The Best Energy Bars for Cycling
Cycling is a demanding, endurance sport that is taxing on your body. It requires long periods of energy to reach the finish line without fatigue. This is why it’s important to choose the proper foods that will power your long distance rides. Equally important is choosing the right food to eat after you’ve successfully completed your ride.
One of the keys to performing at your best is fueling your body with the right nutrients in the form of energy bars. Energy bars are an easy source of calories and nutrients you need in a convenient snack. They are small, easy to carry, and provide the fuel you need to sustain your energy levels for long bike rides.
However, not all energy bars are created equal. Some contain added sugars, artificial colors, and preservatives. Others don’t have enough carbs, or too many of the wrong carbs, and are low in protein and other important nutrients.
To help you find the best cycling energy bars, we’ve put together a list of our top picks you need to power through a long ride.
Throughout this post, we’ll take a look at what makes an energy bar for cycling great, including the highest carb bars for cycling and the best performance energy bars. We will also provide tips for the type of ingredients you should look for in an energy bar if you are preparing for a cycling race.
What Nutrients Do You Need for Cycling?
One element that will drive your decision making around important nutrients is riding distance. For shorter rides less than three hours, you’ll want ride snacks with more carbohydrates and less protein. Carbs keep energy levels high, while protein can slow down your digestion.
If the ride or race is longer than three hours, your body will require more grams of protein to slow digestion and use fat for energy rather than just carbs.
High Carb Bars for Cycling
When it comes to high carb choices, there are several things to consider. Reach for a bar that contains around 40 grams of carbs, which will provide longer, sustained energy. If you’re looking for a quick burst of carbs, look for a product like an energy gel with around 20 grams of carbs.
For riders who prefer natural energy bars for cycling, Kate’s Real Food bars are a great choice. Your body craves real food because it’s easy to digest compared to heavily processed and synthetic foods. They’re convenient, simple, and because they’re made with whole food ingredients they’re easy to digest. Equally important, each bar contains 15-20g of carbs per serving. So grab yourself a full-size bar to hit the recommended 30-40 grams of carbs.
Best Performance Energy Bars
Here you’ll want to look for a high energy bar with carbohydrates and higher protein levels for sustained energy throughout a long ride. The boost and stamina you’ll receive will come from the calories it provides through carbs and protein.
If your goal as a cyclist is high-performance rather than simply finishing a race, nutrition that makes you feel better will help you perform better. Stick to a bar made with real fruit, nuts, and the right blend of carbs and protein, making it easy to digest.
Before a Race
Prior to a race, you should focus on eating lots of complex carbs because they supply the body with energy and improve endurance and performance. A carb heavy meal the night before a race will supply the body with ample fuel to power through any race. They’re also much healthier than processed carbs in terms of nutrition and retaining vitamins.
Look to carbs like:
- Whole grains
- Nuts/Nut butters (almond butter, peanut butter, etc.)
During the Ride
We know it’s difficult to consume a bowl of pasta or cereal mid-race which is why it’s important to grab a small snack that can provide you with quick releasing carbs and sugars. Energy bars can provide you with this recommended rapid release of carbs, fats, and proteins, but again, make sure to look for healthy ones that won’t give you bad fuel. Fats are equally important to consume as protein and carbs as they will assist in providing energy as long as they are healthy fats.
Instead of grabbing energy bars filled with processed foods and artificial flavoring, reach for an organic bar with real complex ingredients. This way you can ensure you’re only fueling yourself with the most nutritious and vitamin rich ingredients. Read the ingredient labels to find bars with healthier fats and complex carbohydrates with a good mix of ingredients.
Foods you can eat during a ride include:
- Energy bars
- Trail Mix
- Peanut-butter and jelly sandwich
- Dried fruit
After the Ride
Following a race, your diet is just as important as before. You must eat the right kinds of foods in order to avoid injury. Again, this means lots of carbs and protein. Protein is important to ensure a healthy recovery for all muscles especially if you plan to continue training or racing again.
Carbs can assist in providing energy to continue moving after a race and in case you plan on exercising again soon after. Look towards lean meats and rich complex carbs for this time period to get the best results.
Cycling can be a difficult sport if you don’t put in the right kinds of effort. It is endurance and stamina heavy so that means you need the right fuel for your body. Avoid artificial and processed foods and instead look for real food on the ingredients list when choosing the best cycling bars.
Kate’s Real Food is dedicated to providing the kind of fuel every athlete looks for, this means organic, all natural ingredients. They are also gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher, soy-free, and have an award winning taste and texture that’s easy to take on-the-go.