Often on a Monday morning you’ll find me staring blankly at the wall of nutrition bars at the Whole Foods down the hill from my house. I’ve eaten a lot of them and found the vast majority wanting. Ideally, on the bike or off it, you’re going to eat real food, not some synthesized food puck, but needs must, and though I contend that cold pizza fits nicely in a jersey pocket (at least until it warms up), I still keep a small supply of nutrition bars on hand for ride food.
The current standout for me is this Mezcla bar, which is a plant protein bar. My favorite is the Mexican Hot Chocolate flavor. Yeah. You heard that right. They also make Canadian Maple Blueberry, Japanese Matcha Vanilla, Peruvian Cocoa Peanut Butter, Italian Pistachio Chocolate, and Spanish Almond Butter Chocolate.
If those all sound good to you, then you are confirming the old marketing truism that attaching exotic descriptors to flavors makes them MUCH more compelling. Mexican Hot Chocolate is more exciting than plain old chocolate. Italian pistachio beats pistachio hands down.
Marketing tricks aside, these bars are good. They are vegan, non-GMO, and gluten free. They use pea protein and quinoa to make them puffy and crunchy, a bit like the Skratch Crispy Rice Cakes.
The Mexican Hot Chocolate bar is 170 calories, with 10g of protein, if that’s important to you. The Skratch, by comparison is 190 calories with 3g of protein. I’m not overly picky about the nutritional makeup of my ride food though. For me, it’s just about having something palatable to put in the tank when my blood sugar starts to drop.
Mezcla Plant Protein bars are 15 for $40 at eatmezcla.com. Or you can get them for $2.75 or so at Whole Foods.