Energy bars are indeed the fun, easy and healthy way to snack while on the run. Depending on when and how you are going to eat it plays an important role in its selection. For example, before a run you need a high carbohydrate energy bar is ideal to replenish your energy stores and after your run, a protein bar to support muscle build up and injury repair. Here we are discussing how to find the perfect energy nutrition bar for every running situation.
Running for physical fitness and sports definitely works for your best but can leave you quite drained of energy and vigor. Without a doubt eating healthy, wholesome food while undertaking such arduous activity is critical to your health. However, we live in the real world and often find ourselves in a fix when it comes to eating healthy. Carrying whole foods while sprinting your way can slow you down and terribly affect your performance.
Energy bars are well established as a healthy, handy and hassle-free snack. Easing comfortably in your pocket, energy bars restore and enhance your energy levels before, during and after the run. Energy bars provide calories for extra fuel as well as proteins that aids in muscle building and injury repair.
The market for energy bars is endless. A wide array of brands and products are at your disposal to choose from. One must remember that not all bars are equally and selecting a bar that meets your requirement and fulfills its health claims is one to go for.
Choosing A Right Energy Bar for Runners
All the energy bars that throng the market hype their products and lay heavy health claims, which can confuse you. While Screening and selecting a bar that will boost your run and keep you fit, remember the following guidelines –
1. Sugar Check
Whether you run for fitness or sport, staying healthy is one consideration you cannot overlook. One rule to remember when it comes to sugar is – lesser the better. Surely your energy bars should be nutritious and not a regular candy bar filled with sugar.
A daily 5-6 tsp of sugar is recommended for an adult and an energy bar you choose should contain less than 14 gm of sugar.
2. Calories Count
Serving size and the calories are a second most important consideration to look for. Read labels to understand calories provided per bar. High calories bars up to 500kcals are ideal as the meal replacer and not a quick snack. A bar that provided up to 250 calories is recommended.
3. Go Real
The energy bar that will power your runs should be made with natural wholesome ingredients like whole grains, cereals, nuts, dried fruits, seeds, fruits and etc. read your ingredients list carefully and look for any item you don’t understand. An ideal energy bar should have natural foods and not artificial chemicals.
4. Protein Punch
Whey proteins or soy proteins are what you should look for in the bar. Many bars contain hydrolyzed proteins which are good as they are easily digested. A protein content of 5-8gms in the energy bar is ideal.
5. No Artificial Sugar
Energy bars which artificial sugars like sucralose, aspartame, sugar alcohols, Saccharin etc are better avoided. Artificial sugars are added to lower the sugar content of the bar however, these added artificial sugars do not come without harmful effects. Sugar alcohols like sorbitol, Xylitol, and malitol are low-calorie sweeteners but are known to cause diarrhea. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener not broken down by the body.
6. A Big No
Other ingredients to watch out for are- partially or fully hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, shortening agents, artificial flavors and colors. These are chemicals and not natural therefore not of any importance in our body.
Reading nutritional labels and ingredients list helps make a wise choice when it comes to choosing a healthy energy bar for the runners. Evaluating the purpose and time when you will be eating the bar is also an important criterion to be kept in mind.
Selecting Energy Bars Based On Your Run
1. Pre Or Mid-Run Boost
Before hitting the road or midway through your run maltodextrin-based energy bars are ideal for a quick blood sugar rise and instant energy. Furthermore, maltodextrin is light on the stomach and tasteless and doesn’t leave an aftertaste like other sweetened drinks, gels and candies.
2. Long – Distance Run Snack
When running longer miles, you need a consistent supply of energy. In this instance go for high fiber energy bars which provide a slow release of energy rather than an instant blood sugar spike. Bars with whole grain cereals and honey-based are ideal as they provide long-lasting energy along with essential vitamin b-complex.
3. Immunity Boosters
Runners are often susceptible to colds and flus due to Long duration and distance of training marathons. An energy bar packed with antioxidants and nutrients like selenium, vitamin E, zinc etc can help recover and boost the immune system. When selecting a bar look for ingredients like dried fruits, seeds, cherries, and nuts.
4. Post-Run Recovery
After a long run, you need nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and fiber. These nutrients can help improve recovery and curb hunger. An energy bar with 40gms of carbohydrates, 10gms of fiber and 5 gm of proteins is best.
We hope, next time you find yourself confused by the numerous options of energy bars, you will be prepared to select the healthiest energy bar brand that will fit your workout needs and lifestyle.