Energy bars can run the gamut in terms of nutritional value, ingredients and taste. Energy bars have usually been marketed towards athletes for a pre or post workout snack, but now they are also made for people on the go, snacks for kids and sometimes as a meal replacement. Boulder is home to quite a few energy bar companies. No surprise, these companies use top quality ingredients and are far from a chalky, glorified candy bar. Just like the Boulder based nut, granola and chocolate companies, these Boulder bars stand above the competition. Here’s a review of some of the Boulder bars, their nutritional make up and my personal nutritional recommendation for who, when and how they could be enjoyed for optimal nutrition.
|Calories||Fat (gm)||Carbohydrate (gm)||Fiber (gm)||Sugar|
|Breeze Bars, Original and Chocolate||310-320||14||40-41||4||16-17|
|Breeze Bars, Mini Bar||160||7||21||2||9|
Breeze Brown, an athlete and dietitian, started Breeze Bars by making bars for her and other athletes as a healthy fuel source during, before or after exercise. In 2009, Breeze Bars were officially a business, and in 2010 Breeze Bars were in health clubs and coffee shops around Colorado. They are growing nation wide and can be found in Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage and various other venues.
Because they are not chocolate coated, they do not melt in the hot sun like other bars which is convenient on long bike rides. They have a crunchy,slightly nutty flavor that is just slightly sweet. These bars are gluten and dairy free and use quality ingredients like brown rice flour, honey, nuts and dried fruit. Because of the higher calorie content, the regular sized bars are healthy fuel for active people. The carbohydrate to protein ratio is peaked for optimal recovery after exercise with a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate:protein. Breeze Bars just recently launched a NEW mini bar which provides around 160 calories. These would be great for a snack anytime, especially for kids. These mini’s are available at Lucky’s, on the website and at some coffee shops around town. Look for them in Whole Foods sometime this fall.
Bobo’s Oat Bars
Bobo’s Bars stick out by their soft, moist texture. They are quite unlike other energy bars on the market because they are not hard and do not have a chalky taste at all. They are made with all natural ingredients. Rolled oats are their main ingredient along with brown rice syrup for sweetness and Earth Balance for a heart healthy fat source. Bobo’s actually has 2 servings in 1 bar. The serving size is only half the bar, so in the nutritional comparison I used the full bar amount. Noticing that there are 2 servings in a package might pass some people’s radar, and sometimes it’s hard to leave half the bar in the package. They are higher in calories and carbohydrates than other bars. I would recommend using these bars for long hikes or bike rides because of the higher calories. If you will only eat half the bar, they can be more like a snack choice or pre/post workout fuel. Bobo’s gave me the coconut bar to try, and it was surprisingly very good. I am not a huge coconut fan, but I enjoyed the texture and flavor; it really wasn’t very coconuty. They offer a wide variety of flavors and have gluten free options.
Fionna’s is known as a fabulous Boulder granola company, but they also produce a wide array of energy bars. Just like the granola, Fionna’s bars have some unique flavors. The four flavors for energy bars are chocolate chip peanut butter, cranberry orange, almond chocolate chip, and lemon cranberry. The only flavor I was not a fan of was the lemon cranberry, as I am not a lemon fan. Fionna’s uses all natural organic ingredients, and the lemon cranberry and almond chocolate chip bars are made with quinoa as a main ingredient. At around 200 calories per bar, these can be a great snack option. They provide a decent amount of fiber and protein to offer a well balanced snack.
Nude Food uses all nutrient dense, raw, vegan ingredients and are gluten, soy and dairy free. Nude Food was founded by Doug Markel who wrote a book on The Nutrient Dense Eating Plan. The emphasis is for nutrient dense foods is to use quality ingredients without any empty calories. Nude Food is popular with the adventure crowd, yogis, hikers and triathletes because of the quality nutrition and higher calorie amounts. In July/August of 2012, look out for upgraded ingredients in their products such as organic date syrup, cassava syrup and real pomegranate seeds in the pineapple bar. Nude Food is also in the process for launching some new products. Besides the bars, Nude Food makes an amazingly healthy, delicious assortment of breakfast boost powders packed with protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. These boost mixes can be found at Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, Alfalfa’s and Body Work Bistro. Although Nude Food attracts the active and health conscious crowd, theses bars are also great for active kids, the elderly population and cancer patients because of the nutrient dense components. Nude Food bars are higher in fats, but the fat is from coconut oils and nuts. In fact, fats from coconut may help stimulate metabolic pathways. The bars come in tasty flavor combinations like peanut butter chocolate, mocha coconut cream, cherry vanilla macadamia, walnut mint brownie and spicy chocolate chai.