{Five Things Friday} 5 kinds of protein and energy bars that kept me fueled this week

five things fridayHappy Friday, friends! I’m finally feeling back to normal after my pre- and post-marathon illness and got back into the gym this week to do some light circuit training and short treadmill runs. I’d say my body is about 80% recovered and I’m actually itching to start running again, which isn’t usually the case after a hard marathon.

The only good part about being home for most of last week (well, aside from resting and taking the time to get better) was that I was around to receive a few protein bar samples that came my way in the mail to try.

Here are a few new protein bars I tried this week, as well as three of my trusty go-to bars I keep on hand when I need an afternoon snack at work or something quick after a workout. 

5 kinds of protein and energy bars (2 new and 3 favourites) that kept me fueled this week

Optimum Nutrition Opti-Bars – Optimum Nutrition, a nutritional supplement company popular with the body building crowd and known for their whey protein powders, came out with a brand new protein bar last month and were kind enough to send me some flavours to try. Opti-Bars, which come in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Brownie, Cookies ‘N Cream, White Chocolate Raspberry and Cinnamon Pecan flavours, contain 250 calories, 9  grams of fat, 20 grams of dairy-based protein, 8-10 grams of fibre and less than 5 grams of sugar per bar. They have a similar taste and consistency to Quest Bars, but a bit chewier. Because I can’t handle a lot of dairy protein I only had a bit of each, but they were good.

Optimum Nutrition Opti-Bar flavours! Cookies and Cream was my fav.

Optimum Nutrition Opti-Bar flavours! Cookies and Cream was my fav.

FitJoy Bars – Another new protein bar on the scene is FitJoy Bar. FitJoy Bars are gluten-free, and have no artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives. Similar to Quest Bars and Opti-Bars, each FitJoy Bar contains about 220-230 calories, 20 grams of whey protein, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of sugar and 12 grams of dietary fibre. But unlike other high-protein, high-fibre and low-sugar bars, FitJoy Bars taste exactly like the dessert-type flavor described on the packaging. Again, because of my issues with dairy, I only had a sample of each and had to stop myself from eating the whole bar. Flavours include Chocolate Iced Brownie (Matt had that one and gave it two thumbs up), Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Mint Crisp, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Frosted Cinnamon Roll and Vanilla Almond. They also have seasonal flavours, like Pumpkin Pie (which really did taste like pumpkin pie) and will be coming out with a Christmas-flavoured bar sometime soon. (I asked the product rep what the Christmas bars will tastes like, and she said white chocolate mint and gingerbread. Yum!)

fitjoy bars

Vega All-in-One Meal Bar – If I need something more substantial than a banana to tide me over until a post-work run or workout, I like to have a Vega One Meal Bar about an hour before I head out the door. Each Vega One Meal Bar has 12 grams of protein from sprouted whole grain brown rice and pea protein, as well as 4 grams of fibre that keep me satiated until dinner. Not only do these chocolate-coated and fruit-filled bars taste just like a chocolate bar treat, but also contain a serving of greens made from real, whole food spinach, broccoli, alfalfa, and kale.

Vega Sport Protein Bars – With 15 grams of plant-based protein, 2.5 grams of muscle-repairing BCAAs and 2 grams of glutamine, Vega Sport Protein Bars are the perfect post-workout snack for vegans and non-vegans alike. Vega Sport Protein Bars have the flavor and consistency of a chocolate bar (Chocolate Mint is a favourite), and taste more like a treat than a muscle-replenishing snack. They also make a great meal replacement bar if you’re on the go, as they contain about 250 calories and 30 grams of carbohydrates to keep you fueled. I usually have a few in my desk during the week for the 3 p.m. munchies.

Larabars — If you’re looking for a healthy sugar boost before a run or hard workout but your fruit bowl is empty, try a Larabar Snack Bar in Apple Pie flavour (nom!) instead. Larabar Snack Bars are made of a delicious blend of unsweetened fruits (about half a serving), nuts and spices for just 200 calories, and contain 4 grams of protein and 5 grams of fibre per serving. They’re also gluten-free, contain no added sugar and are low in sodium. I love Larabars as long run, ride or hike fuel, or just when I need something sweet that’s not chocolate.

What are your go-to protein or energy bars?
What’s your favourite flavour of protein bar or what flavor would you like to try?
What snacks to you like to have to beat the 3 p.m. munchies?

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