The Best Energy Bars for Men
Energy bars can serve as fuel pre- or post-workout, a low-calorie meal replacement, or a quick on-the-go snack. But that’s only if you’re eating the right type of bar. Some energy bars are loaded with chemical preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which make them more like candy than a healthy alternative to whole food.
Since there are so many to choose from on the market, and since so many of them actually aren’t very good for you, we’ve chosen five of the best energy bars for men that supply a decent amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals, one of which also provides a high-calorie, high-sugar (but no HFCS) cocktail perfect for athletes and weekend warriors.
#1. Jay Robb’s “No Junk” JayBar ($34 for 12 bars @ Amazon.com)
What does Jay mean by no junk? He means no dairy, gluten, wheat, MSG, artificial sweeteners (like aspartame, sucralose, and maltitol), or genetically-modified organisms. Instead, these bars utilize naturally extracted xylitol and organic nut butters (heh heh). Exact nutritional info varies by flavor, but usually not by too much; the fudge brownie bars have 230 calories, 15 grams of protein, and are made with microfiltered whey protein isolate, which is easier to digest. A minor downside: the 11 grams of fat.
#2. BNRG Power Crunch Bars ($16 for 12 bars @ Amazon.com)
These bars are low in sugar (4 or 5 grams) and carbs (10 grams), and deliver 13 to 15 grams of protein per serving. Best of all, they’re not too chewy and don’t taste like chalk dust. “They’re an energy/protein bar that uses Proto Whey technology, which is basically smaller whey particles that get absorbed by the body faster,” says Anastasia Paveloff, supplements consultant at L.A.’s Great Earth Vitamin Company. There are nine flavors to choose from; French Vanilla Creme and Cookies and Creme having the fewest calories (195-200 grams), while Peanut Butter Fudge and Peanut Butter Creme have the most protein (15 grams).
#3. Zing Bar ($27 for 12 bars @ Amazon.com)
“The Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor literally tastes like a Snickers,” Paveloff says. “It’s fantastic.” Created by nutritionists, Zing’s low-glycemic (good) carbs and fiber content are ideal for sustained energy. Here’s how it works: High-glycemic carbs quickly turn to sugar and spike your insulin level, leaving you crashing before you can say workout. But the good variety release slowly and steadily in your body, so you’re good to go for hours. To top it off, Zing is gluten-, soy-, and corn-free, and gives your immune system a nice boost.
#4. Clif Bar ($29 for 24 bars @ Amazon.com)
While Clif Bars are higher in sugar than we’d like — up to 22 grams per serving — they’re also made with 70 percent organic ingredients and contain a decent amount of protein and fiber. “Clif Bars are a very clean, natural product,” says Doug Frank, nutritionist and general manager of Rainbow Acres, a natural foods market in Los Angeles. “Energy is basically carbs, so you want a decent amount of them,” Frank says. They’re a good choice for sustained energy when you’re going to be needing a lot of it — like when you’re doing mud runs, swimming from sharks, and fleeing zombies.
#5. Promax Energy Bar ($16 for 12 bars @ Amazon.com)
These high calorie (in the upper 200s), high protein (20 grams), and high sugar (20 grams) bars also contain 18 essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. “Their big selling point is that they’re vitamin- and mineral-fortified; not all bars are,” Frank says.” Basically, eat one of these and you’ll have enough energy-producing carbs to fuel you for 15 minutes of a Tour de France climb … or 200 straight hours of World of Warcraft.