I’m a little behind on the trend here. This isn’t anything new though. Don’t come to me for the latest and greatest, I’ll be a few years behind. Take built bars, as a runner I am always on the lookout for the best protein bar. I just found these beauties a few months ago.
The typical protein bar I’m really not a fan of. They are usually tough, gritty, and lacking any good flavor and the macro profile usually sucks too. I have always wished for a delicious treat-type protein bar and finally found one.
One bar to the rescue… Built bar. Best. Thing. Ever.
Let me tell you something, I’m a little obsessed with these things. I 100% love them. Frankly, everyone that I know personally that I have given them to have been sucked into the black hole of absolutely loving these things.
Why? Because they are like candy. Are they a good option for runners? You bet.
Now, I want to preface this whole post with the fact that I am not a dietitian or anything like that. This is just my personal opinion and review of one of my favs.
What is a Built Bar?
Simply put it is a protein bar.
But in my opinion, it is so so much more than just a simple protein bar! It is life-changing.
Am I being dramatic? Maybe a little. But seriously, these things were game-changers for me.
I haven’t ever really found a protein bar that I liked and would consistently eat and I have tried a lot of them that people have said were just amazing. I always just kind of ate them here and there when necessary but didn’t ever really find one that I WANTED to eat. Which come on, eating should be fun and enjoyable even when you are being healthy.
First of all, they are made in the USA. Which I absolutely love. They are a smaller company from Utah that strived to make a delicious protein bar without fillers and a great nutritional profile. Something I think they have succeeded at completely!
The way that I describe them to anyone I meet is that they are a candy bar that is good for you. Just the right amount of chewy chocolatey goodness in one small package.
What is the Best Built Bar Flavor?
Obviously very very subjective but still important to know. My absolute favorite is the cookie dough chunk bar. A close second is the new Rocky Road. The big problem with these two flavors is that they are both limited edition ones. This means that they aren’t part of the regular lineup of bars that built keeps on-site.
My favorite “regular” bar is the chocolate mint bar with the cookies and cream as a close second.
My sister on the other hand and my boss both love the coconut ones. Whether the regular coconut almond or the chocolate coconut brownie chunk.
Why do they have regular ones and special make ones? Well, they are a fairly small company, and switching between flavors on the machines is very time-consuming and costly. This is typically the case in most manufacturing settings. therefore they keep about 8 flavors that are always available and then rotate with a special flavor that they will make a limited batch amount of every couple of weeks.
I haven’t had a chance to try many of the favorite white chocolate-covered ones that come out in the wintertime. Again, late to the game here. I do have the birthday cake which is a white chocolate coating. While it is good, it isn’t my favorite flavor. I can’t wait for this Christmas to get my hands on more of the white chocolate ones though for sure!!
Are Built Bars Healthy for You?
This is a little bit of a touchy and difficult subject to address. I think they are perfectly healthy however, healthy food can vary greatly from one person to the next. Some people won’t like some of the ingredients in these protein bars due to them not being considered “clean”.
They aren’t paleo, keto, or etc. friendly either. But I look for foods that aren’t complete chemical crap and have a good balance of macronutrients. That is what falls under the “healthy” category for me. Completely cutting out processed foods isn’t something that I’m interested in doing….give me my Diet Dr. Pepper or Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi any day. Moderation here….sometimes :P. Basically, I look for balanced foods that satisfy my cravings and give me the fuel to perform the best that I can while feeling great.
With this criterion in mind of what I consider healthy, then yes Built Bars are healthy for you. The thing that I love most about these bars is the fact that they have a great macro breakdown and they taste like a candy bar. I have a sweet tooth and they are one of my favorite desserts to end the day with.
Notice that they display the net carbs in this image. I don’t like to do net carbs etc. I mean come on. We are distance athletes and carbs are ESSENTIAL!! The carb count is 18 grams. They get this lower number based on the fiber amount and the fact that they use erythritol which is a sugar alcohol.
Why is this significant? Sugar alcohols are not digested from my understanding and therefore don’t metabolize in the body. The big drawback is that they can cause GI distress. Therefore, if you have a sensitive stomach make sure to try these out before eating them before a run etc.
Are Built Bars Good for Runners?
Well, they are an official partner of USA Track and Field. That might just speak for itself more than anything I can say!
However, I have found that they are awesome as a post-run snack if you aren’t ready to have a big meal yet due to their great macro ratio.
They have a great balance in protein, carbs, and fat to give you all the fuel to tide you over until your next meal post-run! Mostly for runners, these aren’t to be considered as a meal replacement. Think of them as a great snack between meals and a good way to get in some balanced nutrition.
Why Do Runners Need a Good Protein Bar?
From all the dietitians I have talked to and the research that I’ve done, along with personal experience, I have learned that protein is the bee’s knees for runners when it comes to the three macronutrients. Move over weightlifters, endurance athletes are here for the protein!
As we all know protein helps with building muscle but for endurance athletes, it is also important for us to maintain a healthy immune system, digestive system, and proper maintenance of skin, hair, and nails.
As we log more miles also keep in mind that the amount of protein you need will increase. This is where a built bar can come in really handy for a quick high-protein snack!
Final Thoughts on Built Bars for Runners
I think everyone is different in the space of what is good to eat and not good to eat for runners. It is always a trial and error game to find what works for you as an individual.
With that being said. I think built bars are a great option to get a good dose of protein in for runners in an indulgent way.
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