Best Energy Bars for Running 2023
Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet
Energy bars are a tasty way to quickly get some solid food into your body to fuel your workouts, whether eating them as a snack before a run or scaring them down during a workout.
There are a lot of energy bars and nutritional bars to choose from. This list is focused on the best energy bars to fuel your runs and workouts rather than protein bars for recovery. None of these bars are meant to replace a meal, but help fuel you to perform your best. We would be remiss not to point out that we did not include any recovery or protein bars on this list, as we kept it bars that fuel your runs.
There are two different ways that runners use energy bars as part of their nutrition. The first, and probably most common, is as a snack before a workout. When you run first thing in the morning, some people do not have time (or their stomachs cannot handle) a full meal before a workout. Similarly, some people run right after they get off work—particularly true for many training programs—and won’t have time for a full meal. Enter the energy bar. These work great as a snack to give you energy to fuel your workout.
Magna Boulet, an elite ultrarunner and Vice President of GU, gives some great general nutrition tips for what to eat before working out in this video.
Another time to consume energy bars is during your workout. If you are planning on running over 60 minutes, you will want some sort of nutrition to replenish your glycogen stores. While gels and chews may be more convenient to consume during your workout due to their consistency, bars are another good choice.
Every person’s stomach is different, so there is some trial and error as to which bar’s consistency, flavor and ingredients work for you.
Here are our top picks for the best energy bars for running:
Honey Stinger Waffles
Be ready to buzz around like a bee with Honey Stinger Waffles. These bars contain two crispy waffles with a layer of honey in between them for quick energy whenever you need it. These waffles were first popularized by cyclists in Europe as a way to keep their energy levels up during difficult rides.
Eat a Honey Stinger Waffle before or during your workout to give you a boost of energy to conquer your run. The energy in the waffles is released immediately and absorbed at a steady rate, which delays muscle fatigue and gives your body the power to keep going.
Honey is a natural form of energy and antioxidants, which Honey Stinger combined with other natural sweeteners. This waffle’s mix of carbs is better tolerated by the body and enhances performance better than a single carbohydrate source. Each waffle is 150 calories with 21 grams of carbs and 60mg of sodium. Plus, there are gluten-free options and they taste like cookies.
GU Stroopwafels are a Dutch-style treat that is perfect for your breakfast or a pre-run snack, or you can bring it with you on the go. Each Stroopwafel contains two thin, crispy wafers with a layer of delicious syrup smooshed between them. One of the ingredients is organic eggs to help hold the Stroopwafels together and add a bit of protein.
Every Stroopwafel is made with a mix of simple and complex carbohydrates. The simple carbs give you a quick hit of energy, while the slow burn of complex carbs keeps you going. Plus, GU added essential amino acids to help rebuild muscles and electrolytes to replace what you lose in sweat.
Bonus tip: Place your waffle over your coffee in the morning; the steam will warm it up and make it taste even better.
Picky Bars are made with real food for some of the best running fuel around. These energy bars are balanced to be able to support your biggest workouts with easy-to-digest, feel-good ingredients and no chemicals or cheap fillers found in other products.
Picky Bars were designed by athletes (including pro runner Lauren Fleshman), who wanted a nutrition that was made with real food to fuel their workouts. Each bar is designed to keep you running strong with a combination of fast-acting carbs and long-lasting fats (with a touch of protein for recovery). The bars themselves are soft and taste slightly sweet because the primary ingredients are dates and a nut/seed butter. Grab a bar before your workout or take it with you during a low/moderate effort run.
Bonk Breaker Energy Bars
Bonk Breakers are energy bars that are made with high quality, real food ingredients that function as either a snack or a pick me up to give you a competitive edge. Bonk Breakers were designed to prevent the dreaded in bonk when your glycogen stores are depleted during a workout, leaving you fatigued and lacking energy.
Each bar is made with 10-12 different ingredients that you can recognize and read. With tasty flavors, such as peanut butter-and-jelly and apple pie, these bars are some of the tastiest options on the market. Plus, all Bonk Breaker bars are gluten and dairy fre
UCAN Energy Bars
UCAN Energy Bars keep you fueled throughout your workout or day by using SuperStarch® for long-lasting energy that sustains blood sugar levels. SuperStarch® is UCAN’s proprietary low-glycemic, complex carbohydrate that is made by applying a patented cooking method to a specific strain of non-GMO corn.
Each bar contains 10g of the SuperStarch, which provides athletes with a steady, long-lasting energy without spikes and crashes associated with sugar and other common carbs. This allows the body to burn fat efficiently, keeping you fueled longer and performing your best. Keeping your blood sugar stable lets you perform better, optimizes recovery and reduces fatigue.
The bars also contain whey protein and healthy fats, so they curb hunger cravings and keep you satisfied, whether you are using it for a run or as a midday snack. Plus, they are all gluten-free, naturally sweetened and contain no trans fats.
How We Picked the Best Energy Bars for Running
With more than 45 years of experience, Fleet Feet is the expert in running. What makes the ideal energy bar for a runner comes down to the personal experience, goals, preferences and style of that runner. At Fleet Feet, we have been helping runners pick out the right gear for decades and want to pass that knowledge onto you.
We use a combination of real-life use, quality of materials, seasonal trends and our own top-seller lists to pick out the best energy bars for running. With all that in mind, we picked gear that lived up to our personal (and professional) expectations and we think they will live up to yours as well.
Standing Behind Our Picks
We picked the best energy chews based on what we think will work for the most people in the most situations. If you buy any gear from us and you don’t love the way it looks, fits or performs, bring them back within 60 days for a full refund.
Plus, we offer free shipping on all orders over $99 on fleetfeet.com, and we’ll match a lower price from a qualifying retailer. That’s our Happy Fit Guarantee.