Energy bars need to be quick to absorb. They also need to give you energy. It is why they come with higher amounts of carbohydrates than regular protein bars.
But the quality of the ingredients is just as important as their source and quantity.
So what can you expect in an energy bar?
Carbohydrates are the quickest source of energy for your body. Runners know the struggle they have when it comes to keeping their bodies in good shape.
Long distance runners suffer the most. They burn the glucose in the blood which comes from carbs and they can also burn muscle as a result of no more energy.
Not all carbs are created equal. An organic source of carbs such as oatmeal can be a great source of instant energy.
They are quick to digest and they can keep you going when you don’t really feel like running anymore.
When you need the best energy bars for runners, you will often find protein among the most important ingredients.
Protein comes from different sources and it can be one of the ingredients which keep you full for longer.
But protein also prevents muscle breakdown and it can be one of the nutrients which are prioritized by runners.
Protein bars have never been so popular and it is not all about marketing when it comes to running nutrition.
Research on the Importance of Protein for Runners
A 2016 study shows that protein is crucial for runners, especially those who run considerable distances.
While the amount of required daily protein varies from person to person and from male to female runners, it is clear that it cannot be replaced.
Certain healthy fats are recommended for runners. If you are running multiple times per week, healthy fats can help balance hormone levels.
At the same time, the fats can be recommended when it comes to joint health and mobility, which is considerably impacted while running.
Good sources of fat include avocado, salmon or various nuts and seeds. It is why you will often see these foods in energy bars or protein bars.
Often forgotten by the beginner runner, minerals are crucial for your body. They are often added to energy bars and while they do not increase energy directly, they play a role in supporting proper muscle biomechanics.
Minerals can be found in various foods. It is why you should also ensure you actually adhere to a healthy diet which is balanced and which includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Most energy bars also include fiber. It helps your digestive system work at normal parameters and it also plays a role in keeping you full for longer.
Certain bars such as those made with oats are particularly high in fiber.
So if you are a fan of running after a quick snack, such a protein bar can be a great solution to keep food cravings away.
Lastly, sugar is one of the much-debated topics around energy bars. There are many types of sugar which can be used in these bars.
Natural sugars can be a good source of energy. It is why bars made with cashews or other fruit can come with an added sugar boost, which improves your energy output.
15 Best Energy Bars for Runners – The Top Picks Only
Now that you know energy bars can help, you might be thinking about the best power bars for runners. There are hundreds of options on the market.
But which is the best?
One way to see which energy bars you like the most is to simply try multiple products. You can assess how you feel after a few days. You can start with the following products:
Review: Made with grass-fed whey protein, the bar is among the recommended products for active people. Runners can consider it for its organic ingredients such as the tapioca syrup or the organic sunflower oil.
These ingredients are a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
But each bar comes with 14 grams of protein and with 21 grams of carbs and it represents a real solution if you need more energy or if you simply want to boost your daily protein intake.
Made with grass-fed whey protein.
Includes Omega 3 fatty acids.
Not the highest in protein.
If you want the best energy protein bars for runners, the bars are right for you as they only use grass-fed whey.
CLIF MOJO Folk Revival Peanut Butter Pretzel Salty Sweet Bar honors the sights, sounds, and stories of this great land. Led by creamy peanut butter and crunchy pretzel pieces, this tasty bar delivers straight-ahead, folksy goodness.
GIVE SNACK TIME A REMIX: No more boring bars. MOJO brings bold, unexpected flavors and textures to snacking with high-quality, nutritious, non-GMO ingredients.
BOLD, UNEXPECTED FLAVORS: Mix it up in a whole new way with a little sizzle of sriracha, a pinch of chipotle pepper, the sweet, smooth flavor of salted caramel, or crunchy pretzel pieces in creamy peanut butter.
REAL, RECOGNIZABLE FOODS: Chew on a blend of high-quality ingredients like organic nuts, grains, and seeds.
SALTY AND SWEET: The perfect amount of salty seasoning for a crave-worthy snack that always strikes the right note.
Review: If you are looking for a low glycemic index bar, the Gy Energy solution form SoLo represents an interesting option. It is made with mostly natural ingredients and it can be among the solutions which you consider for a boost of energy.
There are 11 grams of protein and 26 grams of carbs in each bar. Comparing it to the average bar, it comes with a higher amount of protein while maintaining high levels of carbs.
It can be considered by serious runners who want to supplement their diet with extra nutrition on the go.
Comes with vitamins.
High in protein.
Taste can be improved.
The bars are recommended for their higher protein content compared to what you can find on the market.
Ridiculously Tasty. Protein Packed. At The GFB we combine simple, nutritious ingredients into something you will love eating along with plenty of plant-based protein to keep you going strong
CERTIFIED: Gluten Free, Non GMO, Vegan, Kosher. GFB Bars are made with primarily organic ingredients, a good source of fiber, and are fat free, soy free, dairy free, egg free, wheat free, lactose free, trans fat free and cholesterol free
The GFB is a Certified B Corp with a triple bottom line of people, planet and prosperity. All products are made in our own sustainably operated, zero waste facility in Grand Rapids, MI
A delicious protein-packed bar reminiscent of Grandma’s oatmeal raisin cookies
Review: So you’re a vegan. You’re unsure on the types of energy bars you can eat. GFB offers the perfect solution.
With 12 grams of protein per bar, it is among the most interesting solutions when it comes to gluten-free bars. With all plant-based ingredients, each bar also comes with 4 grams of fiber which makes it a tempting option to keep food cravings away.
12 grams of protein.
Taste is debatable.
With 12 grams of protein per bar, this tasty solution is a go-to option as one of the best energy bars for marathon runners.
Dates are packed with fiber, complex carbohydrates and are naturally low on the glycemc index which help to avoid energy spikes and crashes. Combined with almonds, this is the perfect recipe for sustainable energy.
Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of plant based protein. Our Oregon grown organic pumpkin seeds make our bars moist and delicious while also adding healthy fats and protein.
Peanuts are high in protein, fiber and healthy fats - the perfect combination for sustainable, clean energy. Organically grown in Argentina, these peanuts make our bars creamy and satisfying.
Non-GMO; Vegan; Kosher; Gluten, Soy, Grain, and Dairy Free
Great taste and nutrient rich making it the ideal healthy, on-the-go snack to fuel any adventure
GLUTEN-FREE AND SOY-FREE: Safe, sustainably-sourced ingredients provide the benefits of a gluten- and soy-free diet
9g PROTEIN AND 6g FIBER (See Nutrition Information on package for total fat and saturated fat content.): Energy from PLANT-BASED protein and fiber from CHIA and FLAX SEEDS keep you moving whether at work or adventuring
360 CALORIES: A clever mix of NATURAL ingredients work to provide healthy energy and a quick, filling meal on-the-go
REAL INGREDIENTS: Made-With Natural Oats, Nuts, and Seeds so you can feel good knowing you are feeding your body with safe nutrients
NON-GMO PROJECT VERIFIED: All PROBAR products are Non-GMO Project Verified
Review: The bars are a little larger than what you might expect. Each bar with its 85 grams comes with an impressive 360 calories. The high number of calories recommends these bars for the serious runners.
At the same time, they are among the solutions which work best when it comes to ingredient quality, as they are gluten-free. Each bar comes with 9 grams of protein.
9 grams of protein.
High in calories for some runners.
It goes without saying that at 360 calories, these bars are definitely the best protein bars for runners who are trying to gain weight.
Review: Based on plant protein, the protein bar can be a great solution for all types of runners. With 150 calories per serving, it represents a solution which is up to date in terms of nutritional value.
There are 9 grams of fiber in each bar and 4 grams of sugar. Based on organic brown rice protein, the bar can be a great solution for those who do not want a bar with whey protein.
Only 150 calories.
9 grams of protein.
Low on carbs for some runners.
Vegan runners have had a difficult time in the past with energy bars. But it is not the case with 22 Days Nutrition.
PERFECT PLANT-BASED SUPERFOOD FOR THOSE ON A SPECIAL DIET | These powerhouse Paleo snacks contain only real and raw herbs, compounds and spices that fight inflammation and are safe for the regulated diets of people with diabetes or high-blood pressure.
FAST AND EASY WITH ONE SIMPLE PROTEIN BAR | These on-the-go, nutrition bars have very low carb content and can serve as meal replacement bars perfect for people active in CrossFit, workouts, and travel, eliminating cravings for unhealthy snacks.
TASTY AND CHEWY HEALTHY SNACKS FOR ADULTS | These protein snacks meal replacement bars are so healthy that they also function as meal replacement bars. Simple Squares are available in 5 flavors: cinammon, coffee, ginger, chocolate, and coconut.
FOOD ALLERGIES? NO PROBLEM | These vegan protein bars are gluten free snacks formulated for adults with food sensitivities. Certified: Paleo, USDA organic, gluten free, Non-GMO and kosher. Formulated with no wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, or corn.
BECAUSE YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT | Know what you put in your body. The ingredients for these organic, protein bars are simple: organic cashews, almonds, honey, unsweetened cocoa, organic vanilla, sea salt, and herbs and spices. Clean & delicious!
Review: With delicious cashews, almonds and honey ingredients, the organic bars are a great source of energy. They use some of the most popular ingredients in the class to offer 17 grams of carbs and 6 grams of protein per serving.
They are recommended for those seeking only organic ingredients.
Made with cashews and almonds.
17 grams of carbs.
Not the highest in protein.
Cashews are the new superfood. If you like their taste, you will also love the energy bar.
VEGAN WHOLE FOODS BAR: Clean, simple, all organic, and truly delicious. The perfect snack bar for anyone and everyone - even kids! A mouth watering, satisfying bite great for on-the-go, office snacks, energy for your hike, lunchbox treats, breakfast and more. This truly is the bar you can feel good about eating and sharing.
BODACIOUS BLUEBERRY VANILLA is full of organic dried blueberries, almonds, dates, chia seeds and delicious raw vanilla bean and packed with omega-3s from chia seeds. Bearded Brothers organic food bars are handcrafted in our Austin, TX based kitchen facility to provide the highest quality healthy snacks.
MADE WITH ORGANIC NUTS, SEEDS, FRUITS & that’s it. Our bars are made with all natural USDA Organic and Verified Non-GMO ingredients with no added oils, extracts, fillers, artificial sweeteners or brown rice syrup.
SUPERIOR INGREDIENTS. SUPERIOR TASTE: We use simple ingredients to craft flavorful bars bursting with nutrition and flavor. Every bar is packaged with care to give our customers an experience worth enjoying.
FUEL YOUR EVERYDAY ADVENTURE: We created a whole food bar chock full of nutrients to stash in your backpack, briefcase, diaper bag, desk drawer or gym bag for the perfect snack to fuel you no matter where you go - from the mountains to the office to the playground.
NUT-BUTTER BASED: The only bar with raw nut-butter as the first ingredient! Nutrient-dense, sustainable meal. Consuming protein, fat and minerals as the main component means a decrease in the absorption of sugar, providing long-lasting energy.
CLEAN INGREDIENTS: 100% Organic, non-GMO and nothing to hide! You can recognize and pronounce every ingredient in a Nii Bar.
COCONUT NECTAR: Sweetened with unprocessed, low-glycemic, coconut nectar that's full of enzymes, minerals, and vitamins B and C and 17 amino acids.
COLD-PRESSED: Never heated, meaning the nuts and seeds retain their complete integrity and the essential oils remain undamaged for increased bioavailability.
Vegan, Gluten Free, Soy-free, Kosher and DELICIOUS!
Review: With 16 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of protein, the Nutrition bar is one of the distinct products.
It comes with raw nut butter as the first ingredients and it is why you should actually like the taste of peanut butter if you want to make them your go-to option before, during or after each running session.
16 grams of carbs.
Peanut butter taste.
Not free of sugar.
With organic ingredients and a strong peanut butter taste, the bars are recommended for most runners.
When you seek the best energy bars for runners, you can choose from these options both for taste and for their nutritional value.
Good energy bars should offer quality ingredients as often times, they are used by athletes or active people who need the ultimate nutrition.
Which of these energy bars is your go-to solution and which flavors you enjoy the most?
Let us know in the comments’ section.
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Michael is a fitness expert and professional home/garage gym builder. His tutorials, guides, and reviews are backed up by his own experience and will definitely help you achieve your goals. He also loves putting mayo AND ketchup on the pizza for some reason!