Protein bars are one of the staple foods for runners, it is an easy snack that you can enjoy on the go, and before or after workouts to leave you full. They also provide some essential nutrients and come in a variety of flavors. Here are a couple of our favorite protein bar picks and comment after this article or on our Instagram page what your favorite Protein bar is!
Nature’s bakery Fig Bars:
Peanutbutterrunner: I discovered these bars at the Across the Bay 12k race in San Francisco (read more about that here) and was shocked at how good they were. So I took a picture of the wrapper, (does anyone else do that?) and tried to find them when I got home. They are carried in a wide variety of grocery stores and also they sell a big box at Costco. Buy online here
The Rundown: Imagine a healthy fig newton and this is it. Figs are an amazing source of Potassium and other essential nutrients plus they contain a good amount of fiber. The bars are made with whole wheat flour and contain natural and simple ingredients. My personal favorite flavor is the Raspberry flavor (made with real raspberries!) and I recommend not eating these before a workout/run because of their high amount of fiber it could upset your stomach. Usually I eat these fig bars after my runs or a couple hours before a race.
Peanutbutterrunner: Living in the Pacific Northwest we are exposed to a lot of local running companies including this one. Created by professional runners: Lauren Fleshman, Jesse Thomas and Steph Rothstein Bruce. A lot of science went into making these bars so that they are exactly a 4:1 carb to protein ratio and also only made with natural ingredients. The packaging is also really cute with the bars named after runners. Unfortunately for those of you who have an allergy to nuts, only the Need for Seed bar has no nuts.
The Rundown: Spikeprincess: If you’re looking for a bar that tastes amazing but is not too sweet, this is for you! Some bars I’ve had in the past had been too sweet- like a candy bar- which is not something I want during a workout. I had the sunflower seed butter one and it was the perfect balance of sweet and savory. Even better, it didn’t weigh me down, so could continue exercising after I ate it! I brought this with me on a Nordic skiing trip but one thing to note is when in a cold environment, the bar becomes extremely hard and chewy! So I’d recommend keeping it at average temperatures while eating. Nevertheless, it still tasted great, kept me fueled up, and didn’t weigh me down!
Clif Bars, Chocolate Mint:
Peanutbutterrunner: The reason why I specifically wrote the Chocolate mint flavor in the title is that this is the bar that I eat 1 hour before every race or workout. I love this bar! Not only is it delicious but also it has enough protein and carbohydrates to fuel me for a workout. But wait, there’s more it also has caffeine in it which personally I feel gives me some energy for my run, especially on those early morning practice days.
The rundown: I love these bars personally and I think they fuel me enough before a big race or workout without having to eat a lot of food for my stomach to digest.
Peanutbutterrunner: I have to admit that I have only tried one flavor of Larabar so I might be little unfair. The only flavor that I have tried is Peanut butter cookie and I must admit it was really amazing and what shocked me even more is that it only had three ingredients! This bar though should not be eaten before a run, again I may be not fit to judge, but it had too much protein and the dates made my stomach feel really sluggish. But stay tuned later on for an article where I actually try the other flavors because I am a fan of this brand and their simple ingredients mission.
Spikeprincess: I’ve grown up on Larabars, and my opinion tends to fluctuate. Since one of the main ingredients in most Larabars are figs, these tend to be on the sour side. Especially if you are eating fruit flavors such as cherry or blueberry. The downside to these is after I eat one, I tend to get heartburn symptoms which is not fun for anyone while exercising. However, their flavors like coconut creme and apple pie taste great! This is because they contain more sweetness so it balances out the sourness. I’d recommend these two flavors if you’re thinking about trying Larabars out!
Peanutbutterrunner: Lunabars are like a candy bar but filled with protein and not alot of sugar. I went through a phase in Track one year, when I discovered the chocolate peppermint Lunabar and all I would eat before practice everyday was a chocolate peppermint Lunabar. I’m not sure what it is but that flavor is just really good and the amount of bar seemed perfect enough to give me the energy that I needed to run.
The Rundown: Although I swore by this Lunabar a couple of years ago, I have discovered other bars that are better and maybe a little more natural and wholesome but all in all this is a good tasting bar and excellent for recovery with its large amount of protein. I admit, sometimes I still reach for my chocolate peppermint Lunabar after a hard practice.
Spikeprincess: I love almost flavors of Luna bars. My personal favorite is carrot cake. But recently I’ve been trying the Luna Protein bars that contain 12g of protein and like these even more! They are smaller than regular Luna bars but pack in so much into a small, delicious bar that’s very light. I’ve tried the blueberry yogurt flavor which was honestly gross because it was really sour and didn’t hide the protein powder taste at all, but the chocolate chip cookie dough kind is a winner! It isn’t too sweet but it hides the protein taste very well.
Clif Builder’s Bar:
Peanutbutterrunner: It seems as if I eat a lot of protein bars from this brand mainly because it is one of the only kinds in grocery stores that are available. This bar was very delicious but I do not recommend eating this before practice. My freshman year of cross country I tried these before practice but they just had way too much protein to eat before a run and it stuck in my stomach during the run. I don’t eat these bars anymore but leave us a comment if you personally like these bars after practice or for a hike?
Spikeprincess: I’ve trying these in two different flavors: mint and peanut butter. They taste delicious and have a good amount of protein, but definitely eat these after your workout. If you eat before or during a workout, they will weigh you down. I use these as a recovery bar, but I only eat half a bar a day because these are pretty big.
The rundown: Delicious and has a good amount of protein but I personally would not eat this before a workout but maybe after a hard workout for recovery?
Peanutbutterrunner: I didn’t buy this bar but I got it in a race swag bag and the packaging and size of the bar intrigued me. The bar is very small but the packaging promotes the idea of macrobiotics or “balanced food.”
The rundown: Although I love this idea of eating balanced in a bar, it was way too small to satisfy my hunger before or after a run. Also, the flavor that I tried, had 12 grams of sugar with 4 grams of protein which seemed a little unbalanced. But after looking at their website they do have some high protein ones that I wouldn’t mind trying.
Gatorade Whey Protein:
Spikeprincess: These are so unlike any other protein bar I’ve ever had! If you’re looking for a healthy option, stop reading now. These are not the bars you are looking for. They’re huge, like honestly one bar is about 7 inches long. These are my guilty pleasure bars because they’re basically a giant candy bar. One bar itself is a whooping 350 calories and contains 20g of protein. Gatorade has a variety of flavors such as cookies and creme, mint chocolate chip, and double chocolate, but my personal favorite is cookies and creme. Unfortunately, because these are so big and sweet, I can only stand to eat half a bar at a time, and the amount of protein isn’t very substantial compared to the rest of sugar and calories the bar contains. Overall, these taste great, but aren’t a healthy option.