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Top Natural Energy Bars

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Updated May 31, 2014

I'm not the granola type, but when the ingredient list looks like a chemistry lab experiment, you begin to wonder. These natural energy bars have simple ingredient lists you can understand -- fruits, nuts and seeds. This results in bars without weird off-tastes from the additives and attempts to make palm oil taste like chocolate. These snacks will all provide you energy during a long walk. For endurance events such as a half marathon or marathon, try them on training walks first to be sure you tolerate the ingredients.

1. CLIF Kit's Organic Fruit and Nut Bar

Clif Kit's Organic Fruit and Nut Bars
Wendy Bumgardner ©

These bars taste great but have a short ingredient list. You can understand everything that goes into them -- pretty much just USDA Certified Organic fruit and nuts and a little sea salt. They come in a good snack size that varies from 170 to 200 calories per bar depending on the flavor. They won't crumble or melt in your pack and make a great walking snack. And for those who depend on them not having stuff in them, they are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, have no artificial flavors or colors or preservatives, and they are vegan-friendly.

2. Larabar

Larabar
Wendy Bumgardner ©

Larabar has good things going for it in both what it has (a short ingredient list of raw whole foods) and what it doesn't have (gluten, dairy, soy.)  It also doesn't have a coating that will melt when you carry it in your pack.  I like the texture because it doesn't crumble yet it is easy to break into chunks and to chew. As for the taste, I find it excellent. And I love to try their different varieties which come named after pies.

3. Kind Healthy Snacks Bars

Kind Healthy Snacks Bars
Wendy Bumgardner ©

Kind has a huge variety of flavor combinations mimicking different kinds of trail mix. They have spicy-sweet and salt-sweet combos as well as oodles of traditional fruit and nut combos. All of their bars have very understandable ingredient lists. All are low in sugar, high in protein, gluten-free and non-GMO. I love the Dark Chocolate Chili Almond and the Cashew and Ginger Spice. The full-size bars are 200 calories or less, while they also have some mini-bars with 110 calories.

4. Clean, Lean & Sexy All-Natural Whole Food Energy Bars

Clean Lean & Sexy All Natural Whole Food Energy Bars
Wendy Bumgardner
If you are trying to eat clean without any added sugar, gluten or artificial ingredients, these bars will fill your snacking needs. They were developed by a mom and Certified Peak Health Coach, Suzie Carpenter. They come in Honey Almond and in Coconut Cashew. Each met my walking snack requirements. The texture is soft but doesn't crumble. They are easy to eat while walking, with no mess. I enjoyed the flavors. They have no soy, corn, dairy, gluten, processed sugars, and are just 89-90 calories per bar. The ingredient list is extremely short.

5. CLIF MOJO Bars

Clif Mojo Bar
Courtesy of Pricegrabber

The CLIF MOJO is a trail mix bar. They come in several flavors, but each combines sweet and salty like you find in trail mix. They have nuts, chocolate, pretzel pieces, raisins and other understandable ingredients shaped into a bar for convenience. They are 70% organic ingredients. Each of the varieties has 8-9 grams of protein, but also 9-11 grams of fat. But they still come in at 200 calories or less. That can help with portion control if you find yourself eating a whole bag of trail mix rather than stopping at 200 calories. However, I do find these bars to be dangerous because they just taste so darned good. If I have more than 1 available, it's hard to stop, even though they are very satisfying. There are versions that are dipped in chocolate or other tasty coatings. I wouldn't recommend those for taking along walking as the coatings are liable to melt on warmer days.

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6. SoLo Low Glycemic Nutrition Bar

SoLo Low Glycemic Nutrition Bar
Wendy Bumgardner © 2008

SoLo is a great-tasting sports energy bar with slow-burning carbs, protein, natural ingredients, and essential vitamins and minerals. Rather than sending you on a sugar high and crash, or replacing natural sugars with gut-wrenching sugar alcohols, this bar promises sustained energy.

7. The GFB Gluten Free Bar

The GFB - Gluten Free Bar
Wendy Bumgardner © 2012

These bars are certified gluten-free and are also dairy-free and casein-free. They have a low glycemic index and a generous amount of protein per bar. They also taste great and have an excellent consistency for carrying along on your walks. They aren't crumbly and don't have any coating that can melt.

8. barre Real Food Bars

Barre Real Food Bars
Wendy Bumgardner © 2012

These "real food" bars use agave nectar and dates for sweetness, hemp seed, hemp protein, walnuts, pecans and sea salt for for protein and electrolyte balance. All great natural ingredients, vegan and high in Omega-3 with no refined sugar. They have a very good taste, with flavors such as Black Swan chocolate berry and Pirouette cinnamon pecan. I liked the bar consistency for taking on a walk. It didn't have a coating that might melt in my pack, and the bar was both easy to take a bite from and it didn't crumble. Each bar is a friendly 200 to 210 calories.

9. Skout Trailbar

Skout Trailbars
Wendy Bumgardner © 2012

I found these bars on my way through Portland International Airport when I needed a snack bar to take along on a short trip. They are made with organic ingredients and contain a full serving of fruit in each bar. They are dairy-free and soy-free and vegan. For example, the chocolate + peanut butter bar contains only organic dates, oats, peanuts, fair trade unsweetened dark chocolate and sea salt, and weighs in at only 160 calories. That's great for a trail snack, especially because they are uncoated and don't crumble. Everything I want in a trailbar.

10. ProBar

ProBar
Wendy Bumgardner ©

The ProBar is a tasty energy bar whose ingredient list makes you feel pure and wholesome. It uses natural nuts, seeds, and dried fruit to make a tasty bar much higher in fiber than most energy bars, with 6 grams per bar. At 380 calories, they recommend eating only half at a time for better calorie control. The consistency of the bar is excellent - no coatings to melt, easy to break in half, but it doesn't crumble, easy to chew. Really perfect for munching while walking.

11. Gorge Delights JustFruit Bar

JustFruit Bar
Wendy Bumgardner ©

Gorge Delights JustFruit Bars are just fruit - apple puree and apple or other fruit concentrates depending on which flavor. They are basically a thick fruit leather. These can be a good substitute for an energy gel, a source of natural sugar energy for endurance. They are relatively easy to chew, or you can just let them melt away in your mouth.

12. SOYJOY Nutrition Bars

SOYJOY
Wendy Bumgardner ©

SOYJOY nutrition bars are a good quick snack before or during walking. The all-natural ingredients are easy to understand - fruits, whole soybeans rather than processed soy protein concentrate, sugar, butter and eggs like you'd bake yourself. I liked the texture, easy to bite into and chew but not crumbly. They don't have any coatings that will melt in your pack. For those who need a small snack, the controlled portion of 130-140 calories is good.

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