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Energy Bars: The Topic


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I generally avoid these things, but on trips they are a cheap, portable alternative to the sort of expensive, crappy transit food that you find in airports, on planes, and so on.

At the store preparing for a road trip to NYC last weekend, I grabbed a bunch of Clif bars on sale. I like the peanut butter and black cherry almond best, though the family devoured the cool mint chocolate" ones.

They aren't the greatest things in the world, though, so I'm eager to hear your recommendations. Surely there are better versions out there....

Chris Amirault

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I actually like the Genisoy chocolate fudge bars. I'm a bit happier with the ingredient list on the Larabar Jocalat chocolate coffee bar, however, which is much more pleasant than you expect; I have at least one of these per day (and have been know to subsist on them) when I'm in the US (I'm specific about the flavours, because they're pretty much the only ones I eat, so I've no accurate idea of what the others are like).

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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I actually have very specific requirements when it comes to energy bars and I know that they won't apply to everyone:

1. They must be lactose free

2. Low in net carbs

3. High in protein

4. Be substantial - can't feel like you just eaten air

5. Taste good

Hard to find all of these in one bar!

The only bar that I have found that meet this criteria is the Powerbar ProteinPlus Reduced Sugar Chocolate Peanut Butter bar.

When I'm not doing the low carb thing or just can't find anything else, I will usually choose a Cliff Bar.

Mark

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They aren't the greatest things in the world, though, so I'm eager to hear your recommendations. Surely there are better versions out there....

Not so much, really. Clif bars rule among cyclists. They have a good protein/carb mix for long rides, and are less nasty tasting than other types. I usually have one or two in my bag. Some of the other super-high-protein bars are better if you're doing a weight-training regimen, but for my purposes I prefer the Clif bar.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

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I often keep a supply of Clif bars in my office as an occasional lunch option, usually washed down with a milk/chocolate soy milk mixture I bring from home. As you mentioned, they're great for flights and road trips. I lucked into a bunch of the cool mint chocolate at Big Lots a couple of months ago, so I perfectly understand its appeal. I'll have to check out the Powerbar that mgaretz mentioned, though.

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I buy Clif bars by the case from Costco. I consume them on mornings that I do long endurance runs because they digest quickly and I don't give me tummy turmoil. They also taste pretty good, no strange textures or flavours; they're more granola bar-y than some of the other energy bars out there.

Larabars are decent too and I like them because of the natural ingredients. They take longer to digest, though, so I eat them for snacks or after work outs.

Edited by Beebs (log)
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I like the peanut chocolate chip and the chocolate chip Clif bars. I bought some of these to take with me when I travel.

Larabars are decent and very natural but I tend to not be able to forget that they are mostly dates or figs (at least the ones I have had) - but that's ok cause I like dates and figs.

I used to eat Luna bars and they weren't too bad. I mostly stuck to the chocolate varieties (s'mores for one) and I think they also had a peanut butter cookie one that was decent. However, the texture of the coatings can be a little waxy and does bring to mind carob more than anything.

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There's a world of options out there if you're willing to go a bit out of the way. A good natural foods store should have a large variety; try them all out. I like many other bars better than Clif bars, my major criteria are: 1. it must be food; 2. it must be tasty; 3. it must be functional. (I do ultra-long-distance cycling and I need a high rate of constant energy refueling with no digestion issues. I may eat 10-15 bars or more on a ride so I also need variety.)

Some particular recommendations: Paleotreats, Steve's Original Paleokrunch, and Love Force bars. They're arguably much better for you, and I certainly think they're much better tasting. The Paleotreats brownie in particular is absolutely divine, and at the bar-ish end of things the Love Force bars are delicious. I would happily eat those Paleotreats brownies for dessert even when I'm not riding.

Availability is mostly online, though I've found Love Force at a local natural foods co-op.

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I may eat 10-15 bars or more on a ride so I also need variety.)

Geez, I think if I were going to use that kind of quantity I'd make my own. Even at a buck a piece Clif bars get expensive. Could just mix up a batch of gorp, slather some chocolate over it, and be done with it. Heck, that's basically what we'd do back in my younger days when I went out hiking in the mountains.

Edited by Moopheus (log)

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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  • 2 weeks later...

I like the Mojo bars better than Clif, but I think they are made by the same company. I like a bit more crunch than what clif delivers I guess. But I also hardly ever eat these things.

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Energy bars are among the easiest things to make, about 30 minutes and I have enough for 3 months and a lot cheaper too, don't really see the point in buying them, but then again i never saw one that tasted good, so that may skew my view on things.

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Energy bars are among the easiest things to make, about 30 minutes and I have enough for 3 months and a lot cheaper too, don't really see the point in buying them, but then again i never saw one that tasted good, so that may skew my view on things.

Please share your recipe! I've been wanting to make my own energy bars, just never got around to searching out a good recipe. I'm running low on my Clif bar stash, so now's a good time to start.

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Energy bars are among the easiest things to make, about 30 minutes and I have enough for 3 months and a lot cheaper too, don't really see the point in buying them, but then again i never saw one that tasted good, so that may skew my view on things.

I would be pleased to have your recipe. We could use a really bang-up travel bar. We have tried Clif bars and found them most unpalatable.

Darienne

 

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I have a few and I generally just improvise.

The basis is just rolled oats (at least I believe that's what the English word is, we call it havervlokken : picture) bound with some honey. Just heat up some honey and combine it with flour until it has gone from a really fluid state to about as sticky as molasses, then mix in the oats and other dry ingredients and let it cool in a cookie sheet.

For general "snack" bars I just add whatever dried fruits I have around and I generally coat about a third of them in chocolate for when I have a sweet tooth.

For exercise snacks when I need the protein, I add peanut butter to the honey (if you do this, you'll have to add less flour) and protein shake to the dry ingredients and some brown sugar for a short sugar boost while I'm exercising.

Then I have my special, Night Oil bars, I work in IT and every once in a while I need to make an allnighter, these are for those special times when you need all the help staying awake. I add a coffee paste using espresso thickened with potato starch (you can use corn starch, but you won't get a nice glossy finish), then I add powdered caffeine and powdered Guarana, then I spike it with a boatload of extra sugar for the rush and coat it with chocolate. These puppy's made me very popular on many a LAN-party!

Edited by Deus Mortus (log)

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them."

-Winston Churchill

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It sounds like what you are making is roughly equivalent to what is sold here as granola bars. Do you find that when they are done they are sticky or does the flour keep them from being too hard to handle?

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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Ah, I didn't know there was a difference between the two, in which case I don't think there are actually any energy bars sold here in holland.

The flour keeps them pretty non-sticky, but on really hot summer days they do get a bit sticky, they are still very edible, but I would recommend wrapping them if you are going to carry them in your back pocket and not make the mistake I did, leaving them in my bag in a car standing in the sun for a couple of hours, but outside of the really extreme temperatures I don't have any problems with them.

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them."

-Winston Churchill

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KIND bars rule. They might not meet your protein/fat ratio at 190 cal, 13 g fat, 12 g sugar, and 3 g protein, but they taste good.

I've recently tried Perfect Food Bars- less shelf stable, 309 cal, 17 g fat, 17 g sugar, and 17 g protein. Half of one is plenty. Soy and gluten free for extra points.

I've burned out on Clif, Luna and Lara bars - but would eat one in an emergency. Like at the airport.

Edited by tsquare (log)
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