Energy bars are a popular grab-and-go snack. There are a zillion brands ... how do you know which one to choose? The best one is the one that tastes best to you, suits your food philosophy and settles well in your digestive tract..
Here is a comprehensive—but not complete—list of bars by niche. Perhaps this will help you find one that suits your palate.
All natural/organic (have no added vitamins or minerals):
Clif Nectar, Clif Mojo, Lara Bar, Optimum, TrailMix HoneyBar, Odwalla Bar, PowerBar Nut Naturals, KIND Bars, Zing Bars, NRG-Bar, Honey Stinger Bars, Kashi Bars, Peak Energy, Perfect 10, Gnu Bar, Raw Revolution Bar, Olympic Granola Bar, Pure Bar, Pro bar, Sun Valley Bar
Caffeine-containing bar: Peak Energy Plus
Dairy-free: Clif Nectar, Clif Builder’s, Olympic Granola, Pure Fit, Bonk Breaker, Gnu, Perfect 10, Larabar, AllerEnergy Bar, Soy Rocks Bar
Grocery store options: Nature Valley Granola Bar, Nutri-Grain Bar, Quaker Chewy Bars, Fig Newtons
Gluten-free: Perfect 10, Hammer Bar, EnvirKids Rice Cereal Bar; Omega Smart Bars, Extend Bar Delights, Zing Bar, BoraBora Bar, Wings of Nature Bar, Elev8Mer;Wheat-free but may not gluten-free (due to being processed in a plant that processes gluten-containing wheat): Larabar, Odwalla Bar, Clif Nectar, Clif Builder’s Bar, Bonk Breaker Energy Bar.
Kosher: Pure Fit, Larabar, Extend Bar, Balance Bar
Meal replacement bar (with 10-15 g protein): Kashi Go Lean Bar, MetRx Mr. Big, MetRx Big 100 Colossal, Balance Satisfaction
Nut-free: AllerEnergy Bars, Metaballs
Peanut-free: Soy Rocks, AllerEnergy bar, Larabar
Protein bars (soy, whey, egg, or blended protein source):
PowerBar ProteinPlus, EAS Myoplex Delux, High 5 Protein Bar, Maximuscle Promax Meal, Tri-O-Plex, Clif Builder’s Bar, Detour Bar, Honey Stinger Protein Bar, Pure Protein
Raw food: Raw Revolution, Pure Bar
Recovery bar (4:1 carb:pro ratio): PowerBar Performance
Soy-free: Larabar, Perfect 10, Clif Nectar, KIND Bar, Bumble, Gnu. Raw Bar, Zing Bar, NRG-Bar, AllerEnergy Bar, Zing Bar
Vegan: Pure Fit Bar, Larabar, Hammer Bar, Clif Builder’s Bar, Vega Whole Food Raw Energy Bar, Perfect 10, Soy Rocks Bar
Vitamin+protein-filled candy bar: Marathon Bar, Detour Bar
Women’s bars (fewer calories; soy, calcium, iron, folic acid):
PowerBar Pria, Amino Vital Fit, Luna Bar, Balance Oasis
40-30-30 Bars: Balance Bar, ZonePerfect
To support entrepreneurs who have developed yummy products, buy your bars from www.NRG-Bar.com, www.zingbar.com, www.SunValleyBar.com, and www.OlympicGranola.com. A dad (8 kids!), triathlete, & 4 dietitians will appreciate your purchases!
For a recipe for a homemade energy bar, see my Sports Nutrition Guidebook!