Truism of the (quasi-) athlete: What you put into your body affects your performance. I’ve reviewed tongue tacos, 5-pound burgers and duck blood soup, but Shot Bloks and fruit leather are a first. Here’s my critic-approved roundup of must-taste-awesome snacks for two-wheel traversing.
1. Susie’s Nature Bars: One of the best things about these bars is the short list of ingredients. Oats, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, peanut butter, cranberries, raisins and ground flax. And for all you local food adherents out there, the bars hail from Hartland.
2. Justin’s squeeze packs of Almond Butter and Chocolate Hazelnut Butter: One word: Amazeballs. Good ratio of fat and protein, and the chocolate version is like Nutella, only (maybe) healthier. Easy to rip open, a cinch to squeeze into your mouth with one hand.
3. Sesame-teriyaki beef jerky from Bavette La Boucherie (330 E. Menomonee St.): Chewy, but doesn’t exhaust your jaw muscles, and a balanced teriyaki flavor. Plus, a little sodium (along with fluids) while exercising isn’t a bad thing. Made behind the counter of this cozy butcher shop.
4. Banana: Nature’s own. Quick energy, and it will cost you an eighth of the average “health” bar. Just don’t slip on the peel.
5. La Campagne Bakery’s The Natural baked granola: The key is that it’s broken into pieces (unlike crumbly granola cereal). Warning: extremely addictive. Made in Mequon.
6. Stretch Island Fruit leather: Just plain old chewy, dried fruit strips. Any flavor will do.
7. Clif Shot Bloks: The jiggly, gummy-like chews are popular with bikers and runners. The flavor and texture are a hundred times better than Gu Energy Gel, but that’s a low bar. Need an extra-special boost? Select flavors come with added caffeine or sodium.
8. The Simple Soyman’s Sesame Circle: The Milwaukee-based maker of the Saucy Jo tofu product also spawns these crispy, kinda-maple-y, sesame-loaded disks. Available in equally rad cashew or chocolate chip versions.