinkberry, five Snickers bars, two dozen eggs, etc. etc. etc.

We're not really here to give you financial advice; we just really don't want you to fall for the idea that you'll be richer and thinner and happier if you stop eating food and instead open your mouth and insert bar. It isn't true. Being a Hot Chick (or a hot guy) is all about fun and passion, and removing food from the equation certainly takes something away from the experience of life. In this case, you can have it all - real food, taste, and change left over for dessert (or at least a chocolate bar). Enjoy!