The 411 on Energy Bars


There is a lot of information out there about how to properly fuel when you're consistently working out. (For example: This article from Runner's World on what foods speed up recovery.)

It's overwhelming because it seems like there are so many different things you can do that it just depends on your body and your own personal taste. I still don't know a lot about fueling during a race and refueling after, but I have been testing out some different energy/protein bars, and I wanted to share my thoughts with you and also see if you had any to recommend.

There are 4 bars I've personally tried that I will talk about in this post. I will rate them all on taste, price, and amount of healthy goodness. 

1. Cliff Bar

I should start with the sad report that the Cliff Bar is listed in this article as a top 10 energy bar to avoid due to its sugar count (6 teaspoons in every bar). Still, seeing it on the list didn't completely surprise me, since the Cliff Bar is freaking DELICIOUS. How good can it be if it tastes that good?

I've tried the chocolate mint flavor and the chocolate, and both are very good. The price per bar is around $1.50 depending on where you go, which isn't cheap, but with 20 grams of protein and yummy chocolate flavor, it's worth it.

2. Lean 15

There are some obvious differences in stats between this and the Cliff Bar. However, the Cliff Bar is 2.4 oz, whereas this is 1.76oz. The price of this bar is $1.50

It's a pretty good taste and compares similarly to a granola bar. For the price and overall taste factor, however, the Cliff Bar wins in my book.

3. Life Choice High Protein Bar

I bought a box of 5 bars at Walmart, and after the first one, I wanted to toss the entire box. I thought it tasted gross. Like, chalky and just really bad. However, as I started writing this post and looking at the nutrition facts, I realized that this bar is smaller than the Cliff Bar and the same size as the Lean 15 and has more protein and half as much sugar as both! 

That fact alone makes these more appealing, but you know what else? After forcing down the first bar, these little guys are growing on me. I still think the Cliff tastes better, but these protein bars aren't too bad. And clearly they're better for you. See the entire nutrition index here.

Plus, price = approximately $.75/bar

4. Power Bar 
Clearly we need to talk about the sugar intake on these bad boys. At 2.29oz, it's a heftier bar than #2 and #3, but it's still smaller than the Cliff Bar and packs in 6 more grams of sugar! 

Still, I am a fan of the Power Bar. It's the perfect snack to carry with you on a long run, because it's dense, almost thick to the point of paste, and it won't crumble apart. The peanut butter was very good. I also have a vanilla crisp flavor that I have yet to try. These cost approximately $1.40/bar.

So what's the takeaway? Personally, for me, Cliff Bars win for overall taste. They're just really good, almost like a candy bar. 

The Life Choice Bar takes some getting used to, but it is the clear favorite for price and nutrition. 

I won't be buying the Lean 15 any time soon. When you consider the cost, taste, and nutrition, you can get more for your money with a different option. 

The Power Bar is a great bar to grab for a long run. One issue: on the front of the package it tells you to eat 1 before, 2 during, and 3 after. At almost $1.50/bar, I want to know who has money for that! And let's not forget the crazy sugar intake. Still, I'm a fan, even if I'll just be eating 1 a day, not 6. 

Now that you've read my thoughts, I would love to know what you think!

What energy/protein bars do you love?

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Jamie said...

I love cliffbars! I will admit that I'm bad about reading labels though, so I'm sad to see there's so much sugar :(

Life of a Little Songbird said...

I like the Power Crunch protein bars. They have wafer cookies inside of them. Only 5 grams of sugar! & they are actually good!

DareDreamTravel said...

I'm a sucker for Quest bars. Low in sugar, high in protein and fibre, and totally kick-ass in general.