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Like many runners, I’ve fueled my long runs with everything from GU gels to bananas to Honey Stinger Waffles. So when Skratch Labs sent me a package of their new crispy rice cakes, there was no doubt in my mind I was going to wolf one down while taking my Sunday long run. Heck, I’ll try anything once – especially if it looks like a Rice Krispies Treat.
The Nutrition Facts
These bars are gluten-free and dairy-free, made with a base of brown rice, red rice, wild rice, red quinoa. They’re advertised as sports fuel – easy to digest, easier to want to eat. The packaging instructs you to eat immediately before or during a workout or cardio session of 60 minutes or more.
When I compared the nutrition facts to what I’d most commonly eat during a run, GU Energy Gels, I could see that the crispy cakes had 12 more grams of carbs, 4 more grams of sugar, and a bit more fat and protein. There’s also no sodium count on the crispy cakes, and GU contains 60mg.
Testing it Out
The run? 10 miles. The fuel? Skratch Labs Rice Crispy Cake, salted maple & mallow flavor.
My initial reaction to the crispy cakes is: wow, these suckers are big. One fit fine in my running pack, but I don’t think I’d be able to pack another one in if I was going for more miles.
When it came time to fuel, about an hour into the run, I ripped open that package and was slightly daunted by the size. Gels I can gulp down in a second, so comparatively, this seemed like a large snack.
But it was so gosh darn delicious that the sheer size didn’t really matter after the first bite. I seriously enjoyed having something with a slightly crunchy texture – some girth to my fuel. And, thanks to the marshmallow binding, no crumbs were left behind. I didn’t have to fret about the bar falling apart in my hands.
As far as how energized I felt, the crispy cakes did the trick. Though they didn’t have caffeine like some of my favorite GU gels do, they gave me enough quick-digesting carbs and sugar for a solid long run.
In general, I’m thoroughly impressed and excited with the continued innovation of running fuel. Skratch Labs provides an alternative to gels, which I’m fully aware that some runners don’t love as much as I do. While I dock points for not being able to pack more than one of these in my running pack, I’m a huge fan of the crispy rice cakes for their taste, texture, and nutritional content. I do wish they were slightly smaller in volume, especially since I’m not particularly ravenous during my runs.
It’s also not lost on me that athletes outside of runners might feel more comfortable eating these bars over gels. I could see hikers, trail runners, climbers, and skiers alike enjoying rice crispy cakes while reaping the fueling benefits.