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Picking an “Energy” Bar

Yesterday I talked about failing to plan … and being stuck without food when I did that myself.

Well one common "go to" food option for any trip we go on is some type of bar.

"Energy" bar, protein bar, power bar, candy bar…

…they all go by a million different names.  But sorting through the labels, claims, and hype can leave your head spinning.protein bar comparison

Next week we're going to delve into these so called "energy bars" and share some insight into what to look for, what to avoid, and our top picks on the market.

But like we've been doing on our Friday blogs, we wanted to post the question first …

how do YOU choose the bars you eat?

Do you focus on the protein content?  Ingredients?  Calories?  Sugar?

What's YOUR favorite bar?

30 Responses to Picking an “Energy” Bar

  1. JMurphy May 7, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    I love the Nature Valley Omega 3 apple cobbler bar. The calories are pretty low (120) and it's got 5 grams of fiber. And the ingrediants aren't horrendous.
    It's still processed but not the worst out there. The Kashi brand is good too.

  2. Monique May 7, 2010 at 10:04 am #

    I like Lara bars because they only have about 4 ingredients. Most bars are full of fillers and artificial junk. Lara bars do not add any sugar either, which is definetly a plus!

  3. carolyn blalock May 7, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    I've been waiting for this answer!! 

  4. Adam May 7, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    Lara bars all the way. Natural, raw, real, simple.

  5. Amanda Bledsoe May 7, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    I like Larabars and Clif bars, and I agree w/ previous posts: fewer ingredients and less added sugar are what I look for.

  6. Jennifer May 7, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    My favorite bars are by Shaklee. I look for bars that are all-natural & low-glycemic.

  7. Marylou Tyler May 7, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    Zing Bars – A healthy balance of carbs, protein and beneficial fats, but no artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives. No trans fats, synthetic vitamins, or allergy-aggravating gluten, wheat or soy protein.  They're made in Seattle WA and not in very many stores.  MY DEFINITE FAVORITE!

  8. nick May 7, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    The problem with most bars is they contain way too much sugar (not good unless you're using for an endurance event) . Larabars and also Fruit & Nut bars are good. Here is a recipe for no added sugar protein bar. Taste great!

    No Bake Chocolate Protein Bars
    Cooking spray
    1+1/2 cups dry oatmeal (quick cook)
    2 scoops (1/2 cup) chocolate whey/soy protein powder 
    2 Tablespoons flaxseed meal
    1-cup nonfat powdered milk
    ½ cup all natural almond or peanut butter
    2/3 cups of water
    ½ cup raisins
    1-teaspoon vanilla
    ¼ cup 60% cacao chocolate chips
    1.     Lightly spray an 8 x 8 glass-baking dish with cooking spray
    2.     Chop raisins and chocolate chips with knife or in food processor
    3.     In a large bowl mix oatmeal, protein powder, flaxseed meal and powdered milk
    4.     In a separate bowl whisk together nut butter, water and vanilla. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and stir to form sticky dough.
    5.     Use wet hands and knead in raisins and chocolate chips.
    6.     Spread the mixture evenly into prepared baking dish.
    7.     Refrigerate overnight.
    8.     Cut into 9 squares. Wrap individually and store in refrigerator.
     
    Each square is about 200 calories.

  9. eric mader May 7, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    Go Energy Recovery bars – GREAT nutritional make up and tastes awesome. 

  10. Rhonda May 7, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    I look for bars with protein and low sugar.  My two favorite are Pure Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter because who in their right mind does not like chocolate and peanut butter.  Then my second favorite is Pure Protein S'Mores.  It is a great comfort food for me.  I still have dreams about the S'Mores we made as kids.  Not the best out there but definitely not the worse.  Both of these have 2 g. of Sugar and about 200 calories.  It keeps me from eating the pantry when I get home after running errands all afternoon.  I treat them like a candy bar and only allow myself a couple a week.

  11. Raul Duke May 7, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Larabar!

  12. Raul Duke May 7, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    Larabar! 

  13. Kristie Ernspiker May 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    Love the Clif Peanut Butter Bar and also the Blueberry Crisp.  Something good for an on the go breakfast or lunch time snack!

  14. Jim May 7, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    Good old fashioned Milky Way…but not frequently!!!

  15. allison May 7, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    Larabars are great, but when I want protein I eat Thinkthin creamy peanut butter or Met-Rx (the small size) bars. I am basically looking for a bar with no sugar.

  16. Lark May 7, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    I like making my own Energy Bars at this site: http://www.youbars.com/buildabar/
    You put in what you want, they prepare, wrap, and ship (and you can set up automatic shipments if you prefer). You know what goes into the bar and it's custom made to your taste preferences. Such a deal! All natural and custom made.

  17. Frank May 7, 2010 at 7:24 pm #

    My favorite is StandardBar by Standard Process in Palmyra,Wi.  They are low fat, low net carbs and high in protein. Sugar is only 2 gm. They have healthy ingredients and have a nice chewy texture. They are hard to find as they only sell their bars to health care professionals. They have been a lifesaver on my weight loss journey. Chris and Kara I'm interested in what you think of these bars.
    http://www.standardprocess.com

  18. Frank May 7, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

    My favorite is StandardBar by Standard Process in Palmyra,Wi.  They are low fat, low net carbs and high in protein. Sugar is only 2 gm. They have healthy ingredients and have a nice chewy texture. They are hard to find as they only sell their bars to health care professionals. They have been a lifesaver on my weight loss journey. Chris and Kara I'm interested in what you think of these bars.
     www.standardprocess.com

  19. Dave F May 7, 2010 at 7:59 pm #

    Now, I want to eat bars with simple, natural ingredients and ideally low sugar. Lara bars are good but not enough protein. I have been eating Vega bars, but they add sugar (agave nectar)…so, I don't know what to do.  I have heard of youbars, but didn't know anyone who ever ate one.
    I'm looking forward to hearing what the Mohrs have to say.  

  20. Anna May 7, 2010 at 8:05 pm #

    you have to watch out with those pure protein bars when you look at the amount of saturated fat

  21. Pam May 8, 2010 at 1:52 am #

    I've steered away from Larabars because of the sugar-usually about 22 gm per bar-wow! that's a lot of sugar, naturalor not.  I pick bars for fiber, protein and low sugar.  Actually like SouthBeach Peanut Butter Protein bars.

  22. tammy May 9, 2010 at 7:00 am #

    I love Zero Impact bars not too many ingredients, low sugar and natural, high in calories but I have only 1/2 at a time and I love the pumpkin spice.

  23. Natalie May 9, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    I LOVE the Organic Food Bars, particularly the Omega-3 Flax and Cranberry.  Although agave is used, the ingredients are pretty great.  I feel really good and satisfied when I eat it for a snack or meal replacement when I'm traveling (especially when I only have McDonald's for food options).  I also like that it has 9-10 g of protein.

  24. Steve May 9, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    My favorite are the Zone Pefect bars especially the almond raisin bar.  They have all have at least 10grams of protein, good quality carbs and essential fat (mosyly unsatirated) and they taste great.  No cardboard, wallpaper paste or sacrafice here.

  25. Alexis Gaston May 14, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    My favorites and ones that I suggest to my clients are Lara Bars, Cliff Bars, Luna Bars and most Kashii Bars…well and then there’s the Cascadian Farms Bars…
    I want to know WHAT I’m eating…clean, natural ingredients…no chemicals, no preservatives.
    My favorite Lara Bar is the Apple Pie, Cliff Bars are the P-Nut Butter, Luna Bars (Not my favorite but will do when I’m in a major crunch – Nutz over Chocolate), Kashii Bars – Trail Mix , Cascadian Farms (haven’t eaten them as much…but another healthy choice…for a quick fix)…
    Has anyone ever tried Bobo Oat Bars (Apricot, Cinnamon Raisin and there’s also a Banana one)
    http://www.bobosoatbars.com (they’re REALLY good!)
    Eat clean, eat healthy…feel GREAT! :^)

    • Alexis Gaston May 14, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

      Hey…I’m replying to my post…or actually “p.s. ing” to my post…
      those bobo’s oat bars are 2 servings per package – so don’t let ‘em fool you.

      But, I agree with the other posts about the fewer the ingredients…the better. Lara Bars!

  26. Kelly December 23, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    I absolutely love the Lean Lifestyles Healthy Cuisine All Natural Premium Energy Bars! They are made in a kitchen by a registered Dietician not in a lab. All the ingredients can be easily read and recognized!! There are three different flavors to include raw almond butter with blueberries and cranberries, natural peanut butter with apples and raisins, and natural peanut butter with cranberries. The sweetener in the bars is local, natural honey. It has the correct balance of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats to keep the hunger away. I would not leave home without these in my car or purse. They can be found in some stores (locally Paul’s Fruit Market), fitness centers, and can be ordered via mail. The website address is http://www.leanlifestyleshc.com.

  27. wolf June 30, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    core bars by core foods..

    http://www.corefoods.com

    raw organic, food, no sweeteners, flours or added oil.

    no honey, agave or any sweeteners. 5 ingredients.

  28. Christi Smith August 17, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    Christi’s Hiker Bars

    I eat gluten free, no sugar, no dairy. I created this recipe to support that as well!

    ½ cup Smart Balance Omega Chunky Peanut Butter
    1/3 cup butter stick, softened
    2 med bananas mashed or 2 apples
    ½ cup Black Strap Molasses
    1 cup Grade B Maple Syrup (Trader Joe, Whole Foods) or Agave nectar
    2 tsp vanilla
    4 organic free roaming eggs
    Half can pure pumpkin
    ¼ cup applesauce no sugar added
    _____________
    1 tsp cinnamon
    ¼ tsp ginger (optional)
    2/3 cup brown rice flour
    1 1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    ¼ tsp baking soda
    ¼ cup Organic whole grain ground Golden Flaxseed Meal
    ______________
    4 cups Barbara’s Bakery Organic Corn flakes, crushed or any GF cereal
    6 oz chocolate chips (optional)
    1 cup Spanish peanuts (chopped)
    8 oz Dates, chopped

    Preheat oven 350*
    Mix peanut butter and butter. Mix in bananas, molasses, syrup and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Add pumpkin and bit of applesauce.
    Stir in cereal. Mix dry ingredients and mix into batter. Add chips (optional), peanuts and dates. (I put nuts and dates in food processor and chop together good.)
    Pour batter into greased 9×13 pan for thicker bars or **cookie sheet (w/ edges) for thinner bars** (I like that best!).
    Bake 35-45 minutes (more for thick, less time for thin). Until knife inserted comes out clean.
    Cool and cut into bars. Can freeze.

    Very calorie dense. One bar a day, preferably POST exercise.

  29. Christi Smith August 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    I always make my own………
    ______________________________________

    Christi’s Hiker Bars

    I eat gluten free, no sugar, no dairy. I created this recipe to support that as well!

    ½ cup Smart Balance Omega Chunky Peanut Butter
    1/3 cup butter stick, softened
    2 med bananas mashed or 2 apples
    ½ cup Black Strap Molasses
    1 cup Grade B Maple Syrup (Trader Joe, Whole Foods) or Agave nectar
    2 tsp vanilla
    4 organic free roaming eggs
    Half can pure pumpkin
    ¼ cup applesauce no sugar added
    _____________
    1 tsp cinnamon
    ¼ tsp ginger (optional)
    2/3 cup brown rice flour
    1 1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    ¼ tsp baking soda
    ¼ cup Organic whole grain ground Golden Flaxseed Meal
    ______________
    4 cups Barbara’s Bakery Organic Corn flakes, crushed or any GF cereal
    6 oz chocolate chips (optional)
    1 cup Spanish peanuts (chopped)
    8 oz Dates, chopped

    Preheat oven 350*
    Mix peanut butter and butter. Mix in bananas, molasses, syrup and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Add pumpkin and bit of applesauce.
    Stir in cereal. Mix dry ingredients and mix into batter. Add chips (optional), peanuts and dates.
    Pour batter into greased 9×13 pan for thicker bars or cookie sheet (w/ edges) for thinner bars.
    Bake 35-45 minutes (more for thick, less time for thin). Until knife inserted comes out clean.
    Cool and cut into bars. Can freeze.

    Very calorie dense. One bar a day, preferably POST exercise.

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