You be the judge

Energy bars that pack a punch: Which one is best for you?

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

I was starving. I had 1 1/2 hours to get a weight-lifting workout, get showered, and on to the next thing. Of course, I didn't have time for lunch, so I stopped at HEB and headed straight for the energy bars. I looked desperately at the shelves full of energy bars, dumbfounded and overwhelmed. So many to choose from.

In my haste, I grabbed the first one I saw. On the way to the gym, I choked down the dry, chalky mass of god knows what . My workout was super disappointing because the mystery food made my stomach hurt and no matter how much water I drank, I could not get that horrible taste out of my mouth.

Has this ever happened to you?

The nutrition industry has come a long way since the 1960's when energy bars were made exclusively for astronauts. Now, the market is completely flooded with energy bars contending for the title of best bar. I've chosen 6 bars and just for fun we are going to let them take each other on in the ring (or the plate).

We have 2 preliminary and one main event. The contenders are being judged in the following categories:

  • Ingredients- are they real, whole, recognizable ingredients?
  • Taste- does it taste like the ingredients and does it taste good?
  • Texture- does it feel good in your mouth or like rubber dusted in chalk?
  • Functionality- does it make you sick (allergies excluded) and does it last through your workout?
  • Price - is it an occasional treat or can you stock pile it and include it in your meal plan?

The featherweights get inside the ring. In one corner, we have the LARA Bar in the next, RX Bar. These bars are featherweights because they boast being made with simple, whole ingredients that are so transparent that they even list them on the front of the package. No B.S. They are direct competitors. Let's see who gets knocked out.

LARA Bar

  • Ingredients- says it on the bag. 10
  • Texture- has a pretty good mouth feel. 7
  • Taste- 26 different flavors like pecan pie and peanut butter and jelly that taste awesome. 8
  • Functional- some flavors may be really sweet. I would wait at least 20 minutes before your workout. 8
  • Price- at $2 per bar, they are easy to stock. 8
  • Total Score- 8.2

RX Bar

  • Ingredients-says it on the bag. 10
  • Texture- kinda rubbery. 5
  • Taste- 22 flavors like chocolate peanut butter. It was a little bland. 4
  • Functional- made for CrossFitters. 8
  • Price-$2.50 a bar. Little pricey. 6
  • Total Score- 6.6

And LARA Bar wins the Featherweight Title.The middleweights get inside the ring. These bars are contending for the best raw bar. Both are made with ingredients that have live probiotics and plant based protein. You can find both in the refrigerator in your grocer. We have Perfect Bar and Pro Bar.

Perfect Bar

  • Ingredients- made with 20+ superfoods. 10
  • Texture- straight up 10
  • Taste- peanut butter with coconuts taste amazing. 10
  • Functional- no stomach upsets and great for heavy workouts. 9
  • Price- at $2.5 to $3 a bar, makes it an occasional treat. 6
  • Total Score- 9
Pro Bar
  • Ingredients- real ingredients like crunchy seeds. 10
  • Texture- good mouthfeel. A little extra crunchy. 9
  • Taste- good, more savory than sweet. 8
  • Functional- good for heavy lifting. 8
  • Price- at $3. Not good to stock pile. 5
  • Total Score.- 8

Perfect Bar knocks Pro Bar out to win the middleweight title.

The main event contenders are the heavyweights. They both have been in the game for a long time and have the notoriety to match. They are my all time go-tos when I'm on the go: KIND bar and Clif bar!

KIND bar out of Austin, Texas is known for its recognizable ingredients that are easily seen through the bag. With 30+ flavors made with chia seeds, dark chocolate, almonds, and sea salt, they are an quick favorite.

  • Ingredients- Absolutely yes. 10
  • Texture- 10
  • Taste- Never had a flavor I didn't like. 10
  • Functional- may not last through a hard workout. 8
  • Price- $2 a bar. A little pricey, but worth it. 7
  • Total Score- 9

Clif Bar is the hardest working bar in the biz. You see it everywhere from convenience stores to specialty stores. Runners, hikers, lifters, and cyclists swear by its energy that packs a punch.

  • Ingredients- all organic and recognizable. 9
  • Texture- feels like a cookie. 8
  • Taste- 7 words! 34 flavors. peanut toffee buzz. carrot cake. 10
  • Functional- again. Hikers, runners, lifters all use this product.
  • Price- typically $1 a bar. Easy to stock.
  • Total Score- 9

Looks like its still a split decision.

Final words about the matches: If you are looking for energy, you will win every time with Clif and Kind. If you want to try something new, I'd definitely give Perfect Bar a try. Look for it the refrigerator section in HEB or Whole Foods.

A thing to remember about energy bars: It is best to enjoy 30 minutes before your workout just in case of cramps. Raw energy bars are stored in the refrigerator, but you leave them out for a few hours like in your gym bag. Most important. If you have food allergies, scrutinize every bar for these foods. Your life does depend on it and they are notorious for nuts, seeds, chocolate and other foods.

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After the big offensive showing to take the opener on Thursday, the Astros entered Friday's game at Globe Life Field against the Rangers just one win or Angels loss away from securing their spot in the playoffs. Here is how the game unfolded:

Final Score (10 innings): Rangers 5, Astros 4.

Record: 29-29, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Brett Martin (1-1, 1.98 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Enoli Paredes (3-3, 3.05 ERA).

Urquidy goes seven while allowing two

The Rangers would strike first in Friday's game, getting a two-out solo home run against Jose Urquidy in the bottom of the second to grab the early 1-0 lead. Urquidy did relatively well on the night, though he would allow another solo homer in the bottom of the fifth. Those were the only two runs he allowed, working in and out of some trouble throughout the game on his way to finishing seven innings. His final line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 98 P.

Houston grabs their first lead late

Unlike their hot night at the plate the night prior, it took the Astros until the fifth inning to get on the board. It came after Carlos Correa hit a leadoff single, then came all the way around to score on an RBI-triple by George Springer, making it a 1-1 tie at the time.

After the Rangers went back in front 2-1 in the bottom of the inning on their second solo homer of the night, Alex Bregman would tie it up again with a solo home run of his own, making it 2-2. Houston would get their first lead of the night in the top of the eighth, with Altuve working a leadoff walk before scoring later in the inning on an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel.

Rangers get the walk-off to keep Houston waiting for playoff bid

After Urquidy, Blake Taylor would take over on the mound in the bottom of the eighth, retiring the Rangers in order for a scoreless inning to hold the one-run lead. Still 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Houston turned to their closer, Ryan Pressly. After two quick outs, he would allow a game-tying solo home run, making it 3-3 to postpone Houston's celebration at least another inning as the game headed to extras.

In the top of the tenth, Jose Altuve was placed on second as the free runner. He advanced to third on a groundout to start the inning, then scored on a sac fly by Alex Bregman, making it a 4-3 lead for Houston. Enoli Paredes would load the bases before Texas would tie the game on a sac fly in the bottom of the inning, keeping runners on second and third. Houston made the change to Brooks Raley to try and extend the game another inning, but instead, the Rangers would get the walk-off win, spoiling Houston's chance to clinch their playoff spot themselves with a win.

Up Next: The third game of this four-game set will get underway at 6:05 PM Central on Saturday. On the mound for Texas will be Kyle Gibson (2-6, 5.87 ERA), and, as of now, the Astros still have Lance McCullers Jr. (3-3, 4.24 ERA) listed as their starter.

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