THE LOWDOWN ON FOOD FOR OUTDOOR ATHLETES

What’s the one thing we all have in common when it comes to our outdoor pursuits? We all have to fuel our bodies. So let’s dive in to some of the best current options for food and energy for active outdoors folks now available.

Boone Barr (not pictured)

A regional favorite utilizing locally sourced ingredients, Happy Mountain Foods out of Boone, N.C., is famous for its Barrs—ideal for outdoors folks as a meal replacement or energy bar—also han d-makes wonderful trail mix, bites, and candied nuts. Happy Mountain Foods are without preservatives or artificial ingredients and features as few ingredients as possible to maximize taste and nutrition. They are all about sustainability in business practices and in the foods they use to make their products. Flavors span the classics from Walnut Dark Chocolate Cranberry and Coconut Almond to Dark Chocolate Banana and Mocha White Chocolate Cherry. $1.99/bar; happymountainfoods.com; Taste: 4; Texture: 4

1. Patagonia Provisions

Even the most seasoned “bar” makers will tell you that real food will always rule over bars. That’s where Patagonia comes in, with their affiliate brand, Patagonia Provisions, producing transportable foods that are good for the body, the taste buds, the environment, and the active lifestyle. “The tradition and culture of food have always been important to us at Patagonia,” said founder Yvon Chouinard. “What we eat does more than just fill our stomachs and nourish our bodies; good food lifts our spirits and helps us understand the world a little better.” Patagonia Provisions currently sells two food products: smoked salmon and Tsampa soup. The salmon is wild Sockeye, fully cooked and ready to eat in 6 oz. portions. Tsampa is roasted whole grains, organic vegetables and spices that cook up into a hearty soup, something Yvon initially found as a “high-altitude power food” while climbing in Nepal 35 years ago. And yes, the two go great together. $12 and $6.50 for single packs, respectively; patagoniaprovisions.com; Taste: 5; Texture: 5

2. Pistachio Chewy Bites

Another interesting option for adrenaline junkies, Pistachio Bites are basically composed of pistachios and cranberries, resulting in a low-sodium, high-protein, gluten-free, on-the-go snack. They’ve got healthy fat with no cholesterol, and are free of GMOs and animal products. $1.99/two pack; pistachiochewybites.com; Taste: 5; Texture: 4 (a little on the sticky side)

3. Skratch Labs Cookie Mix

From the mind of Boulder’s Dr. Allen Lim, inventor of the game-changing, TDF-winning, Skratch Labs Hydration mix, comes a simpler yet equally game-changing product: cookies. Lim has always been an advocate of eating real foods while training and competing, and his cookie concept follows that train of thought. I’ve personally cooked with Lim and made some of the edibles from his cookbooks, and this is truly an innovative and exciting product for endurance athletes of all kinds. $1.99; skratchlabs.com; Taste: 5 (if you make them right) Texture: again, depends on your skills in the kitchen, but the recipe is solid.

4. Gu Energy Labs Electrolyte Brew

Gu brand drink mixes, gels and chews have always (since 1993) been a top choice for endurance athletes. And now Gu is dialing it back a tiny bit to offer something for everyone else—its new Electrolyte Brew mix featuring less sodium, a balance of complex and simple carbs, and a lighter taste profile than its previous energy drinks. The new Brew is available in 19-gram stick-packs and canisters (24 servings). Each serving contains 10 grams of sugars, no proteins or fat, and no artificial food dyes. $1.50 per stick and $20 per canister; guenergy.com; Taste: 4 Texture: 4 (just have to get over the newness of this technology)

5. ProBar Bites ProBar

ProBar Bites ProBar, from Salt Lake City, Utah, is another “energy food” family that truly believes in the power of whole foods. ProBar has become my top choice for protein, energy and meal-replacement in recent years. Made from mostly raw ingredients, ProBars are USDA Organic Certified, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, Kosher and Non-GMO Project Verified. I bet you can’t say that about everything in your pantry. The new ProBar Bites each contain 190 calories, 6 grams of protein and 10-11 grams of sugar. $1.99; theprobar.com; Taste: 5 Texture: 4 (I actually think this is a 5 but it’s still a “bar”)

6. Honey Stinger

The favorite of many a cyclist, Honey Stinger is introducing a new waffle to their line of honey-based energy bars, gels, chews and food products—the new Caramel Waffle. Inspired by the Belgian pastries that fueled riders at the turn of the century in Europe, the new Honey Stinger waffle flavor has a layer of caramel-infused honey sandwiched between two thin waffles. $15/box of 16; honeystinger.com; Taste: 5 Texture: 3 (some people find them a little crumbly) •