Snack Bar Snafus

I admit to enjoying alliterations.

This is post is for runners and non-runners alike.  Personally, I remember a time when snack bars were always on my grocery list, they were a staple right up there with eggs, and fruit.

When I started running I “justified” this habit even more: “I need them for fuel”.

But eventually the annoying “HalfRD” side of me started weighing in a lot more frequently – and chiding “do you really?”  “what about that fruit, and those eggs?”  “Why aren’t you reading the ingredient’s list?”  “20 g of sugar….seriously?”

My HalfRD side can be SO annoying.  But, she’s almost always right (see what I did there?!) I knew I wasn’t making the BEST decision I could be making, but the CONVENIENCE, the EASE, the FIBER, the PROTEIN.  Each argument above could be matched with: but the COST, the amount of SUGAR, the amount of SWEETENER, and so on.

This was also around the time I got much more into prepping my meals and foods throughout the week, and I found some easy recipes to make energy bars/balls at home.  You can find my Peanut Butter Energy Balls and my DIY Larabars on my blog 😉


Here are some tips on choosing a better snack/energy bar.

Look at the nutrition facts panel:

  • Aim for 10 g of sugar or less per 150 calories
  • Aim for about 5 g of protein for every 100 calories

Read the ingredients list:

  • Sugar and its many names have starring roles in many snack/energy bars
  • Remember: brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, and agave are all sweeteners
  • Opt for bars that are sweetened because fruit has been added – a great example is Larabars- not because sugar was added
  • This is a personal criteria of mine – I don’t like the bars with a crap ton of ingredients- the Mojo bars are about as lengthy as I get.

Up your fiber game:

  • Look for bars that have at least 3 g of fiber
  • Looks for bars that have fruits, nuts, and seeds in them as ingredients to get fiber.

**Note, if you’re a running and looking to incorporate bars into long runs – make sure you can tolerate fiber well before embarking on a long run with a new bar.  For those that want a bar on a long run – I do suggest Larabars as being a decent place to start.

Protein Perfection:

For energy bars ingredients like eggs, nuts & nut butters are really fantastic and natural ways of adding in some protein.  Technically whey protein is a natural byproduct of dairy, but for some it can cause cramping, bloating, and GI upset.



H3RD’s Quick Guide to Snack Bars

I for one am picky about snack/energy bars.  I like them to taste good, and I prefer ones with minimal ingredients.  (All opinions below are my own):

  • Larabars
  • Clif Mojo Bars
  • Epic Bars

These three bars are the ones I go to most for varying reasons, the Epic bars are essentially a beef jerky bar – but I think they are super tasty, and they are really high in protein.

The Mojo bars tend to feel like a treat – I typically try to reserve them for afternoons when I am leaving work and know I’ll be running or at the gym within an hour or two.

The Larabars (store bought or homemade) are really great to kind of pick at – at least for me.  Even though they are small – they take me a bit to eat, so.


Remember > bars can be a really helpful way to get a snack in – but they are not the end all be all.  It is much easier to find a crappy snack bar, than a quality one.  On top of that – the ones that are better quality tend to cost more (which is why I made my own larabars).  Personally snack bars are something I keep on hand for the days, that I know will be insanely busy – they are merely a tool in my arsenal – they are not my arsenal.


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