Summer is finally here, and with summer comes hiking, biking, picnics, and many other outdoor activities for the whole family. It can be difficult figuring out what to pack for those trips. Often it is easy to grab energy bars or trail mixes for those walks out in the mountains, or for those beautiful bike rides through Fish Creek Park. There are many energy bars out there, and so I want to help you choose the healthy ones! Try out some of these delicious and healthy energy bar options the next time you need to grab a bar before your next high intensity activity!
What should you look for in an energy bar?
- Protein: energy bars should contain protein to fuel those muscles. Some bars may contain whey protein (dairy based), soy protein, or even use hemp or sprouted rice protein. Certain bars may also include chia seeds, salba seeds, or even pea protein to increase the protein content of the bar. Check out the Vega Energy and Vibrancy bars below for a delicious and healthy bar that has some of these great ingredients.
- Energy bars should be a quick and healthy snack-stay away from bars that provide no real nutrients that the body requires during activity.
- Naturally sweetened: look for bars that are sweetened with dried fruit (dates-did you know that dates are a great source of energy for athletes?), agave nectar, and brown rice syrup.
- Watch out for “low carb” bars as they often contain high amounts of artificial sweeteners that confuse the body and often make the person eating them crave more sweet foods.
- They should contain no transfats or hydrogenated oils.
- They should contain some fiber as fiber helps keep you feeling full longer and plays an important role in the digestive system. Healthy energy bars often contain dried fried as a source of fiber as well as to help sweeten the bar.
- Some energy bars contain essential fatty acids-these are fats the body requires and which help promote health. Look for ingredients like hemp seeds or chia seeds.
- Energy bars should taste good!
So what are some bars that are available that I should choose?
Vega Energy Bars provide the body with high quality protein, fats, and carbohydrates that the body needs. They are made entirely from plant based materials, so they are vegetarian and vegan friendly. Each bar contains 10g of protein, which will help fuel the body, and 6g of fiber for overall health and to help keep you feeling full. They are raw and contain no refined sugars or artificial ingredients. The new Vibrancy Bars from the same company contain chia seeds, sprouted buckwheat and sprouted almonds for more protein and nutrients.
Fitsmart Bars are a whey based protein bar that also contains a high amount of fiber. They are great bars for those who are also watching their weight but need to include a bar before or after activity. They contain 10g of protein and 10g of fiber per bar, so they will help keep your energy levels up. Like the Vega bars, these bars are sweetened with dates-dates provide the body with a quick sugar source for activity.
For a soy based protein bar, try The Simply Bar. These bars contain 16g of protein from soy and are sweetened with brown rice syrup and agave nectar. Grab one of these if you like the texture and taste of rice crispy squares.
Another bar I love recommending for people who are doing a high intensity activity is the Elevate Me bars. These bars are high in protein, 16g per bar, in the form of a whey isolate, which is a highly absorbable and usable form of protein for the body. They are natural and are sweetened with dates and other dried fruits.
Check out the recipe section of our website for Sun Energy Bars. These bars contain some protein, fiber, and sugars (from honey) that can help keep energy levels up. Keep them in the freezer and put them in to-go containers on your way out of the house! Our new recipe book has a recipe for chocolate granola bars which would also be a great snack for those long bike rides! So have fun out there in the sun this summer!
Have you tried any of these bars? Let us know what you think of them! And try out some of our recipes-we love feedback!!