Eating On the Run (and Walk)
May 20th, 2019 by Curtis Condon

Sports bars—whether store bought or homemade—are a light, portable, concentrated food source you can’t easily replicate with bulkier foods. They also are more convenient, and make getting a meal or energy boost quick and easy. © iStock

Many of us don’t have the time, space or inclination to pack a meal before setting off on a run, hike, bike ride or fishing trip. If anything, we prefer to grab a snack and go, a proclivity that has fueled the multi-billion-dollar sports bar and gel industry.

The first sports bar arrived in the mid-1980s. For years, it was the only game in town, even though it wasn’t especially tasty and had the consistency of cold tar.

Things have changed a lot since then. Today, there are dozens of brands and hundreds of tasty choices.Choosing the one that’s right for you is the biggest challenge and depends in part on your favorite activity, its duration and intensity.

Sports bars and gels come in two basic categories: energy boosters and meal replacement or supplement bars, which are commonly called protein bars.

Energy bars and gels provide quick energy. They work best for short, intense activities. The main ingredient is fructose or high-glucose carbohydrates, supplemented with vitamins, minerals and electrolytes.

Meal replacement or supplement bars contain mostly protein, healthy fats, fiber and some carbohydrates. They also contain vitamins and minerals. They work best for longer-duration activities, when you want a no-frills bite to eat or a meal in motion.

One downside is sports bars and gels are not cheap. Trying to figure out which one is right for you can take a bite out of your wallet.

Fortunately, many sports bar companies offer coupons or free samples. For the cost of postage, get free samples from MammothBar and Verb Energy.

How to Keep Fish Fresh
For best results, keep your catch alive. A properly outfitted live well is optimal—but not always available—so many anglers keep fish on a stringer or in a dunk basket in the water. An alternative is to put fish on ice.
The idea is not to freeze them, but to activate a fish’s natural reflex to go dormant in freezing temperatures.

National Park Stats
The National Park Service offers a useful tool for planning and timing trips to sites operated by the NPS:

Got a Tip or a Whopper?
Send us your favorite outdoor tip, photo or story. If published, we will send you $25. Email your submission to

June Catch of the Month Around the State

  • The Keys: bonito, barracuda, swordfish, shark, marlin, tarpon, snook, snapper and wahoo.
  • Central: bluegill and sunfish.
  • Northwest: jack, amberjack, bluefish, bluegill, cobia, catfish, drum, bonito, seatrout, snapper, barracuda, tuna, triggerfish, sheepshead, mackerel, pompano, sailfish, shark, sunfish and wahoo.
  • Central West: amberjack, bass, flounder, bluefish, bluegill, drum, seatrout, sunfish, cobia, grouper, tarpon, snapper, barracuda, ladyfish, mackerel, permit, bonito, pompano, porgy, grunt, snook and shark.
  • Southwest: jack, ladyfish, barracuda, tarpon, bass, bluegill, snook, permit, shark, pompano, sunfish, seatrout, grouper, tripletail and snapper.