Pocket Provisions

Six new ways to power up without sacrificing taste

energy bars picky bar chia pod

They might look similar, but each bar offers its own taste experience (say, fruit-and-nut or crickets) and benefits (from fatty acids to a hit of glycogen).     Photo: Inga Hendrickson

It’s conventional wisdom that what you eat before, during, and after exercise effects both performance and recovery. So it’s no surprise that energy bars and gels have become an $80 billion global industry, one that has grown by nearly 10 percent in the U.S. in each of the past two years. With such a saturated market, it can be impossible to distinguish between what’s good for you and what’s little more than a fancy Rice Krispies treat. After exhaustive testing, these passed the bar.

Best For: Recovery

Picky Bar

  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

Studies show that a four-to-one ratio of carbs to protein, the same one found in Picky Bars, is optimal for restoring glycogen in tired muscles. Even better: they’re made with easy-to-digest whole organic foods like dates, apricots, and sunflower seeds. $3; pickybars.com
Calories: 200 | Protein: 7 grams | Carbs: 28 grams


Chia Pod

  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

The omega-3’s in pudding-like Chia Pods help muscles recover faster. Plus, each of the eight flavors—including dark cacao and lemon and date—is blended with metabolism-boosting coconut milk and cinnamon, a natural anti-inflammatory. $3; thechiaco.com.au
Calories: 160 | Protein: 3 grams | Carbs: 19 grams


Best For: Endurance

Pure Bar

  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

Fruit, nuts, and not much else. Gluten-free organic Pure Bars are high in antioxidants from cherries, walnuts, and blueberries. And they’re small enough to fit in the pocket of your running shorts. $2; thepurebar.com
Calories: 200 | Protein: 6 grams | Carbs: 25 grams


Enduro Bites

  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

Endurance athletes are methodical about timing every calorie ingested. With that in mind, dairy-, gluten-, and soy-free Enduro Bites come in four 100-calorie pieces per pack. $5; endurobites.com
Calories: 400 | Protein: 2 grams | Carbs: 18 grams


Best For: A Quick Lift

Bearded Brothers Energy Bar

  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

Raw-food energy bars are usually a bit dry and heavy. But Bearded Brothers smashes together organic dates, cashews, and chia seeds in five flavors for a fine-tasting, quick burst of energy that doesn’t result in a crash later. $3; beardedbros.com
Calories: 240 | Protein: 7 grams | Carbs: 30 grams


Exo Protein Bar

  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

The main ingredient, crickets, is high in protein, iron, and calcium. And because the insects are ground into flour, the cacao nut bar actually tastes like a brownie—one with 20 grams of healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats from almonds and flaxseeds. $3; exo.com
Calories: 300 | Protein: 10 grams | Carbs: 23 grams

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