CAMPING & HIKING

The Best Energy Bars: How to Keep Your Stamina Going

Best energy bars
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

Ah, snacking – the favorite pastime of people everywhere. While we all enjoy a little cheat meal every now and then, it’s better to pick something with a high nutrient value. Besides, who said wholesome foods have to taste bad or that snacks have to be packed with a lot of useless calories?

The best energy bars will provide enough energy for people who have active lifestyles, and who either don’t have the time or access to a regular meal, either don’t want to engage in strenuous physical activity on a full stomach.

Bring your Energy bars

And we’re here to let you know what you should be looking for a power bar, and how to choose from the grade A items on the market.

Choose Wisely

The factors you need to consider are:

Your daily activities

Why do you need a power bar?

It may be for:

  • Building more muscle mass, or at least not losing any. Choose something with a high protein content.
  • Getting more energy during the day. A high carb content will help you do that because carbs are the primary source of energy used by the body.
  • Replenishing after a hard workout. Look for something a bit higher in sugar.
  • Feeling satiated for longer. Healthy fats and high fiber content will do just that, along with low-glycemic index foods.

The ingredients

We always love to see good, natural ingredients in our foods, that don’t pack empty calories. So look for:

  • Peanut butter: high in protein.
  • Oats and whole grains: high in fiber.
  • Seeds and nuts: high in healthy fats.

Besides, ignore anything with too many preservatives, artificial ingredients or high-fructose content. Kosher and vegan options are available too.

The dimensions

If you’re eating these snacks on the go, then you need something compact, lightweight and easy to carry in your pocket, bag or backpack.

The taste

This is definitely not something to ignore. The truth is most of us don’t eat foods we hate, although some of them may be really good for us.

The taste

But bars with organic, natural ingredients tend to taste better, plus they have a good texture, not a sticky one or one that feels like sand in your mouth.

The Bars We Like. In Our Stomachs

After taking all that to heart, let’s see what our taste buds would enjoy, starting with:

CLIF White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Energy Bar

CLIF White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Energy Bar

Weight: 2.4 ounces

Dimensions: 11 x 5.5 x 2.5 inches

Specifications: roasted macadamia nuts; white chocolate; non-GMO; organic rolled oats

Best Use: hiking

Description: This 4.5 stars and $11.34 CLIF White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Energy Bar is amazing when it comes to getting all your vitamins and nutrients for your hiking trip. Since it’s made with macadamia nuts, you’ll be sure to get enough protein to replace a whole meal.

The rolled oats inside are organic and a good source of fiber, while the white chocolate is there to give it a plus of healthy fats and of delicious taste.

The vitamins and nutrients you’ll find in this bar are the following:

  • 4 grams dietary fiber.
  • 41 grams carbs.
  • 9 grams protein.
  • 23 vitamins and minerals, like calcium, iron, and vitamin A.

Plus, you can rest assured there are no:

  • Artificial flavors.
  • GMOs.
  • High-fructose corn syrup.
  • Hydrogenated oils.
  • Preservatives.
  • Trans fats.

So no artificial ingredients are involved in the production of this bar, which is 95% organic.

If you want to include this energy bar in your fitness routine, it’s best to eat it a couple of hours before strenuous exercise, with lots of water. That way, the nutrients will have enough time to be absorbed by your body and fuel it properly. Or you can eat it afterward, to replace the energy you’ve lost.

But the thing that convinced most reviewers is that the CLIF bars actually taste good, and they have a good texture, not one that gets them all crumbly, mushy or melty. That’s probably also courtesy of the natural ingredients used.

Related: Tons of other flavors.

LUNA Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter

LUNA Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter

Weight: 1.3 pounds (shipping weight)

Dimensions: 7 x 6 x 3 inches

Specifications: peanut butter plus nougat; no gluten; low glycemic; 12 grams protein; 3 grams fiber; iron; vitamin D

Best Use: hiking

Description: This 4.2 stars and $11.78 LUNA Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter is the best power bar for women since it was specially designed for their nutritional needs when it comes to the total high protein content.

However, this bar is not exclusive to the female gender, and anyone who’s planning to endeavor in a prolonged, high-intensity exercise routine has a good source of energy here.

That’s because this bar has a very low glycemic index, and foods with this feature take longer to release sugar into your bloodstream. Since sugar isn’t released all at once, but rather rationed in small, constant amounts, you’ll get just the right amount of energy delivered in a longer time span.

Another nice thing about this bar is that it’s made with organic ingredients, like:

  • Almonds.
  • Cocoa.
  • Nougat.
  • Peanut butter.

Almonds are a reliable source of fiber and healthy fats, nougat is renowned for its fiber content, and peanut butter is great when it comes to offering a reliable source of protein.

Cocoa is there for the taste and a plus of energy and calcium. Speaking of which, the vitamins you’ll get are:

  • Calcium.
  • Iron.
  • Folic acid.
  • Vitamin D.

Plus, there are no artificial ingredients in this low-calorie snack, that only has 200 calories. So no gluten, trans fats, corn syrup or GMOs here, just plain natural ingredients, responsible for giving this bar a wonderful taste, soft yet crunchy.

Related: Cookie Dough; Chocolate Cherry Almond; Mint Chocolate Chip;

Gatorade Prime Fuel Bar, Chocolate Chip

Gatorade Prime Fuel Bar, Chocolate Chip

Weight: 1.6 pounds

Dimensions: 2.2 inches width/ bar

Specifications: high in carbs and protein; 220 calories/ bar; chocolate chip flavor

Best Use: hiking

This 4 stars and $18.69 bar has a good, nutritious composition. The nutrients it provides in an abundance are:

  • Carbs – 45 grams, from which:
    • Sugar – 19 grams.
    • Fiber – 2 grams.
  • Protein – 5 grams.
  • Fat – 3.5 grams.

Description: Basically, you’ll get a lot of carbs to give you the energy boost you need before a rough workout or before a few hours of hiking with your backpack on.

And at just 220 calories/ bar, you can easily eat a couple of Gatorade Prime Fuel Bar, Chocolate Chip to give you an even bigger energy boost, which is primarily courtesy of the high sugar content.  There are some fibers there as well, but that’s not the main purpose of this bar.

The protein and fat content are pretty high too. These nutrients work together to keep you satiated, but protein will help your weary muscles and the healthy fats will add to the nice taste. The taste is further improved by the chocolate chip cookies, so you’ll get a nice, crunchy texture.

The Gatorade bar is also rich in Calcium and Iron, and each of these vitamins helps you resists a prolonged effort.

Related: Oatmeal Raisin; Honey Oat

Kashi Honey Oat Flax Crunchy Granola & Seed Bars

Kashi Honey Oat Flax Crunchy Granola & Seed Bars

Weight: 14.1 ounces

Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.5 x 4.5 inches

Specifications: 320mg ALA omega-3; 25 grams whole grain; 3 grams fiber; coconut; honey

Best Use: hiking

Description: This 5 stars and $14.99 Kashi Honey Oat Flax Crunchy Granola & Seed Bars is the best power bar for people who want to savor a kosher product, with healthy fats and a lot of fiber.

Basically, this bar is perfect for keeping you healthy and fit, while aiding your digestive process thanks to a mix of seeds and whole grains, that are tasty as well as nutritious.

So with just 1.4 ounces per bar, you’ll get:

  • 320mg ALA omega-3.
  • 25 grams whole grain.
  • 3 grams fiber.

The first nutrient is actually a healthy fat, but with added benefits of prolonged energy release. That’s because they lower a number of triglycerides in your bloodstream, our in laymen terms, they lower the sugar level.

Basically, instead of consuming sugar at accelerated levels, and in big gulps, your body will have a slower go at this. And apart from the advantage of more energy, you’ll also lower the risk of hearing problems and diabetes.

The high grains and fiber content will add to your energy boost while keeping your stomach full for longer, so you won’t feel so hungry. Plus, the added coconut and honey will improve the taste of this bar, offering you a delicious snack.

Related: Kashi Chocolate Chip Chia

Larabar Gluten Free Snack Bar, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Larabar Gluten Free Snack Bar, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Weight: 0.8 ounces

Dimensions: 2 x 4 x 6 inches

Specifications: dates; peanuts; chocolate chips; sea salt; gluten-free; non-GMO; dairy-free; 10% DRV magnesium

Best Use: hiking

Description: This 4.3 stars and $16.46 Larabar Gluten Free Snack Bar, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip are made from natural ingredients, like dates, peanuts, chocolate chips, and sea salt. They’re kosher, with only natural ingredients, and no gluten or GMOs involved.

Plus, they give you a high energy boost thanks to the high amount of carbohydrates which reaches 26 grams, or almost 9% of the daily recommended amount.

You’ll be ready to use up this energy and still keep your muscles working perfectly since this bar has 6 grams of protein too. That will keep you feeling full enough, along with the high healthy fat content of 11 grams.

And if you’re worried you’ll soon be gaining a lot of weight, fat is not your foe here. On the contrary, we all need balanced meals, that make us feel satiated enough.

And the right amount of healthy fat is what makes you burn more body fat since it actually accelerates the sugar consumption. Besides, at just 200 calories per bar, this is the kind of snack you need – unless you eat 4 or 5 at a time.

Which you could do, since 4 or 5 hours of hiking burn double or triple that amount. But even if you use this bar as a quick snack during your work day, it’s still good enough for lowering your glycemic index and offering you a prolonged energy release, thanks to the high amount of healthy fats.

That means you’ll get more energy during the day, as well as somewhat lower your risk of coronary problems and diabetes.

Plus, take into account the natural, healthy content. This bar is a combination of nuts and fruits, packed with a good balance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Just think of the 10% magnesium intake, which is pretty high and will keep your energy up.

There are no preservatives, GMOs, and gluten involved here, just a plain old kosher bar for a healthy snack.

Related: A ton of other flavors.

GoMacro Organic Macrobars, Granola with Coconut

GoMacro Organic Macrobars, Granola with Coconut

Weight: 2.1 ounces

Dimensions: 2.2 inches width

Specifications: no gluten, non-GMO; no soy; kosher; organic; vegan; high-carb; high-protein; calcium; iron

Best Use: hiking

Description: This 4.4 stars and $25.99 GoMacro Organic Macrobars, Granola with Coconut is another great power bar made with whole-food, nutritious ingredients. That means you’ll get the nutrients your body needs, and still enjoy a pleasant taste.

The fact that this bar has no additives, nor preservatives, makes it a good, healthy choice and it explains why it has won some awards in the field.

So you’ll get a mix of organic:

  • Almonds.
  • Brown rice syrup.
  • Butter.
  • Dates.
  • Puffed brown rice.
  • Raisins.
  • Rolled oats.
  • Unsweetened coconut.
  • Walnuts.

Apart from offering you the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals you need for just one meal, this bar has long-term effects on boosting your immune system. That’s probably because of its complex carbs, that burn very slowly and actively lower the amount of triglycerides in your blood.

This will help your energy levels elevated, keeping you full, but also promote the burning of fat and sugar decomposition. That has the proven benefit of lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of diabetes.

Basically, with just 220 calories per bar, you’ll be happy to know there are enough healthy fats, about 7 grams, to keep you satiated.

The 36 grams carbohydrates are responsible for a high energy level, replenishing the sugars you lose once you start exercising, while the 4 grams of protein will keep your muscles in working order. The high calcium and iron content will give you a supplemental energy boost too.

Taste of Nature Organic Snack Bars

Taste of Nature Organic Snack Bars

Weight: 15.8 ounces

Dimensions: 7 x 5.5 x 2.2 inches

Specifications: USDA organic; kosher; no gluten; non-GMO; 190 calories; high in carbs, protein and healthy fats; natural ingredients

Best Use: hiking

Description: This 4 stars and $19.00 Taste of Nature Organic Snack Bars is a delicious mix of healthy ingredients that are USDA organic, kosher, and free of any gluten.

Plus, it only has 190 calories total, which render it the perfect on-the-go snack for busy people or for the ones who want a plus of energy before or after a high-intensity physical challenge.

That’s because it has a high level of healthy fats, which amount to 17% of the daily recommended value. This is what will keep you feeling full for longer, and encourage your body to burn more sugar without building additional fat deposits.

Besides, there are no bad trans fats here, nor any cholesterol to give you health problems.

The sodium content is next to nil at just 5mg, and therefore you won’t be gaining any water weight, although you have a rich carb content of 19 grams. Carbs will give your body more energy, and with a low enough amount of sugar – just 10 grams to speak of.

The high content of dietary fiber reaches 16% of the recommended amount, keeping your digestive tract working and making you satiated. Plus, the 6 grams of protein will take good care of your muscles.

And that’s all done with healthy ingredients, like:

  • Almonds.
  • Brown rice syrup.
  • Pumpkin seeds.
  • Raisins.
  • Roasted peanuts.
  • Sesame seeds.
  • Sunflower oil.
  • Sunflower seeds.
  • Whole grain brown rice.

Related: Goji; Cranberry; Coconut; Brazil Nuts;

Clif Bar – Crunch Granola All Natural Chocolate Chip

Clif Bar - Crunch Granola All Natural Chocolate Chip (blue)

Weight: 7.4 ounces

Dimensions: 6 x 2 x 6.2 inches

Specifications: chocolate chip flavor; 190 calories; nutrient-rich; high in calcium and iron; organic

Best Use: hiking

Description: This 4.6 stars Clif Bar – Crunch Granola All Natural Chocolate Chip is the perfect snack for prolonged physical activities, high-intensity training or people with very active lifestyles who don’t have time for three full meals and need to snack fast during the day.

That’s because of its low caloric content of just 190 calories, less than 10% of the recommended amount per day. However, these are not just empty calories, as they offer a good proportion of carbohydrates,  healthy fats, and proteins.

The 28 grams of carbs will give you the energy boost you need to get through your hectic schedule or intense training, aiding your digestion and keeping you full thanks to a high dietary fiber intake.

The 3 grams of protein are good for your muscles, and the 8 grams of healthy fat will promote the consumption of glucose, lowering your blood sugar levels. Along with that, the vitamins and minerals included will also boost your energy levels.

Besides, everything is organic, and the mix of ingredients offers an overall palatable result, with a nice, full texture. You’ll get a healthy blend of:

  • Barley flakes.
  • Cane syrup.
  • Chocolate chips.
  • Honey.
  • Oat bran.
  • Oat fiber.
  • Rice crisps.
  • Rolled oats.
  • Rye flakes.
  • Sunflower oil.

Related: Chocolate Peanut Butter; White Chocolate; Peanut Butter

CLIF MOJO – Trail Mix Bar – Peanut Butter Pretzel

CLIF MOJO - Trail Mix Bar - Peanut Butter Pretzel

Weight: 1.3 pounds

Dimensions: 7 x 6 x 3 inches

Specifications: peanut butter rich; 9 grams protein; 70% organic; non-GMO; no artificial ingredients

Best Use: hiking

Description: This 4.5 stars and $13.70 CLIF MOJO – Trail Mix Bar – Peanut Butter Pretzel is a wholesome snack. It’s quite delicious, combining a sweet and salty taste, with a lot of peanut butter. Yes, even the added chips and pretzels are made from peanut butter.

That will give you a whole lot of protein, about 8-9 grams for each bar, to conserve your muscle mass, or help you build more muscle while you feel full enough.

Besides, the 70% organic ingredients don’t have any traces of trans fats, GMOs or other artificial/ high-fructose ingredients. You’ll basically get a mix or peanut butter pretzels and chips, along with soy rice crisps and peanuts, which contribute to the crunchy texture of this savory snack.

The included peanuts are amazing when it comes to taste, but they’re also rich in healthy fats, which is exactly what your body needs to promote a healthy burn of glucose and a constant, slow energy release, so you get more momentum during the day.

The explanation is that this bar is a low-glycemic food, which is digested very slowly. That’s what makes your stomach feeling full while releasing the necessary energy at a slow, but constant pace.

Related: Honey Roasted Peanut; Mixed NutsChocolate Almond Coconut; White Chocolate Macadamia;

Choose Your Weapon

If you want to fight hunger and keep your energy levels up during the day, choosing the most appropriate snack for you is a must.

After reviewing all these power bars and having seen they’re made from wholesome, natural and nutritious ingredients, it’s time to take your pick. Consider all the factors we’ve talked about before and let us know which one of these bars seems more appealing to you.

Choose your Energy bars

So why do you need a good energy bar, is it because you have busy work days, because you work out a lot, or because you need something nutritious for your survival pack?

What sort of snacks do you generally like? What foods give you more energy?

Since your opinion is really helpful to us and other readers, don’t be shy and leave us a comment just below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.

  • Gustavo Woltmann

    The famous statement, “You get what you pay for” will always be true. You should be careful and wise in choosing an energy bar which will supply you extra energy out there without sacrificing your health. Most of the cheap energy bars contain a lot of preservatives and fillers which is not good for your health and your pocket’s health because you will be just wasting money. Ignore the fancy front of the packaging and go straight at the back, read and be familiar with the ingredients listed there.

    • Dennis Owens

      Indeed, Gustavo. Some energy bars are more expensive compared to others, but you should also consider the quality of ingredients in it. Usually, preservative content increases as the price decreases.

  • Nathan Maxwell

    I’ve always been a little picky when it came to protein bars, as more often than not they’re harsh in flavor and gritty to taste. The Luna Protein, Gluten Free bars, however, are actually pretty darn tasty.

    Some of the flavors are a little lacking, I’m not a great fan of the mint chocolate chip or the salted caramel, but I think the cookie dough flavor is excellent! Probably in my top 3 or all protein bars I’ve ever tasted, and I’ve tried dozens of brands. I can certainly recommend them for anyone who needs a boost whilst hiking, hunting, camping or fishing.

    • Dennis Owens

      The cookie dough variant is one of the flavors with the fastest-growing fans because it has a subtle and satisfying flavor to it. Energy bars, in general, are great products. However, some don’t work because they don’t taste good. When a food item doesn’t taste good and you don’t consume it completely, then the efficacy is not met for sure.

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