Sometimes, dancers just need a snack that's super-portable, mess-free, and nonperishable. That's where energy bars come in. The trick is to know which ones are most like real food: tasty, low in added sugars, and high in dancer-friendly nutrients like fiber and protein. Behold, our ultimate energy bar breakdown.
BRAND: Clif Bar
FLAVOR: Chocolate Almond Fudge
TASTING NOTES: If you like your energy bars sweet as candy, you'll flip for Clif. If not, back away slooooowly—we couldn't take more than a few bites before feeling overwhelmed.
PROS: You'll get 20 percent of your daily dose of fiber, electrolytes like potassium, and organic ingredients.
CONS: It has a LOT of sugar—22 grams, or approximately 4.4 teaspoons.
BRAND: KIND Fruit & Nut Bar
FLAVOR: Dark Chocolate Almond & Coconut
TASTING NOTES: Imagine if trail mix had a baby with the Samoa/Caramel Delight Girl Scout cookie. It's a chewy, crunchy blend of coconut, chocolate, and almonds.
PROS: It's got healthy fats, is dairy- and gluten-free, and has fewer carbs than most bars, which means less of a crash.
CONS: 3 grams of protein might not keep you satisfied for long if you're dancing your hardest.
Photo by Nathan Sayers
FLAVOR: Chocolate Covered Almond
TASTING NOTES: Kind of confusing, but in a good way: The soft, slightly chewy texture reminds us of a brownie, but it tastes fruity, with some dark-chocolate chips for variety.
PROS: Made with just 3 ingredients, this bar offers a lot of fruit, and even has some iron and calcium.
CONS: Some nutritionists argue that a concentrated dose of sugar (even the natural sugars found in dried fruit) can lead to a sugar rush—followed by an energy crash.
BRAND: Luna Bar
FLAVOR: Dark Chocolate Hazelnut
TASTING NOTES: It's as if your favorite breakfast cereal got a powerful infusion of Nutella—crunchy, nutty, and overall a lot like a granola bar. (We tasted more chocolate than hazelnut, if you care about that.)
PROS: Hooray for only 5 grams of sugar, a range of vitamins and minerals, and organic oats and dark chocolate!
CONS: Most of those vitamins/minerals are isolated, then added to the bar. Your body absorbs nutrients better from whole foods, as opposed to supplements.
BRAND: Oatmega Bar
FLAVOR: Chocolate Coconut Crisp
TASTING NOTES: Whoa there with the coconut! This one gave us serious tropical-vacation vibes, but we wish there were more chocolate in the blend of flavors.
PROS: This bar has almost 30 percent of your daily protein and fiber requirements, some electrolytes to replace what you lose from sweating, and just 5 grams of sugar.
CONS: Its omega-3 fatty acids (a type of healthy fat) come from fish sources, so it's not an option for dancers who've gone veggie.
Look for energy bars that are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes; low in added sugars; and made from ingredients you recognize and can pronounce.
A version of this story appeared in the September 2017 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Battle of The Bars."