Energy bars got their start in the late ’80s/early ’90s as a way for athletes to refuel on the go. A quick internet search will give you the ingredients of the current ingredients in that original energy bar, and might make your stomach turn: “DUAL SOURCE ENERGY BLEND (CANE INVERT SYRUP, MALTODEXTRIN, FRUCTOSE, DEXTROSE), OAT BRAN (CONTAINS WHEAT), SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, RICE CRISPS (RICE BRAN, RICE FLOUR, ROSEMARY EXTRACT), BROWN RICE FLOUR, PARTIALLY DEFATTED PEANUT FLOUR, NONFAT MILK, AND LESS THAN 2% OF: PEANUT BUTTER, ALKALIZED COCOA, CHOCOLATE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, VEGETABLE GLYCERIN, PEANUT OIL, NATURAL FLAVOR, SUGAR, SALT, HIGH OLEIC CANOLA OIL, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), GROUND ALMONDS, FERROUS FUMARATE (IRON), PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2).”
Essentially: Over-processed sugar.
Luckily, the ’90s style nutrition bars aren’t all that are available anymore (thank goodness!), and there are now a plethora of protein and energy bars available for the diets of Paleo, vegans and vegetarians alike. Being that my job at an online Paleo food site allows me to try almost all of the new bars that hit the market, I’m constantly finding bars I love. I’m amazed at the innovation and flavor created by these companies, and love that whole foods are being utilized in such an efficient way. I will happily eat any of these as a quick mini-meal, or on the go snack. Here are some of my favorite.
RXBAR: Made in Chicago, these date, nut and egg white protein bars are one of my all-time favorites. They’re chewy (you’ll get a good jaw workout) but they are soft and have chunks of delicious nuts and fruit sprinkled throughout. These bars contain 12 G of protein and are just around 200 calories each. What’s most impressive is the variety of flavors and number of ingredients found in each. At the time of publishing, RXBAR has NINE craveable flavors, eight of which are Paleo, and most contain just seven ingredients. I also applaud RXBAR for including no additional sweeteners. The date base of these bars makes them plenty sweet and void of added sugars. These contain egg whites so they aren’t vegan friendly, but 100% perfect for Paleo and vegetarians alike. Find RXBARs here.
EPIC Bar: Hailing from Austin Texas, EPIC Bar was founded by a couple who needed a better source of protein during their long endurance runs and adventures. EPIC makes meat-based protein bars, some sprinkled with nuts and fruits, in a variety of flavors like Chicken Sriracha, Beef Habanero Cherry and Pulled Pork. EPIC uses well-sourced meat for these bars, so you’re getting some of the highest quality protein for your buck with these. If sweet protein bars aren’t your thing and you need something savory and substantial, look no further than EPIC. Paleo folks are crazy for EPIC, for good reason.
Thunderbird Bar: Another Austin original, Thunderbird makes vegan, vegetarian and Paleo friendly bars made with fruit, nuts, and seeds. They make 6 delicious bars in their Fruit and Nut line including Cashew Fig Carrot, Cherry Walnut Cinnamon, and Pineapple Mango Papaya, and 3 new bars in their Nut and Seed Line, including Pecan Goji Pistachio, Hazelnut Coffee Maca, and Hemp Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed. Again, this brand is extra awesome for not adding any sugar to their bars, as the fruit is a great natural sweetener. Thunderbird Bars are Vegan, Vegetarian, and Paleo friendly.
EXO Bar: Want to try something super innovative? How about cricket protein bars?! EXO create these protein bars complete with, yes, dried crickets. They created these bars after learning about the amazing environmental, social, and nutritional benefits of eating, well, bugs. Don’t be put off by the addition of crickets for protein, these bars taste just like any other yummy Paleo protein bar, sweetened with fruit and speckled with nuts in tasty flavors like Blueberry Vanilla, Apple Cinnamon and Cacao Nut. Find more about EXO here.
There you have it: A few clean picks for your next adventure, or just to keep around for a healthy Paleo snack. These bars are full of all natural goodness, are chemical free, and bring flavor to the table like never before.
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