If you’re looking for something to get you through an afternoon slump, or to sustain you during a hike, look no further than vegan energy bars.
What we mean by “energy”
When we’re referring to how much energy food has, we’re talking about calories and how efficiently they burn. A calorie is a unit of energy, and one calorie is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. Food, and the calories it provides, supply you with the fuel your body needs to perform its basic functions through a day. Your recommended daily caloric intake depends on your height, weight, sex, and activity level.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all calories are the same, and some are better for you than others. You’ve probably heard the expression “empty calories” at some point. This epithet describes food with little to no nutritional value that often contains solid fats and added sugars. Fast food, packaged and processed sweets, sugary sodas, and candy are some of the main culprits in providing us with empty calories.
Although all food contains calories, some will fuel you and provide more energy than others. Foods high in refined carbs are easily converted into sugar in your system, and that sugar goes straight into your bloodstream. The sugar-backed calories might provide you with a temporary sugar rush, but will also be followed by a crash in your energy levels. So, what types of food will keep you energized longer?
If your goal is to take in foods that will provide you with sustained energy, consume more whole, unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables, and foods that contain healthy fats, protein, and complex carbohydrates.
What puts the “energy” into energy bars?
Using the trifecta of healthy fats, protein, and complex carbs as a guide, Tahoe Trail Bars are a healthy and convenient source of sustained energy. Our bars are “plant based bars,” meaning we make them without any animal products, including dairy and honey. Let’s take a look at the ingredients to find out what we put into our bars to deliver you the cleanest and most nutritious energy:
Cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, oh my! Nuts and seeds (and nut butters) are one of the best, and most convenient, sources of healthy fats, which your body needs to absorb nutrients and enable cells to perform their regular functions. They also contain protein, omega-3s, magnesium, and vitamins. Not only are they chock full of nutrients, they will boost your energy levels. A handful of nuts contains, on average, 160 calories, according to Harvard Medical School.
Cocoa butter (which comes from cocoa beans) is another ingredient that we use in almost all our bars, to deliver you a dose of healthy fats, and deliciousness. You can even incorporate it into your beauty routine to reap its countless benefits. We won’t bore you with all of the health benefits of cocoa butter, but some of them include lowering cholesterol levels, improving bone health, and reducing your risk of liver disease.
According to the National Institute of Health, “protein from plant sources tends to be lower in saturated fat, contains no cholesterol, and provides fiber and other health-promoting nutrients.” Protein does give you energy, but it’s main job is to repair your muscles after exercise and helping your cells perform basic functions.
Carbs are your friend, if you are intentional about what kinds you’re eating. Complex carbs (like those found in oats and quinoa) are worlds better than refined carbs (e.g. anything made with white flour). They’re healthier for you, and burn slower, meaning they keep you energized, and fuller, for longer. Your body turns carbs into glycogen, which it uses as energy. By fueling yourself with complex carbs, you’ll stay energized and fuller for longer.
Your energy needs fluctuate
Depending on what activity you’re doing, you’ll need various amounts of fuel to keep you energized. If you went on an arduous hike during the day, chances are you’ll be hungrier at dinner time than you would on a typical work day at your desk. Some activities, especially long hikes, will require you to refuel regularly throughout the time you’re exerting yourself. We created Tahoe Trail Bars because we wanted the convenience of an energy bar, made with the best ingredients, for when we’re out conquering the outdoors.
When you’re hiking, bike touring, or doing another form of exercise that lasts several hours, you’ll burn through your body’s stored energy after the first hour, or sooner. This time frame varies, of course, but a good rule of thumb is to eat at least hourly when you’re on an arduous hike. Just like you need to regularly sip water in order to maintain a healthy hydration level, you also need to regularly refuel with snacks. We’re not camels, so we can’t store enough water in our body to last us an entire hike — likewise, we need to replenish our burnt calories intermittently, not all at once, during an average meal.
Even if you don’t necessarily feel hungry during a ride or hike, you’ll want to remind yourself to eat food in order to avoid hitting the wall, metaphorically. When you don’t actively fuel yourself, your body will burn through all of its glycogen (energy) stores, and start burning fat for energy. This seems like it could be a good thing, but if you push yourself too hard without enough sustenance, you’ll experience a sudden drop in energy and all-encompassing fatigue. This phenomenon is known as “bonking.” The energy drop occurs because your body can’t burn fat for energy as efficiently as it can glycogen. So, you are energy depleted because you didn’t eat enough carbs, which your body turns into glycogen.
However, if you eat too many carbs, you might end up with an upset stomach. This is because your body can only process about one gram of carbohydrates per minute. During a sustained, endurance-based activity, carb intake is super important, but limit it to about 30 to 60 grams per hour. Energy bars are a great snack option because they tell you on the wrapper exactly how many carbs you’re eating.
Next time you’re on a hike, bike, or climb, we recommend you pack a few Tahoe Trail Bars with you. We provide you with the energy you need to be your best self, on whatever trail your adventures find you on.