The Sweet Sixteen

sweet 16

I try and eat fresh food as often as possible – especially fresh veggies. However, sometimes it’s just not possible. When I can’t get my hands on some broccoli or kale, my go-to is “the bar.” No, not that kind of bar, although those are fun too. I have the so-called nutrition bar or energy bar.

I’ve assembled a list of sixteen – The Sweet Sixteen, if you will. Here they are:

Picky Bars: The brainchild of Stephanie Rothstein, Jesse Thomas and Lauren Fleshman… these use 75% organic ingredients (according to the Picky Bars website) and are gluten and dairy-free. As an added bonus, you can join the Picky Club – you get a monthly shipment of bars, and periodically, they send you fun, free stuff. I think these bars taste great and I use them before, during and after runs.

Luna Bar: Yes, yes, I know these are allegedly for women – but I’m not sure exactly what that means… do they have the special “woman ingredient” – I’m calling marketing ploy. Anyhow, Luna does have a few bars that are gluten-free and they have two bars that are dairy-free, but I find the bars and the website to be much more about bright colors and pretty layouts than actual nutrition.

*Luna Bars are a product of Clif Bar & Company

Chia Bar: These are pretty awesome. They are vegan, gluten-free and soy-free. The #1 ingredient is chia seeds and these bars are loaded with Omega 3s and Omega 6s. They are pretty small, so if you’re like me, you may need two (or three) of them, but if you haven’t tried them yet, you definitely should!

Balance Bar: Balance Bars were my go-to bar for a long time. They are cheap… and perhaps you get what you pay for. Looking back, the ingredient list on one of these things is pretty scary. If you do complete your chemisty degree and identify some of these things, keep in mind that Balance Bars also contain soy and dairy.

Marathon Energy: These are made by Snickers… I think we’re done here.

LaraBar: LaraBar tries – their bars are gluten-free and some of them are dairy-free and soy-free. They claim their bars are made from whole foods and that each type has no more than nine ingredients. Like I said, they try. However, I don’t love the taste of their bars. I do have them occasionally and they make an okay snack but they aren’t my favorite.

Clif Bars: These use 70% organic ingredients. They are more affordable than most of the other bars listed here, which is a plus. However, I also find that their website is dressed up with bright pictures and gimmicky stories. Sure, I know all of these comapnies are using marketing, but I at least want it to feel sincere.

Bearded Brothers: I enjoy these up-and-comers! Bearded Brothers bars are organic, raw, gluten-free and vegan. They are the real deal. Not only that, but they have delicious flavors such as Ginger Peach, Coconut Mango and Raspberry Lemon. The bars are a little pricey for me (full price is $3/bar) but they regularly have sales and post coupon codes. Also, you can get 15% off your first order just for subscribing to their mailing list.

KIND Bars: KIND states that their bars are “made with tasty ingredients you can see and pronounce” – and for the most part, it’s true. KIND has lots of great flavors and they are available in more places than some of the other bars, so they have the convenience factor.

Clif Mojo: Refer to the review of “Clif Bars” above.

Pure: These are organic and gluten-free – and they’re pretty good. I think they’re a little on the pricey side, but they do have some good flavors like Banana Coconut and Apple Cinnamon. Also, you can get Free Shipping on the Pure website with only a $39 purchase.

PowerBar: The original. The bar that started it all. Believe it or not, I still eat these on occasion. Yes, I’m the one that still buys them. While these bars hold the potential to screw up your dental work or be mistaken for an old lump of Play-Doh, they have yet to give me a cramp or a stomach problem. I don’t know what’s in them and I’m not going to look because I don’t want to know.

Raw Revolution: I like these bars – they are organic, vegan and gluten-free. Out of all the bars listed here, they probably have the best ingredient list – it’s short and sweet (Picky Bars, Bearded Brothers and KIND Bars also do a decent job). I do prefer the taste of Picky Bars, but with a little bit of tweaking, these will be a force to be reckoned with!

2 Degrees: These bars are vegan and gluten-free. They are pretty affordable, although you need to purchase four boxes to get free shipping ($17.95/box). With that being said, you can get 10% off your first order just for signing up for their newsletter. You can find their chocolate peanut and apple pecan bars here.

Honey Stinger: I’ve used Honey Stinger products in the past, but I don’t love their ingredient list. These obviously contain honey – their website says the bars are made with over 30% honey – and they also contain soy and dairy. I think there are better choices out there.

ProBar: ProBar did very well in The Sweet Sixteen for one main reason – I have a lot of trouble getting enough calories on race mornings. In the past, it has been difficult to get anything down. However, I am now able to stomach a ProBar (I particularly enjoy Superfood Slam and Superfruit Slam) and most of them have 350 to 400 calories. This is usually enough to get me on my way! These are pricey but they are also pretty filling so you definitely won’t need more than one!

Do you eat bars?

What kind is your favorite?

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23 Responses to The Sweet Sixteen

  1. emmelineruns says:

    I do love Picky Bars! I really like the taste of a lot of Lara Bars though (coconut and key lime especially) but I also know like 70% of bars are immediately knocked out of the running for me for being too sweet or having chocolate in them. Those bearded bros bars flavors sound AMAZING though, I’ll have to give it a try!

  2. lljkline says:

    Great review! Have you tried ProBar’s Core and Fuel bars? Core bars are great for me when I have a sweet tooth, and the Fuel bars are awesome to eat during training or as a pre-wko snack. Of course I’m a big fan of the Vega bars too though, especially when it comes to getting pure ingredients!

  3. Cat Hiles says:

    I’m a Larabar fan, but I tend to go for the fruit flavors like apple pie, blueberry muffin, and cherry pie rather than the chocolate ones. They’re tangier and less sweet.

  4. pauldburton says:

    We only ever eat the cliff bars, especially the cool mint chocolate bar as it has a touch of caffeine to help fuel my otherwise caffeine-free existence. A little extra boost at the six mile mark… 🙂

  5. Very informative! I’m not a bar eater but I am still at the beginning stages of fuel experimentation so this is a nice go-to guide. I’m actually a pretty picky eater so I have a good feeling that Picky Bar will be a winner..

  6. Nice reviews. I really love Balance bars and Clif bars.. Luna bars used to be a favorite but I kind of stopped buying them, no reason. A few on your list I really want to try now.

  7. piratebobcat says:

    Haha, that’s funny that you made a bracket for them!
    I was once an ‘ambassador’ for Clif bars. They gave me thousands of them! It was exhausting just giving them away!

  8. leerunsdistances says:

    Nice post! I eat bars on rare occasions. I have tried Picky Bars and I was quite pleased with them. Hammer Nutrition actually put out some very tasty and nutritious bars. They even have some vegan flavors.

  9. This is a fantastic review! And I was excited to see how far ProBar made it (those are my favorite)! However that also means I’ll now need to check out PIcky Bars! 🙂

  10. mskatieblaze says:

    This is a great post–super informative. You wrote, ” I try and eat fresh food as often as possible especially fresh veggies. However, sometimes it’s just not possible. When I can’t get my hands on some broccoli or kale, my go-to is “the bar.” No, not that kind of bar, although those are fun too. I have the so-called nutrition bar or energy bar.”

    hahah. couldn’t agree more.

  11. dnardi710 says:

    Hmmm…I may have to try some Picky Bars, I’ve never had one! I do like the Chia Bars though and I am recently enjoying KIND bars new peanut butter dark chocolate ones : )

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