Your Energy Bar Nutrition Label Breakdown

Looking for the perfect energy bar? Check the label. Sports nutritionist Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CPT, breaks down the back-of-box jargon to take the guesswork out of snacking.

As told to Jessica Sebor

Serving Size

Check the serving size. "Always see how much you're getting for the whole package," recommends Moskovitz. A bar should be one serving—not four.

MorePortion Control Made Easy

Calories

 "The first thing you want to look at is total calories," says Moskovitz, who recommends enjoying bars with fewer than 200 calories post-run. "We can easily undo our whole run with one high-sugar bar or drink. If it's more than 200 calories, you're better off eating a meal."

Fat

"Many protein bars have a ton of saturated fat," says Moskovitz, who recommends keeping this number below 2 g.

More: Energy Bars Unwrapped 

Carbohydrates

Next, shift your gaze to carbohydrates. Moskovitz says, "Generally you only need 20 to 30 g of carbs after you run."

Fiber

When ingested immediately following a workout, fiber will slow the absorption of carbohydrates, so keep this number low. Moskovitz says, "Five to 10 g is a good mark."

More: How to Make Homemade Energy Bars 

Protein

Find bars with 10 to 15 g of protein, roughly half the amount of carbs. "This is the most effective ratio for both losing weight and repairing muscles," says Moskovitz.

Vitamins

Vitamins should be considered a bonus—not a deciding factor in your purchase. Moskovitz recommends getting micronutrients from "fresh fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy—not a bar." However, Moskovitz notes that female runners are often deficient in the following nutrients: "iron, zinc, B-vitamins, vitamin C, calcium and vitamin D." Getting a little extra boost from fortified bars may help in these cases.

More: How to Choose the Right Energy Bar

Active logoSign up for a race online.


Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CPT, is a sports nutrition and personal training specialist. Moskovitz has designed numerous lecture programs for Velocity Sports Performance, an athlete training facility in Manhattan.

Jessica Sebor is the editor in chief of Women's Running magazine.

About the Author

Women's Running

Women's Running is the go-to source for women who are chasing their dreams. Women's Running empowers the ever-growing community of women runners to live a healthy lifestyle via editorial content focused on running, fitness, nutrition and wellness. For more information, please visit womensrunning.com.

Women's Running is the go-to source for women who are chasing their dreams. Women's Running empowers the ever-growing community of women runners to live a healthy lifestyle via editorial content focused on running, fitness, nutrition and wellness. For more information, please visit womensrunning.com.

Discuss This Article