Last Updated on January 31, 2022 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP, CSCS
A few months back I had the opportunity to review Stride Box, a monthly subscription box of assorted goodies for runners. In that box was a product I had never heard of, Mazama bars. I was instantly attracted to the bar (shiny packaging, I’m like a little kid, and a marketer’s dream come true), and as it turned out, was even more impressed by the product inside. Geoff and I were instantly smitten (as smitten as one can be with food) with Mazama Bars.
This was not another product aimed at the latest diet and fitness fad. No promises of low carb, high protein, weight loss, and so on. Just a substantial, real food bar, hand made by real adventure seeking athletes. Needless to say, I was stoked when co owner of Mazama Bar, Brittany Manwill, reached out to me after the StrideBox review and asked if she could send some Mazama Bars our way for a more thorough review.
So, let’s begin:
What: Mazama bars are nutrient dense, high calorie “fuel” packed into a little bar. Made with all natural ingredients, like whole rolled oats, dried fruit, nuts, nut butters, seeds, and real dark chocolate, and come in three flavors: Wild Berry, Hazelnut Mocha, and Chocolate Banana.
Who: Husband and wife team Derek and Brittany Manwill, outdoor enthusiasts and athletes based out of Bend, Oregon, who wanted to create a great tasting energy bar that didn’t sacrifice health or performance.
Pro: As Geoff so eloquently stated, they are like “a Clif Bar on steroids” . At 400 calories (+/- a few depending on flavor) per 3.25 ounce bar, Mazama Bar packs a calorically dense punch. The average health seeker or gym goer wouldn’t want (nor probably need) such a high calorie bar. However, the outdoor enthusiast can spot the benefits of such a bar immediately: more energy (calories) in a small package = less weight to carry (and more room for all of the other fun gadgets…am I right gear junkies?). More healthy calories means more energy to push harder, explore further, stay out longer.
Pro: Real food. Natural, GMO free, Vegan friendly. “Mazama Bars are hand-made with the best natural ingredients sourced from the Pacific Northwest. Unlike most syrup-packed bars, our first two ingredients are whole rolled oats and dates, and we don’t use overly-processed soy protein isolates. Mazama Bars are also preservative-free and cold-pressed to retain the highest nutrient content.” Further, they make them in small batches to ensure the freshest, best possible product.
Neutral: Cost. $3.50 per bar. A classic case of “you get what you pay for”. This is real, wholesome, food, thus justifying the cost. Further, if you compare it to an average nutrition bar, you will notice that they are indeed about half the cost, but also contain about half of the calories.
Where Can I find them? website: www.mazamabar.com, facebook, twitter (stop by and say hi! They are a new, small company and would love to hear from their fans or potential customers!)
|That’s a Mazama Bar. At Mt. EVEREST base camp. Where have YOUR bars taken you?
(photo credit Mazama Bar facebook page)
More important info you should know about why Mazama Bars are probably better than what you are currently eating on the trail: (from the Mazama Bar FAQ’s)
Why do Mazama Bars contain less protein than some bars?
Each Mazama Bar has about 10 grams of protein, sourced from minimally-processed ingredients like nuts and whole grains. But while protein is essential for tissue repair and preserving lean muscle mass, it’s actually your body’s last choice for fuel during exercise. Mazama Bars are designed for efficient use of energy, and protein doesn’t convert to usable energy as quickly as carbs. Mazama Bars have a 5:1 carb to protein ratio to give your body the nutrients it needs without slowing you down. It’s also ideal for recovery after exercise.
Why do Mazama Bars contain more fat than some bars?
During moderate-intensity activity like skiing and hiking, your body strategically metabolizes fats at a faster rate and saves essential carbs so you don’t bonk. Mazama Bars are packed with heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats and omega fatty acids that have been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and reduce stomach fat accumulation. They also help your body absorb certain vitamins and boost body temperature in cold weather. With a higher caloric density than carbs or protein, fat is an ideal energy source for endurance activity.
What is the carbohydrate make-up in Mazama Bars?
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel and are easily used by the body for energy. In fact, your muscles really can’t function at all without them! Simple carbs deliver a quick boost during activity so you don’t hit the wall. We use dried fruits and low glycemic index brown rice syrup to bring blood sugars up without causing major insulin spikes. Complex carbs and dietary fiber slow the absorption of simple carbs, which provides sustained energy and keeps you full. This optimal carbo-combo makes Mazama Bars excellent for managing blood sugar and keeping you going for hours.
So there you have it. If you are looking for an easy to carry, serious nutrition option to help fuel you on a long training run, hike, bike ride, or just a day outdoors, give Mazma Bar a try. I’m certain you will be smitten, just like we are.
*discolure* Mazama Bar provided me with three bars to sample for this review. As always, all opinions stated in this review are my own.
Do you have a favorite nutrition option for those REALLY hard training sessions or outdoor adventures? What do you look for in “bar”? Nutritional components? Taste? Easy to carry?
Heather Hart is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), UESCA certified Ultrarunning Coach, RRCA certified Running Coach, co-founder of Hart Strength and Endurance Coaching, and creator of this site, Relentless Forward Commotion. She is a mom of two teen boys, and has been running and racing distances of 5K to 100+ miles for over a decade. Heather has been writing and encouraging others to find a love for fitness and movement since 2009.
Those sound fantastic. I was trying to explain to somebody else recently how nice it is to be able to find high calorie, healthy foods…and how weird it still is to be looking for high calorie foods after a lifetime of the opposite.
I look for calories, cost, and healthy ingredients, but taste is the deal breaker for me. That, and if I can still stomach something after 20 hours.
These bars look really good from your description. I think I should get some of them for my upcoming marathon. It can be quite hard to find bars which are made from real ingredients these days.
They look really good. Hope they taste like they look!