Oh man, are there a lot of snack bars out there. As most of you probably already know, some of them are fantastic – and many, many of them are crap (both in regards to taste and nutrition). I know that there are different schools of thought when it comes to snack bars and that some people just avoid them completely, while others can’t get enough.
The fact of the matter is that sometimes a snack bar is just what I need. Whether it is to provide some fuel pre- or post-workout, to nourish an afternoon hunger pang, or to just get some food on an overly busy day, they do serve their purpose. In all honesty, I usually eat about one a day. They’ve become a standard part of my weekday, late-afternoon, pre-workout mini-meal. Because of this, it has been important to me to find a few brands that I can trust to better (and not harm) my overall health.
All of the brands below feature natural ingredients, minimal processing, and (I think) they taste fantastic.
- Kind Bars (kindsnacks.com)
These never fail me. Every flavor I’ve had (which is nearly all of them) has been fantastic. These are chunky nut and fruit bars, so they are going be somewhat higher in fat than some of the others below, due to the high concentration of nuts. Some are very straightforward (Fruit and Nut), some are sweet and decadent (Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt) and some are ‘plus’ bars, fortified for special nutritional needs (Cranberry Almond + Antioxidants).
Favorite Flavor: Almond Cashew with Flax + Omega 3s
- Picky Bars (pickybars.com)
These bars are made right here in Oregon – and I’m so glad they are or I may never have found them. They are still a growing company, though you can order online if you can’t find them in your area. These tasty squares are specifically designed by endurance athletes for endurance athletes. They are formulated to provide optimal amounts of fats, carbs, and proteins for performance. These are bars that I don’t eat on just any occasion; rather I have come to consistently rely on them for pre-long run fuel. I have truly noticed a difference when I eat one of these about 30 minutes before hitting the pavement.
Favorite Flavor: Smooth Caffeinater
- Gnu Bars (gnufoods.com)
Need some fiber? Gnu bars have you covered. These bars are delicious little treats that are perfect for an afternoon snack. They are focused on providing a significant amount of fiber through bran, oats, psyllium, and other such ingredients. These come in at only 130-140 calories each, but because of the high fiber content, they really help to keep you full, making them ideal for a between meal snack that tides you over.
Favorite Flavor: Blueberry Cobbler Bar or Carrot Cake (I can’t decide!)
- Pure Bars (thepurebar.com)
These are good, you all! If you haven’t tried them, they are similar in texture and concept to Luna Bars, but I will venture to say that I find their flavor to be even better. Vegan, gluten-free, and kosher, these bars are also accessible to just about anyone’s dietary needs.
Favorite Flavor: Apple Cinnamon or Cherry Cashew or Wild Blueberry (Don’t make me choose!)
- Skout Bars (skoutnatural.com)
Another Oregon-based company! These are trail bars – intended to be ideal for packing up and taking along on adventures. As such, they are a bit drier than some of the others, but this means they really do hold up better to be being carted around, thrown in a backpack on a hike, or tucked into a pocket for a bike ride or a long run. Skout bars provide sustainable energy, and the company donates a portion of their proceeds to environmental and humanitarian charities – an added bonus if you ask me.
Favorite Flavor: Cherry + Vanilla
Happy healthy snacking!