Do you know that we spend more than $1.5 billion each year on energy bars? Energy bars are a favorite among bikers. And that’s no surprise. Energy bars fuel your body, power up your performance and help you recover. But choosing one can be daunting. There are a lot of energy bars on the market today, enough for you to try one brand a week!
The Best Energy Bars For 2020
Pure Protein Bar Variety Pack
This pack gives your 18 Pure Protein bars (6 chocolate peanut butter, 6 chocolate deluxe, and 6 chewy chocolate chip). Each pack contains 20g of protein to fuel even your most intense ride and help your muscles recover afterward.
Pure Protein bars contain whey protein — a high-quality protein derived from milk. Whey protein provides all the essential amino acids that your body requires during muscle repair and buildup. How you feed your body when biking makes a huge difference! Packed with protein and loaded with tasty flavors, Pure Protein bars help your crush even the toughest cycling ascents in the US!
Quest Protein Bar
Need enough energy to help you last through a century ride? Quest Protein Bar comes in a tasty oatmeal chocolate chip flavor. It’s packed with gluten-free oats, cinnamon, and sugar-free chocolate chunks to provide you 20g of protein, 5g of carbs, 1g of sugar, and 16g of fiber per bar. A keto-friendly energy bar, Quest Protein Bar has zero added sugars and are made from quality ingredients.
Gatorade Prime Fuel Bar
From the official sports drink of the NBA, Gatorade Prime Fuel Bar is packed with energy-releasing carbohydrate to fuel your road bike adventures! This 60g bar comes with 45g of carbohydrates to energize your muscles and 5g of protein to aid in repair and recovery.
Designed specifically for athletes, this energy bar is made to fill you up without leaving you weighed down or bloated. Formulated and tested at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, the Gatorade Prime Fuel Bar is trusted by pros in the NBA, MLB, NFL, and more!
The Gatorade Prime Fuel Bar comes in several flavors including peanut butter chocolate, honey oat, oatmeal raisin, and chocolate chip.
All-Natural Gourmet Honey Bars by Honey Bunchies
Honey Bunchies’ award-winning recipe makes this breakfast bar a crowd favorite. All ingredients are natural: nuts and kernels are flavored with milk, butter, vanilla, tapioca syrup, and unfiltered honey. Honey Bunchies always makes sure to keep synthetic substances and unnecessary sugar away from their products, so you can be sure that your body gets the most out of what Mother Nature has to offer.
Of course, these tasty bars are also naturally soy-free, grain-free, and gluten-free.
Health benefits are not exempt from this energy bar. With 42% of the All-Natural Gourmet Honey Bar made of pure unfiltered honey, the risks of cardiovascular and digestive diseases can be lowered. You can take one as a breakfast supplement or as an endurance boost before you exercise.
Made with: Honey (42% by weight), sunflower kernels (sunflower oil, salt), milk, butter (pasteurized cream, salt), tapioca syrup, peanuts, pecans, vanilla.
Trishmoves Salted Dark Chocolate Cherry Running Bar
If you’re an avid biker, then this energy bar is for you! Trishmoves bars are formulated by likeminded folks who consider running a way of life. In total, the ingredients provide you with 200 calories (and no added sugar) to kickstart your run. The 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio and low fiber content is ideal for endurance workouts. And if you’re practicing a vegan diet, this is the energy bar for you!
For optimal effect, take one bar per hour of exercise.
Made with: Organic cashew butter, organic dates, cherries, organic almond butter, 100% cacao chocolate chips, chia seeds, sunflower lecithin, Himalayan pink salt, organic ginger. May contain traces of peanuts, soy, egg, milk, and wheat.
Gluten-free Granola Breakfast Bar by This Bar Saves Lives
This energy bar not only helps you, but it also helps children in need too! With their philosophy, “We eat together,” the simple act of buying a bar from This Bar Saves Lives allows the company and their partners to deliver nutritious food called “Plumpy Nut” to areas where food is not readily available for everyone.
This Bar Saves Lives practices conscious consumerism by following fair trade and bee-friendly guidelines. Their bars come in eight amazing flavors: Dark Chocolate Cherry, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Coconut Madagascar Vanilla Almond & Honey, Wild Blueberry Pistachio, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Maple Pecan, and Kids Chocolate Chip. The calorie count varies per bar but is within the range of 160-190 cal.
Made with: Nut, seed, and dried fruit mix, varying fruits, and syrups (according to flavor), chicory root fiber, honey, crisp rice, toasted oats, sunflower oil, sea salt, non-GMO sunflower lecithin, vegetable glycerine, natural flavor, citric acid. Contains traces of milk, wheat, eggs, and soy.
Taos Mountain Energy Bar
Here’s a unique flavor for you. Taos Mountain Energy is known for the Almond Agave variant of their energy bars, which features slivered almonds and sweet agave. It is soft and chewy like a cookie. With 264 calories contained in rolled oats and chia seeds, you’ll have enough energy to power through a rigorous bike ride. Taos Mountain Energy bars are gluten-free, organic, and vegan.
Made with: Agave, gluten-free oats, sliced almonds, almond butter, raisins, coconut oil, chia seeds, coconut flakes, flax seed meal, dried cranberries (cranberries, sugar, sunflower oil), cinnamon, sea salt.
MetaBall Energy Bites
Energy can come in bite-size balls too! MetaBall Energy Bites were formulated by Dr. Susan Abramson, a biochemist, and mother of three when her quest for nut-free snacks proved futile. These Energy Bites come in resealable bags containing 10 g of a plant-based/vegan protein blend of yellow pea protein and brown rice protein.
These energy balls are for everyone – they are free of common allergens like nuts, soy, wheat, eggs, dairy, fish and other seafood components, and sesame. Energy is stored in slow-burning complex carbohydrates and polyunsaturated fats so a single bag can easily carry you through a tough day.
Made with: Protein concentrate blend (brown rice and yellow pea), gluten-free whole grain oats, brown rice syrup, vegetable glycerin, sugar, water, ground sunflower seeds, yacon syrup, freeze-dried apple powder (apple juice concentrate and puree, maltodextrin from non-GMO corn, silica to prevent caking), rice flour, cocoa butter, sunflower lecithin (less than 2%), mixed tocopherols (vitamin e), sea salt, non-GMO corn protein glaze, natural flavors.
Tahoe Trail Bar
The Tahoe Trail Bar is a classic addition to any exercise inventory. Created in 1995 in a coffee shop by Lake Tahoe, this energy bar is loved by many because of its wholesome recipe. It was conceptualized as an homage to the mountains, so it is perfect for people who love the outdoors. What was originally a mix of chocolate chunks, peanut butter, and oats has expanded into a selection of flavors (mango coconut and dark chocolate berry).
The bar packs in 220 calories using vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and all-natural ingredients.
Made with: Brown rice syrup, gluten-free oats, crisp rice, natural flavors, chocolate chunks, raisins, sunflower seeds, peanuts, dried cranberries, peanut flour, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, sea salt. May contain traces of nuts, milk, and egg.
Frequently Asked Questions About Energy Bars
What are the different types of energy bars for cyclists?
The best energy bars for cyclists usually come in four main categories:
Meal-replacement bars – these energy bars are packed with balanced nutrients. They contain proteins, carbs, and fats. Meal replacement bars don’t replace the nutritional benefits of a full meal. They are a good option if you’re short in time, traveling, or bikepacking. Don’t rely on meal replacement bars as a regular part of your diet.
Low-calorie bars – this type of energy bars is not that useful for cyclists. Primarily aimed at the weight loss market, low-calorie bars provide very little energy or nutrition for exercise or recovery. There are more convenient and healthier options out there.
Protein bars – these energy bars are great if you are recovering from a long, technical ride, or exercise. Because they are rich in protein, protein bars work well in muscle repair. They don’t contain a lot of carbohydrates so don’t expect much energy from them.
Carbohydrates bars – dubbed as the “real” energy bars, carbohydrates bars provide fuel for your muscles when biking. They are designed to provide you with the energy you need before and during strenuous exercise or challenging rides.
Should I choose natural or synthetic energy bars?
Here’s the rule of the thumb: real food is ALWAYS better than processed or synthetic foods. Natural energy bars appeal to the nose, the mouth, the eye, the stomach, and your legs! It’s tasty and enjoyable and your body can digest it easily without bloating or an upset stomach.
What’s the best time for each an energy bar when biking?
When eating an energy bar, timing and quantity are important. Below are some key points to remember, depending on what type of rider you are:
Regular Rider – if you ride regularly and your road bike rides last over two hours, you’ll need around 60g – 90g of carbohydrates per hour of riding or exercise. This amount of energy is important to help your body cope up with your training and to give you enough energy for the next ride. Eat after the first 20 minutes if you are planning to ride for two hours or longer.
If you have a busy lifestyle or in a rush to eat proper meals, natural energy bars can be a great alternative before and after long rides.
Beginner/Commuter Cyclist – You don’t need to eat that many energy bars if you ride for short distances. Remember that our body has enough supply of carbs to fuel our activities for 90 minutes or so. A good time to eat an energy bar when bike commuting is near the start of it, especially if you don’t have the time to eat a full meal beforehand.
Long-Distance Rider/Pro – Carbohydrates is key if you are an endurance rider. Training regularly and completing back to back century rides will need lots of energy from carbohydrates and protein to aid muscle recovery. You’ll need as much as 90g of carbohydrate per hour. Start eating 20 minutes after you begin your ride and take a bite every 20 minutes to keep your energy levels constant.
Should I eat an energy bar before or after a ride?
Your timing will depend on what type of athlete you are. For amateurs or enthusiast bikers who are more adapted to fat, eat energy bars after rides to replenish your glycogen levels. For pros who are more accustomed to high carb diets, eating energy bars before (while getting ready for an intense ride) and after is ideal.
Which energy bars are the best?
There are many energy bars on the market today but most of them are just sugar bombs full of chemicals. They taste good and last longer but lacks a balanced macro-nutrient ratio or electrolytes to assist you on your rides. Read labels carefully and learn about what chemicals they should and should not have. In short, do your homework.
Energy bars can be very beneficial when biking, especially long rides. They help you avoid bonking, boost your performance, and aid in recovery. Choose the one that best fits your needs.