THE TOP 7 GAS STATION SNACK BARS FOR YOUR ROAD TRIP

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Sometimes it’s difficult to choose a snack bar.

Low-sugar, high-sugar, protein, pressed fruit, nuts, granola, pre-workout, post-workout—the market is flooded countless flavors and variations.

But snack bars are a useful product for long drives and road trips. They’re a good all-in-one, convenient solution to satisfy hunger between point A and point B. They’re also a time-saver when you don’t have time to make breakfast. In my case, I often eat them before long bike rides since they settle well in my stomach.

But which ones are the best?

Having tried dozens of brands, these are my seven favorite gas station snack bars.

Sahale Snacks – Cinnamon Pecan Layered Nut Bar
Get these while you still can!

According to company representatives, it’s been phased out. Gone. No longer available. And yet, some convenience stores continue to have a limited stock. I recently purchased one at a 7-Eleven in Kansas City and those who live near a Sheetz may want to stop by and look.

To describe the taste, imagine a combination of cashews, white chocolate and cinnamon rolls—but with only 200 calories and 7g of sugar.

R.e.d.d. – Peanut Butter Superfood Energy Bar
I’ve written about R.e.d.d. Bars before and their peanut butter version is no joke.

Like many better-for-you snack bars, they’re made with high-quality ingredients. Unlike some of the competition—RX Bars, for example—they’re not so dense that they get stuck in your teeth. R.e.d.d. Bars practically fall apart in your mouth. And with the added benefit of around 35mg of caffeine and one of the best peanut butter flavors on the market, it’s a combination that I can’t turn down.

Also recommended: the Oatmeal or Mint Chocolate flavors. Use their store locator to find a location near you.

KIND – Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt
This one is easy to find. It’s one of the most common snack bars on the market.

But its widespread availability is a testament to the quality that I’ve come to expect from KIND Snacks. The flavor is an indulgent mixture of sweet and salty with healthful ingredients, and it manages to have big flavor despite containing only 5g of sugar.

Also noteworthy: when the FDA told KIND that they can’t use the word “healthy” on the wrappers due to the fat content, which comes primarily from almonds—a standard that would also prevent avocadoes from being labeled as “healthy”—KIND fought back. I wrote about this in the November 2016 issue of NACS Magazine.

Quest Nutrition – Protein Bars
I can’t choose a specific flavor here, because they’re all good!

Quest Nutrition achieved the unthinkable with this product: a protein bar that’s low-carb, loaded with 20-21g of protein, has no added sugar and still tastes great. No wonder they’re so popular. High-protein products can sometimes be bland—like a random brand of protein chips I tried recently that tasted like baked cardboard discs—but these come in delicious flavors like cookies and cream, blueberry muffin and s’mores.

You can find Quest Bars at convenience stores nationwide.

EPIC Bar – Bison, Bacon, & Cranberry
EPIC Bars are unique. Despite having unique flavor combinations of meat, herbs, and fruit—like Lamb, Currant, & Mint—they have one of the most satisfying flavor profiles on the market.

The Bison, Bacon, & Cranberry bar includes 100% grass fed buffalo and humanely-certified, uncured bacon. It’s low-glycemic, gluten-free and friendly to those who follow paleo and ketogenic diets.

Bounce – Apple Cinnamon Protein Energy Ball
This isn’t technically a bar since it’s round, but it’s close enough.

Bounce describes this energy ball as a mix of quality whey protein, cashews and apple with a dash of cinnamon—but it tastes to me like apple pie filling. It also has about half the sugar of a Clif Bar.

This product is mostly sold at health food stores but it does make an appearance inside certain gas stations. I frequently purchase them at KCI Car Care near the Kansas City airport. Use the store locator to find locations in your area.

Canteen Girl – PB&J Holly Bars
If you’re around Minneapolis, drop everything and purchase a Holly Bar. Seriously.This may be the single most delicious line of snack bars that I’ve ever tried. It’s produced by Canteen Girl, a local Minneapolis company, and I’ve found them at the 36 Lyn Refuel Station. Canteen Girl’s owner describes them better than I can.

“It’s just been a progression of wanting to make something vegan that tastes good. A lot of the vegan and gluten free stuff tastes terrible—you know, cardboard, dry, weird and grainy. I just wanted to make something that would taste like your grandma made it, but not have dairy in it. I worked with coconut oil, brown sugar, maple syrup and sea salt to create that salty sweet thing that butter and brown sugar have. That’s my favorite; I’m a salty-sweet person.” Salty-sweet works for me, too. I’m sold.

What’s your favorite snack bar? Leave a comment and let me know!

Analyst, Convenience Store and Retail Trends

Frank Beard is a passionate advocate for convenience stores who brings a wide range of experience to the GasBuddy team. His "30 Days of Gas Station Food" experiment has raised awareness of the fact that most — if not all — convenience stores have healthful options available. He's spoken at events like the 2016 NACS Show and the Partnership for a Healthier America's 2017 Summit, and he's a contributor to NACS Magazine and NACS Daily. Having visited more than 1,000 convenience stores in 24 states, Frank helps communicate the fact that convenience stores truly are the perfect pit stop.

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