Regular exercise has been shown to have many benefits, including boosting energy levels, enhancing mood, and helping manage weight. A new study published in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine also found a significant link between regular exercise and physical health in later life for women.

JUMP TO THE BARS

In the study, which tracked more than 11,000 middle-aged women participants, results revealed a significant correlation between regular exercise (the study used the World Health Organization’s physical activity guidelines, which recommend 150 minutes of activity per week) and better physical health. The study authors emphasize the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle throughout middle age, suggesting that even adopting exercise guidelines in the mid-50s can yield substantial benefits for physical health in later years. 

“Combined with existing evidence, this study contributes to growing evidence of the benefits of maintaining or adopting an active lifestyle in mid-age,” the authors say. “An important public health message is that being active for as many years as possible, even if women start to meet physical activity guidelines in their mid-50s, could have important health benefits in terms of physical health, especially in physical functioning.”

What to eat before exercising

When beginning or maintaining an active lifestyle, it’s equally important for women to fuel their bodies well, especially before an intense sweat session. Often, easy-to-digest carbs with some protein are the best way to go when it comes to fueling up for exercise. Some common, pre-workout snacks include bananas or toast with peanut butter or almond butter or protein powder with almond milk. 

Protein bars are also a popular snack among endurance athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike and are a convenient way to give you the extra boost to fuel your workouts.

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RELATED: Fuel Your Body With These High-Protein Plant-Based Snacks

What makes a good protein bar?

A plant-based protein bar gets its nutrition from a mix of different plants, chosen to give you all the important amino acids. These bars often have ingredients such as pea protein, brown rice protein, and hemp protein, which not only give you protein but also vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

The purpose of these convenient snacks is to mix all these good things together to make a tasty and easy snack that helps your muscles recover, keeps your energy up, and makes you feel good overall. Plus, they often use natural sweeteners such as dates or agave syrup and add nuts, seeds, and dried fruits for extra flavor and nutrition. 

14 clean protein bars

Add a few protein bars to your gym bag for a convenient boost of energy when you need it most. Here are 14 clean energy bars to try.

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1 Simply Protein

Like flavored Rice Krispies squares, Simple Protein’s snack bars are the perfect blend of crunch and flavor. The Lemon Coconut flavor, which packs 12 grams of protein, takes you straight to a tropical paradise with its tart lemon zing and coconut crunch. 
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2 NuGo 

NuGo’s Dark and Slim vegan varieties are the decadent treat we all deserve when recovering from a grueling workout. With flavors such as Brownie Crunch, Chocolate Pretzel, and Raspberry Truffle, the bars are a mix of real dark chocolate and crunchy plant-protein crisps with up to 16 grams of protein per bar.
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3 Misfits 

Misfits’ chocolate-coated plant-based bars are a protein-packed treat that taste just like dessert. Imagine flavors like choc s’mores, cookies ‘n cream, peanut butter fudge, and caramel fudge. And despite such indulgent flavors, each bar is vegan, gluten-free, and packs 15 grams of protein and only one gram of sugar.
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4 Lärabar

The go-to snack for OG vegans, Lärabars have been around for more than two decades. With whole-food ingredients such as unsweetened fruit, nuts, and spices, they are a healthy choice for pre-workout energy. They also come in a variety of fun, dessert-inspired flavors you can reach for depending on your mood and cravings, such as Pecan Pie, Blueberry Muffin, Cinnamon Roll, and Mint Chip Brownie. 
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5 GoMacro

With 16 flavors, including Maple Sea Salt, Blueberry + Cashew Butter, and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, it would be hard to get bored of GoMacro’s protein bars. Founded by a mother-daughter team, they are a simple yet convenient snack made with responsibly sourced, high-quality ingredients.
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6 Aloha

Aloha’s plant-based protein bars appear to have it all: organic ingredients and low sugar with excellent macros. The chocolate fudge brownie flavor is a chocolate lover’s dream, and with a variety of wholesome ingredients such as brown rice protein, nuts, and pumpkin seed protein, it is less sinful than it tastes.
FIND IT HERE

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7 Clif Builders

Clif Bar’s protein-packed sibling, the Builders Protein bar was created to help rebuild and repair your muscles with 20 grams of complete protein and give you the energy you need before, during, or after a workout. Among its offerings, Clif has blended chocolate chip cookie dough and caffeine (the equivalent of a shot of espresso) for an added boost to conquer your fitness goals. 
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8 Real Food Bar

Just as the name implies, these nut-butter-based protein bars are nothing short of impressive. With 15 grams of protein and hidden veggies such as kale, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower, you’re sure to get the energy and nutrients you need to stay healthy and active. And with flavors such as pumpkin spice, cherry cashew, and espresso, your pre-workout snack couldn’t get any better.
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9 Barebells

You might have spotted these eye-catching bars at Trader Joe’s and have yet to pick one up. What are you waiting for? Barebells’ vegan-friendly Salty Peanut and Hazelnut Nougat bar packs 15 grams of protein and one gram of sugar. The best part? It’s as tasty as a candy bar.
FIND IT HERE

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10 Laird

Created by volleyball legend Gabrielle Reese and surfer Laird Hamilton, initially for their own athletic needs, Laird Superfood protein bars are loaded with plant-powered goodness including functional mushrooms, adaptogens, minerals, and more. Their offerings include pre-workout snack bars with 10 grams of pea and pumpkin seed protein in flavors such as pumpkin spice, mint chocolate, and lemon almond. 
FIND IT HERE

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11 No Cow

No Cow’s slogan, “No Cow. No Bull. No Whey!” says it all. Created by fitness buff Daniel “D” Katz when he was 18 as a solution for the whey bars that gave him stomach aches, Now Cow protein bars offer 20 grams of protein, packing a serious protein punch, along with a good amount of fiber and fat for sustained energy. Varieties include “original” protein bars in flavors such as chocolate chip cookie dough and blueberry cobbler, along with chocolate-dipped bars in flavors such as strawberry shortcake and birthday cake.
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12 Go Raw

Go Raw’s Organic Sprouted Bar is packed with nutrient-dense sprouted seeds and other wholesome ingredients for a convenient, on-the-go snack. The bar is available in two flavors—pumpkin seed and spirulina and sesame—and offers 12 grams of protein and healthy fats from the seeds. A unique take on a protein bar, Go Raw’s bar is light and crunchy like a cracker rather than the dense texture of standard bars. 
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13 Orgain

Orgain’s organic protein bars are the kind of snacks you’ll want to keep stashed in your purse or gym bag. With 10 grams of plant-based protein and flavors such as peanut butter chocolate chunk, s’mores, and chocolate coconut, they are a snack break you won’t want to miss. 
FIND IT HERE

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14 Zing

Formulated by nutritionists who understand that we are what we eat, Zing bars offer a blend of good carbs, natural sugars, and healthy protein. Plus, this brand gets bonus points for the variety of flavors to satisfy one’s sweet cravings, from dark chocolate mocha to double nut brownie.
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Here at VegNews, we live and breathe the vegan lifestyle, and only recommend products we feel make our lives amazing. Occasionally, articles may include shopping links where we might earn a small commission. In no way does this effect the editorial integrity of VegNews.

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