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Good nutrition goes stride for stride with running your best. But when it comes to sports fuel, the menu can be overwhelming—and the selection keeps ballooning. To help you zero in on some of the best new on-the-go options, we tested more than 50 products from nearly as many brands, plus considered up to four different flavors for each. (Special thanks to the women of Triathlete and Competitor magazines for helping us chow down!)
All of the winners were released within the last year and some are just making their way into stores nationwide this month. We’re also dishing up bonus info on some of the biggest trends we’re seeing in sports nutrition. Now it’s just a matter of finding a match for your taste buds and reaping the benefits on the run.
These were the winners of our Fuel Up Awards in the Drinks category:
Gatorade Recover Single Serve Protein Powder Chocolate
Takeaway: If you like Gatorade’s ready-to-drink protein shakes, this is essentially a DIY version.
Taste: Chocolate lovers can’t go wrong here. The powder dissolves well and the end result isn’t too thick—definitely more drink than shake.
Timing: With 20g of protein, sip on this post-workout to refuel your muscles.
Nuun Energy Mango Orange
Takeaway: This popular low-calorie drink tablet for electrolyte-laden hydration has been reformulated for 2016. The new recipe includes a non-GMO dextrose for better absorption and performance, and it features the plant-based sweeteners monk fruit and stevia in proportions to make it tastier.
Taste: This new flavor in the caffeinated line of drinks has a light and refreshing fruity flavor.
Timing: Take on a run when you either don’t need many calories or you’re getting them from another source.
$7 per 10-tablet tube, nuun.com
VFuel Endurance Drink Mix Ginger Twist
Takeaway: The brand that started with a gel for ultrarunners has branched out to drinks made from dextrose and electrolytes to deliver 200 calories per packet.
Taste: If you like ginger, you’ll love this refreshing drink—especially when it’s nice and cold.
Timing: If you’re on a long run and you don’t have additional fuel on hand, you’ll want to go through a bottle per hour.
Trend Alert: Go Pro
Probiotics are popping up in everything from chocolates to pizza dough. For those runners with troublesome tummies, drinking a daily dose—via Suja Probiotic Waters ($2.99, Target), for example—may be the way to go to rehydrate, restore gut health and increase immunity after a difficult race.