It’s always helpful to have a fairly non-perishable, pre-packaged snack on hand. Especially one that fits nicely in THEONE-TWO PUNCH.
The term “energy bar” makes me laugh a little. Technically, all food gives us energy (calories). With food manufacturing and technology at an all time high, lots of grab-n-go foods get put in this category. However, when I think of an energy bar, I think of something that is balanced. And that means it contains protein, as well as some fat. I think of protein bars.
I get asked a lot about protein bars and how they fit in OTP. As with food choices, I recommend you choose something you love. So many choices!!! And there are so many great tasting options, it’s still hard to decide. I’m here to help and give you some easy parameters.
Here are my general recommendations (remember we’re trying to simplify).
Choose a bar:
~ 200 calories
That’s it. The rest will take care of itself! If the bar is around 200 calories and at least 10 grams of protein, it’s not going to be crazy high in any other area.
Protein bars come in such a wide variety of flavors so you’re sure to find one that fits the guidelines above, as well as one that fits your particular way of eating (for instance, if you’re vegan). The guidelines are important. A granola bar, while convenient, doesn’t have a great foundation of protein – it’s just a granola bar, not a protein bar.
Whether the bar serves as a meal or a snack depends on your level of hunger. Within OTP, a protein bar (with the above numbers) can be considered a fist of protein and a fist of carb – in which case you would wait until the next time you get hungry. The definition of “meal” and “snack” get hazy in THEONE-TWO PUNCH. Ideally, you shouldn’t be concerned whether it’s a snack or a meal but instead paying attention to your hunger: the BURN aspect of THEONE-TWO PUNCH.
A note about net carbs and sugar alcohols. Some protein bars are sweetened with sugar alcohols such as maltitol, erythritol, and sorbitol to lower the sugar content. Many of these bars are supplemented with fiber. These substances are not fully absorbed by the body, so the label subtracts them from the total amount of carbs you’re getting, leaving you with a “net” carb amount. That can be good if you’re really watching your carb intake, but the sugar alcohols and fiber can also cause gastrointestinal distress (pain, gas, diarrhea).
If you’re looking for an all-around balanced bar (meeting the above criteria) here are some examples*:
- Rx Bar – 200 calories; 12g protein; 24g carbohydrate; 7g fat; 4g fiber
- Zone Perfect Bar – 210 calories; 15g protein; 23g carbohydrate; 7g fat; 1g fiber
- Balance Bar – 210 calories; 15g protein; 22g carbohydrate; 7g fat; 1g fiber
- NuGo Bar – 170 calories; 11g protein; 26g carbohydrate; 3g fat; 2g fiber
- Luna Protein Bar – 170 calories; 12g protein; 20g carbohydrate; 6g fat; 2g fiber
- Quest Bar – 190 calories; 20g protein; 22g carbohydrate; 8g fat; 15g fiber
*Average across different flavors