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12 Best Energy Bars For Before & After A Workout

This list of 12 bars provides options for before and after a workout, as well as all day snacking!

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There are an overwhelming amount of energy bars on store shelves, making it difficult to pick just one. With varying nutrition info, ingredients, taste and cost, one bar is different from the next. 

To make the nutrition bar section easier to navigate, I compiled some of my favorite options to help you choose one that is right for you. Whether you’re looking for a pre-workout or post-workout bar, or just want a filling snack, there’s one on this list that will be your new favorite. 

When do you need an energy bar? 

Before diving into my top picks, let’s take a moment to consider when you might even want to eat an energy bar. Since all bars are different, you can find one for really any time of the day. But I broke out this list into three sections:

Pre-workout: These bars are generally higher in carbs and some even have more calories to sustain you through an intense long workout. 

Post-workout: These bars have a combination of protein and carbs. But they are a bit higher in the protein section, since protein aids in post-workout muscle recovery. 

All day: This selection of bars are good for snacking in between workouts or anytime hunger strikes. They provide a balance of carbs, protein and fat to satisfy hunger and add nutrients to your day. 

Pre-Workout 

  1. Clif Energy Bar 
  • Calories: 250 kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 45 g
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Sodium: 140 mg
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Added Sugar: 21 g

Since this bar is high in carbohydrates, it’s great to eat before a run or endurance activity. Although it has some added sugar, your body break this down into quick acting energy for exercise. Otherwise, it’s made with whole foods, such as rolled oats, dried fruits, nuts and seeds. This bar comes in a variety of flavors, my favorite being either blueberry crisp or chocolate mint.

2. Picky Bar

  • Calories: 190 kcal
  • Carb: 24 g
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Sodium: 100 mg
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Added Sugar: 5 g

Picky bars were created by endurance athletes for endurance athletes.This vegan option is filled with plant-based protein and real foods, like peanuts, dates and brown rice. They aren’t too sweet and make a great pre-workout snack.  

3. That’s It Bar 

  • Calories: 100 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 22 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Sodium: 25 mg
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Added Sugar: 0 g

These bars only contain two ingredients, have zero added sugar and are still naturally sweet. Made with just dried fruit, this bar provides quick energy for any type of workout. If you only have 30-minutes until your next workout, these bars are easy to digest and won’t weigh you down.

4. Bobo’s Oat Bar

  • Calories: 360 kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 62 g
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Protein:6 g
  • Sodium: 160 mg
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Added Sugar: 20 g

If you have a longer run or endurance-based workout on the schedule, this is the bar for you. These bars are high in carbohydrates and calories, so they will keep you energized for the long distance. Since these bars are over 300 calories, I recommend eating them at least 1-2 hours before a 60+ minute workout. 

Post-Workout 

5. Clif Builder Bar

  • Calories: 280 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 31 g
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Protein: 20 g
  • Sodium: 210 mg
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Added Sugar: 17 g

A general rule of thumb is to have a combination of protein and carbohydrates within 30-60 minutes of your run or workout to kickstart your body’s recovery. This bar has exactly that–coming in with 20 grams of protein and 31 grams of carbohydrates. 

6. PRO Bar

  • Calories: 290 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 32 g
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Protein: 20 g
  • Sodium: 380 mg
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Added Sugar: 13 g

If protein and carbohydrates are what you’re looking for post-workout, then this is another bar for you. PRO bars contain 20 grams of protein and 32 grams of carbohydrates – just what you need to start that recovery in your muscles. Not to mention it’s a vegan option. 

7. RX Bar 

  • Calories: 210 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 23 g
  • Fat: 8g
  • Protein: 12 g
  • Sodium: 210 mg
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Added Sugar: 0 g

RX Bars are unique in that you know exactly what is in each bar by just looking at the wrapper. This bar has a balance of all the macronutrients, but it has a standout 12 grams of protein. Not to mention it has no added sugars. 

All Day 

8. Lara Bar 

  • Calories: 210 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 23 g
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Sodium: 55 mg
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Added Sugar: 3 g

Looking for a vegan option made with whole foods and simple ingredients? Well look no further because these bars were made for you. With dates as the main base of this bar, there are no artificial sweeteners added to make them taste as good as they do. 

9. Perfect Bar

  • Calories: 330 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 24 g
  • Fat: 20 g
  • Protein: 15 g
  • Sodium: 105 mg
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Added Sugar: 12 g

While Perfect Bars are higher in fat than all of the other bars, that should not be a reason to avoid them. These bars will fill you up when you are on the run and in need of something easy. These bars do need to be refrigerated, and I personally like them better right from the fridge. But if you need to take them on the go, they will taste just as good and last up to a week out of the refrigerator. 

10. KIND Bar

  • Calories: 180 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Sodium: 140 mg
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Added Sugar: 4 g

These bars might be the best in-between energy bar option you can find. They are made with whole nuts and provide a good amount of fiber and protein that will keep you full until your next meal. KIND bars are the perfect combination of sweet and salty, so satisfy all your cravings.

11. GoMacro Bar 

  • Calories: 280 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 37 g
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Sodium: 30 mg
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Added Sugar: 13 g

This organic protein bar is FODMAP-friendly, meaning that it’s a good option for those with digestive issues. Since it’s filled with nuts and nut butters, there is a good amount of healthy fat in this bar along with a decent amount of protein, two nutrients that help fill you up! 

12. Luna Bar

  • Calories: 200 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 26 g
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Sodium: 180 mg
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Added Sugar: 7 g

Let’s add one more vegan option to the mix for all day energy bar options. LUNA bars are well balanced and have 16 flavors to choose from.

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I’m Natalie Rizzo, an NYC-based Registered Dietitian.

My mission is to help everyday athletes fuel their fitness with plants.

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