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 Bars category:
Kind Nuts & Spices Dark Chocolate Almond Mint
Takeaway: Kind’s line of gluten-free products keeps getting more creative. The entire Nuts & Spices line has less than 5g of sugar per bar.
Taste: There’s just enough peppermint to make this nutty and chocolaty 200-calorie bar super refreshing.
Timing: Ideal before a late afternoon run when you need a little extra energy. Bonus: Your running buddies will appreciate your fresh breath.
Rise Protein Bar Snicker Doodle
Takeaway: There are only five ingredients—almonds, honey, whey protein isolate, cinnamon and vanilla extract—in these gluten-free bars.
Taste: Even without the signature cream of tarter found in the traditional cookies, these bars have a similar flavor and the smooth texture is pleasing.
Timing: With 20g of protein, you’ll want to unwrap this bar post-run.
Untapped Maple Waffle
Takeaway: The brand that launched with gel packets filled with maple syrup branches out to a thin waffle sandwich flavored with the amber elixir.
Taste: The wheat-flavour waffle adds a welcome texture and a bit of graham flavor that’s not too dry, but, let’s be frank: This is a maple-syrup delivery device. Yum.
Timing: With negligible fiber, this is easy to digest even mid-workout. Toss this in your pocket for a trail run and you’ll feel like you’re in the mountains even if you’re not.
Trend Alert: Little Guys
Small brands are big in the bar biz, so be on the lookout, since you never know where you’ll find a tasty one. Simple Squares ($2.49, simplesquares.com) has been around for a while, but we recently discovered them and have enjoyed the creative bars featuring ingredients such as ginger, rosemary and sage for their health benefits.