10 Best Energy Bars for Post-Workout Recovery

Our guide to the tastiest energy snacksOur guide to the tastiest energy snacksWe taste-tested dozens of recovery bars to find the best post-workout snacks for active women. What we learned: The era of choke-it-down energy bars is over. New options taste better than ever--while still providing the muscle-friendly nutrients your body craves. (Pair these options with the Best Pre-Workout Snacks for ultimate results.)

Best Chocolate
Honey Stinger Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Protein Bar
Lots of bars feature bland, waxy chocolate, but Honey Stinger's version is rich and dark-like a Lindt bar, only healthier, with 10 grams of whey protein and a host of workout-fueling nutrients: Vitamins A, C, and E combat muscle-damaging free radicals, and calcium (24 percent of your Daily Value) helps stave off muscle cramps. honeystinger.com

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Best Baked Good Alternative

Hammer Oatmeal Apple Bar
"It's like eating apple pie," raved one tester, who issued props for this bar's moist texture and real-food flavor (thanks to actual organic apples). The bar's 25 grams of carbohydrates rapidly replenish depleted energy stores, and a touch of iron (9 percent of your DV) preps blood cells for the next workout. hammernutrition.com

Best Mega-Protein Bar

Clif Chocolate Chip Builder's Bar
Most bars with tons of protein are just dense slabs of chalky paste, but the new Chocolate Chip Builder's bar has a much smoother consistency. Organic rolled oats and roasted soy beans are sandwiched with a soy cookie that provides 20 tasty grams of protein-making it the ideal snack for big athletes (180 pounds or more) or a meal replacement for smaller-bodied women. clifbar.com (Choose the right snack before, during, and after your workouts. Learn how to Pick The Best Energy Bars.)

Best PB
Perfect Foods Peanut Butter Bar
If your recovery routine includes scooping peanut butter from the jar, try this portable version. The Perfect Foods Bar blends peanut butter with organic honey and powdered fruits and vegetables for a snack rich in protein (18 grams), carbs (25 grams), and potassium (13 percent of your DV)-an electrolyte that's lost during sweaty workouts. Unlike most energy bars, which are shelf-stable, this one requires refrigeration. perfectfoodsbar.com

Best Texture
KIND Almond & Coconut Bar
Nothing mealy or chalky here: Made with whole almonds and big coconut flakes bound together by honey, the KIND bar tastes like a pastry-shop treat. Its 13 grams of fat are mostly monounsaturated (the "good" kind that helps combat heart disease), and the carb-to-protein ratio (20 grams and 4 grams, respectively) replenishes spent glycogen stores and gives muscle a jumpstart on recovery. kindsnacks.com

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Best Homemade Taste
Kate's Stash Bar
This cake of seeds and grains tastes like something that came out of a real kitchen-not a factory. Organic chocolate and peanut butter lend rich flavor, while 5 grams of fiber help curb post-workout hunger pangs. katesrealfood.com

Best Granola Bar

Kashi Honey Almond Flax Chewy Granola Bar

Some granola bars are nothing but candy bars in disguise. But Kashi's bars actually deliver muscle-mending fuel, thanks to seven whole grains (including oats, wheat berries, and barley), almonds, and flax seeds, which provide 7 grams of protein and 260 milligrams of omega-3 to reduce post-workout inflammation and fight free radical damage. kashi.com

Not sure which foods are healthiest? Bring the Ultimate Supermarket Survival Guide along on your next grocery store run.

Best Vegan
Vega Sport Chocolate Coconut Protein Bar
Sometimes scrupulously sourced ingredients result in a bar that tastes "healthy" rather than good-but Vega Sport's Chocolate Coconut flavor combines 100 percent plant-based ingredients (such as sprouted brown rice, pea protein and pumpkin seed butter) into a bar that's surprisingly delicious. Chocolate liquor and cocoa butter boost the "yum" factor, while dates, sorghum, and quinoa refuel muscles with 15 grams of complete protein and .4 grams of inflammation-quenching omega-3. vegasport.com
(NO HONEY OR WHEY PROTEIN)

Best Gluten-Free
Bumble Bar Chunky Cherry
Like Greece's popular sesame candies, gluten-free and grain-free Bumble Bars turn sesame seeds into a bar, except this one's sweetened not with honey, but agave (which is 1 1/2 times sweeter than table sugar and contributes to the bar's 18 grams of carbs). Seeds and cherries provide antioxidants (including 40 percent of your DV for Vitamin E) to boost the immune system during tough training periods, and 5 grams of protein rebuild muscle. bumblebar.com

If you prefer your energy in something other than bar form, try these Five Proven Items That Give You a Boost.

Best Antioxidant Boost
ZonePerfect Chocolate Almond Raisin Bar
"It tastes like a chocolate-coated cookie," reported one tester. Raisins, almonds, and soy protein nuggets give this bar bakery--good flavor and boost antioxidant content: High in vitamins A, C, and E (100 percent of your DV), and loaded with carbs and protein (15 grams), this bar supports the immune system and helps repair muscles ravaged from high-intensity workouts. zoneperfect.com

TELL US: When do you like to eat energy bars? Are they your go-to pre-workout snack or do you nosh on one afterward?


-By Kelly Bastone, Runner's World

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