Energy-packed energy bars

This article was originally published in September 2011

energy bar

Energy bars pack a burst of fuel into a tiny, convenient package. With more than 20 brands to choose from at PCC we sought selection tips from Liz Kirk PhD, R.D., a faculty member in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

Consider your purpose — “If you’re an athlete and you’re training for something, then you have a different profile in mind than someone who just wants a snack,” Kirk says. Choose your best bar accordingly.

To fuel activity — Active people in need of quick energy to support their endeavors should seek bars with a high carbohydrate content (20 grams or more). Consider the source of the carbs, Kirk says. Each bar will list sugar and fiber grams beneath carbohydrate content. “You’ll see bars that have anywhere from 35g to 50g of carbohydrates. As long as you’re keeping it under 18g of sugar, you’re in good shape,” Kirk says. Another good guideline: Choose bars with fewer than 15g of protein for easy digestion.

To fuel recovery — The first two hours after activity is the most efficient time to replace carbohydrates and glycogen stores in your muscles, Kirk says. Your best bet is a bar with a 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein.

To satisfy hunger — Seek bars with a more even ratio of protein to carbs. Protein and fat both slow digestion and prolong fullness, Kirk says. And, consider the fiber content. Fiber slows digestion for longer, more sustained release of energy.

energy bars

Bars to fuel activity

  • Zing Almond Blueberry
  • thinkThin Chocolate Covered Strawberry
energy bars

Bars to fuel recovery

  • Powerbar Pria French Vanilla Crisp
  • ReBar Seeds n’ Greens
  • Lärabar Apple Pie
  • Gluten Free Café Chocolate Sesame
energy bars

Bars to satisfy hunger

energy bars

Top selling bars at PCC

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