It was March and the sun had finally come out to play after a very long winter of snow, freezing rain and everything in between. I usually commute to work by bike every day but had yet to go on an outdoor training ride longer than an hour this season. So, when the sun came out and spring fever took hold, I jumped at the chance to get on my bike and explore the many hills and terrain that Montreal offers.
Before heading out though, I needed to pack some snacks. Generally, I like to make my own snacks for outdoor activities using fresh ingredients that are packed with flavour and nutrition. I enjoy making treats like my homemade lemon coconut energy balls or my cranberry cacao energy bars. I had been turned off of store-bought energy bars for a while now, thanks to my overuse of them during a lot of my earlier days of endurance bikepacking events, not to mention the unnecessary one-use packaging that bars come in. But this time, because my ride wasn’t really planned and I didn’t have anything baked, I decided to grab a bag of locally made Cricket Energy Bites from Naak and give them a try. After whipping up a hot chocolate and espresso, I packed my thermos and snacks and hit the road.
As I started riding up Mont Royal it was apparent that winter was still in full effect. The snow banks were still a couple of feet high, but the winding road was at least clear of any drifts. It felt good to get my heart rate rising and work up a sweat. The sun was still high in the sky and I was actually able to ride with minimal layers. I have to admit my legs were starting to burn on the third hill climb after such a long lazy winter. After my fourth pavement summit, I decided to get off the roads and hit the trails on the mountain. The terrain was still really well packed, if not a bit icy, but my 650b wheels handled the slick surface beautifully. Reaching the summit, the view of the city below was beautiful, so I decided to take a moment to catch my breath and grab my thermos. Judging from my burst of high-intensity climbing I knew a snack was in order too.
I gently ripped open the Naak Energy Bites and after popping a chocolate banana morsel into my mouth I was pleasantly surprised by the satisfying flavor, plus is they tasted great when dipped in my espresso hot chocolate!
Taking a look at the Energy Bites ingredients, it was immediately apparent they tick a lot of boxes for me. They are locally made in Quebec of quality natural ingredients, are a great source of nutrients like calcium, iron, B12, and have a small environmental impact with the use of the cricket powder as it’s the source of protein. Plus, being that they are small (15g and 54 calories each), you can control your intake easier when on the go. What’s more, I’ve long felt that eating energy snacks out of non-recyclable wrappers is at odds with being in the great outdoors. But at least these bags look reusable and resealable, so I can see them being washed out and used as future snack bags.
After a few more bites, I knew it was time to get back on the bike. The sun was starting to get lower and I knew the golden hour would soon be over. One last whip around the mountain and I was smiling more than had in months. Getting some strange yet friendly looks from all the cross-country skiers I knew it was time to hit the pavement. Blasting down the road I could feel my cold hands and feet reminding me that it wasn’t quite spring yet. Finally, with my home in sight my spirit was renewed by the thought of the upcoming biking season.
Other than a refreshed attitude I also discovered a great new snack alternative. When I don’t have anything prepared or have a long cycling trip that demands some extra calories, it’s nice to know that I can call upon a good, nutrient-dense, tasty snack like Naak.
Messkit roll call
• Real ingredients, packed with nutrients and protein
• Locally made, environmentally conscious
• Great flavor options (choco-banana, choco-orange, coco macadamia)
• Resealable/Reusable bag (you can have a few bites every day, no need to eat the whole package in one go)
• The bites are 15 g each, which helps to control consumption, and are easy to grab on the bike
• Easy a few bites in your kit when you go cycling
• A bit pricey, but If you’re busy and want a good quality, convenient, lightweight snack I can see the Energy Bites being completely worth their price. It’s also commendable that Naak is looking at ways of trying to make their products out of environmentally conscious cricket protein.