It's a never-ending search. Always looking for that convenient, pre-packaged, fuel source to mix into my on-bike fueling strategies. I have Shari from River Valley Health to blame for making me picky - once I tried her higher protein ideas on the bike, it opened up a whole new world for me. I feel sick just thinking about going back to filling up on handfuls of gels on the bike! That's a fast road to bonking, and why I've spent so much time since looking for that magic, convenient, protein-packed bar.
We are lucky to be partnering up with JHM Fuels for this upcoming season, so a whole new level selection and convenience has opened up to us. These guys have a wide range of products and offerings, from bars, chews, hydration, and gasp, even gels! (Gels still have a place in fueling, just maybe not in the quantities that used to be the norm)
Box of goodies!
Two new products I'm trying right now are the SimplyProtein Whey bars and the RXBars.
The SimplyProtein Whey bar looks promising to start - 15 grams of protein (all whey), pretty good ratio of protein to carbs, and no fake sweeteners.
It lends itself well to eating while riding - it's quite light and wafer-like and easy to chew. Kind of like a less chewy rice-krispie bar. Lastly, the flavour is quite mild, which should definitely help when you're in the middle of a long ride and have to choke down bar number 3 or 4...
-Light, crispy, easy-to-chew
-All whey protein
-Some whey concentrate, which can be slower to digest
The RXBars also look promising. Far more natural and clean than any other bar I've had, the ingredient list reads quite short, with nothing weird added. For example, the Pumpkin Spice bar ingredient list is: egg whites, almonds, cashews, pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, all-spice. That's all that's in these bars. So simple that I'm tempted to try making my own!
The bars are quite soft and chewy, so definitely not something you want to try to eat while riding at some intensity, but they would probably work quite good as some real food during easier, longer rides.
The flavours are fantastic to boot! Some of the best tasting bars I've had yet!
-Simple ingredients, all natural, no additives
-Contains healthy fats
-Expensive - these things have no filler to help keep costs down, so be ready to pay $4/bar
I've come to learn there is no such thing as the perfet protein bar, but there seems to be some that are close. As additional supplements to protein drinks on the bike, both of the above bars will definitely find their way into my training and racing, because sometimes you just need to mix it up with some solid food.
The folks over at JHM Fuels have told me they are always looking for new products suggestions, so if you're in love with a certain product and are having a tough time finding it in-store, drop them a line!
Still on the fence about using protein DURING a ride? Check out this archived post from my first impressions of working with RVH's sports nutritionist, Shari.