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 Chews category:
Glukos Energy Gummies Orange
Takeaway: These aptly named chews are made with glucose, which is the most readily usable energy source, so your gut has less work to do to turn food into fuel. The brand (formerly Gleukos) underwent a makeover last year and is the new official gummy (and gel) for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.
Taste: If you like gummy candies, you might find yourself snacking on these even when you aren’t running.
Timing: The 180-calorie packet says it includes two servings, but you can dose out these rectangular gummies throughout a long run based on your own energy needs. (One packet will last most runners 90 minutes to two hours.)
Quic Disc Lemon-Lime
Takeaway: These chewable carbohydrate and electrolyte tablets are a new direction for chews—perfect if you don’t like sticky or gummy stuff when you run.
Taste: Like a cross between Smarties and SweeTarts, these chews surprised us with their candy-like nature and how they easily dissolve in your mouth.
Timing: Take two 17.5-calorie tablets at the beginning of each mile during runs lasting longer than one hour.
Skratch Labs Fruit Drops Raspberry
Takeaway: Designed for athletes, these have less sugar and more water than many other brands. They are made from real fruit with extra salt and don’t have artificial flavors, colors and the like.
Taste: These gumdrop-inspired chews have a sweet and tangy raspberry flavor, and the light sugar coating starts your mouth salivating.
Timing: Shoot for consuming a 10-drop, 160-calorie packet per 90 minutes or so on long runs.
Trend Alert: Savory Pep
Now that many health-savvy runners are eschewing sugar, energy chews are likely to have a broader definition. Epic has become known in the running community for its jerky-based bars, and now there are meat-laden Epic Bites ($6.99, epicbar.com) in a variety of flavors that make it easy to eat a little as you go.