Don’t get me wrong, I love real foods…but I always carry “bars” with me, because you just never know what life will throw at you. Situations like when your first flight is late coming in so you literally have to run to catch your next plane, you take a cab to the hotel and the restaurant is already closed for the evening, or when you’re surfing and the waves are so good you’re just not ready to take a lunch break – but you need some fuel.
The wide assortment of bars suit different taste profiles – and can be used in an array of scenarios. Keep in mind that most contain at least 200 calories – a lot of “fuel” for many people. You might consider fueling with just a half bar. Here’s the run-down of some of the bars I’ve seen recently with categories:
Simple bars – my favorites for their simplicity….
- Lara Bars (the Original Fruit & Nut Food Bar) – many, but not all, of the Lara bars consists of just fruit and nuts. I like the simplicity of that – and soooo many flavors. For example, their Cashew Cookie (one of my favs) consists of just cashews and nuts squished up together. While there is some texture to the bars, you can’t see whole pieces. Gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free…around 200 calories with 4-6g protein and about 3-4g fiber. You can feel good about these bars because they contain real food.
- Kit’s Organic Fruit & Nut Bar – this bar, produced by Clif, was new for me. Looks very similar to the Lara bars, except I’ve noticed they added a bit of salt to the bars.
Sticky bars – many people prefer this texture instead…
- Quaker Real Medleys – starting with a base of multigrain cereal, Quaker adds nuts, fruit, sugar and syrups, and more…for a 170 calorie bar with 4g protein and 2g fiber. Soft and chewy with small pieces of oats, nuts and fruit.
- Truebar – like the Medleys, this bar is soft and chewy. And like the Medleys, because of its added sugars (including brown rice syrup and cane juice), it has pulls like a bar with honey added. About 160 calories with 3g protein and 3g fiber.
- Kind Bars – at around 200 calories, these bars also have the honey-like pull of the Truebars and Medleys, but the nut and fruit pieces are larger including larger pieces of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
Higher protein bars – I often reach for these first two when I feel like I need more protein (for more “lasting” energy between meals…
- Nature Valley Protein Bars – in just 3 flavors, these bars contain 10g protein (soy and whey) in a “crunchy chewy” (their words) format. My favorite is the Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate with whole pieces of nuts with a slightly sticky pull…topped with dark chocolate. Contains 190 calories and 5g fiber.
- Zing – With 200 calories, 10g protein, and 5g protein, these gluten-free, vegan bars offer the same “squished up” texture as the Fruit & Nut bar listed above…but with more protein (rice protein and pea protein).
- Power Crunch – at 200 calories and 13g protein, this bar looks like a large creme filled wafer cookie. Just 10g carbs and 1g fiber so it’s best used as a protein replacement.
Gatorade Recover Protein Bar – at 350 calories (and 20g protein), this bar is designed for the serious athlete who needs a quick source of calories and nutrients after an intense workout. Sure, a real meal is needed…but sometimes it’s just not available quite yet.