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Top 9 Energy Bars

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Updated May 31, 2014

When walking for two hours or more, you need a snack to replenish your energy. Energy bars are one way to get that boost. But dieters beware, a full size bar can have almost as much fat and calories as a candy bar. You benefit from the convenience of a packaged snack to take along rather than making your own trail mix. They generally additional vitamins and a balance of carbohydrate, protein, and fat.

1. Clif Mini Bars

Clif Bar Mini
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I like the mini Clif bars for several reasons. First, they taste great. Second, they have the best consistency for easy chewing yet they don't crumble even after hours of jostling around your pocket or pack. They are made with mostly organic, natural, whole food ingredients. You don't need a dictionary to decode what is in them. The mini size is perfect for me for walking workouts. I don't usually want a full size Clif bar as a walking snack, and previously I would cut them up into smaller portions. With the mini size, Clif does that for me.

2. Clif ZBar

Clif Kids Z Bar
Wendy Bumgardner © 2011
The Clif ZBar is supposed to be an organic energy bar for kids, but I find it the perfect size for me. It's quite tasty with a non-crumbly consistency that is still easy to chew on the go. It has no trans-fats, no high-fructose corn syrup and no hydrogenated oils. Each bar has only 120 calories and is packed with vitamins.
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3. Larabar

Larabar
Wendy Bumgardner ©

Two words. Pie flavors. OK, beyond the fact that these taste fanastic, they also meet my profile for a great walking snack. Most of the Larabar flavors don't have coatings that will melt and make a mess when you take them out of your hot pack to have an energy snack while walking. They also have a texture that is easy to bite and chew, but also doesn't crumble and make a mess. I appreciate the short ingredient list of raw whole foods. You don't need a chemistry degree to understand what you are eating. For people with sensitivities, they don't have gluten, soy, or dairy.

4. Balance Gold

The Balance Gold line of bars are the tastiest, in my opinion. The Caramel Nut Blast is a good substitute for a Snickers bar, with slightly lower calories - 210, with 7 grams of fat, 15 grams protein, and 23 grams carbohydrate for a 40-30-30 proportion. The drawback - the chocolate coating will melt. But I just lick it off the wrapper. Oh, yeah, it has vitamins and stuff, too.
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5. Balance Bar Bare

Balance's trail mix series has that great sweet-and-salty blend that is very satisfying when you are out on a long, sweaty walk.  The energy profile is 200 calories each with 7 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. They also contain 23 vitamins and minerals, most providing 25% of the daily minimum requirement. Unfortunately, these bars are not completely bare. The bottom is dipped in a coating, so there is a risk of a little meltdown in your pack or sticky fingers.

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6. Clif Bars

Clif Bars tout their all-natural ingredients, and they mostly rely on soy protein. They generally have 220-250 calories with lots of carbos, a generous dollop of protein, and around 6 grams of fat, and lots of added vitamins and minerals. I like them because they are tasty, they are easy to bite into and chew, and they don't crumble or melt in your pack. I generally go for the mini-versions as the full bar is more than I need at one time.

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7. PowerBar Harvest Whole Grain Energy Bars

PowerBar's Harvest label is very tasty, easy to chew, and features about 240 calories per bar with 45 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams protein, 4.5 grams fat, and lots of vitamins and minerals. The Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavor is perfect to pack along - no coating to melt and it is delicious.
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8. Clif Luna Bars

Luna bars are also targeted to women, with soy protein and under 200 calories per bar, 4.5 grams fat, 26 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams protein and 22 vitamins and minerals. They come in some great flavors, but I tend not to like their rice crisp base. Most are partially coated but shouldn't melt much in your pack.
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9. Honey Stinger Energy Bars

The natural goodness of honey powers these tasty bars. Delicious, with 190 calories, 10 grams protein, 3.5-5 grams fat, 27-28 grams carbohydrates per bar.
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