Health

Women’s Running Best Fuel Awards!

You may not think that glitz, glamor and gel packets belong in the same sentence - but these tasty treats will prove you wrong.


You may not think that glitz, glamor and gel packets belong in the same sentence – but these tasty treats will prove you wrong. We’re rolling out the red carpet to give our favorite fuels their delicious due!

Best Low-Cal

Pure Bar Ancient Grains Triple Berry Nut 

Why we it. . .A wholesome flavor, a short list of ingredients we can pronounce and a slightly spicy kick make this 160-calorie bar a winner.

What it tastes like. . .Natural fruit flavors (blueberry, apple, strawberry) provide sweetness while quinoa lends a rice crispy-like crunch.

When to eat it. . .When hunger strikes after a short run, reach for this little four-bite bar. The carbs, good fat and protein will hold you over until your next meal.

Best Protein-Packed

Clif Bar Builder’s Max Cookie Dough

Why we it. . .Aside from giving us an excuse to eat cookie dough, this bar delivers a triple blend of protein that helps weary muscles rebuild in a jiffy.

What it tastes like. . .Clif delivers on the promise of an oâ -the-spatula fl avor, down to the organic chocolate chips that provide satisfying texture.

When to eat it. . .With 30 grams of protein and 380 cals, this bar is tailored for recovery. Cut it in half for a post-workout snack or scarf the whole thing after a long run.

Best Gluten-Free

Picky Bars Smooth Caffeinator

Why we it. . .We dig the by runners, for runners story—the bars were developed by pro-athletes Lauren Fleshman and Steph Rothstein Bruce. Plus they work for gluten-free, lactose intolerant and vegan girls.

What it tastes like. . .The ingredient list doesn’t mention Toblerone bars, Fig Newtons or café au lait—but the bars sure taste like it should. Not-t00-sweet deliciousness.

When to eat it. . .Stock your bedside table with these caffeinated treats for easy access before early a.m. runs.

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Most Tummy-Friendly

Vitalyte Chia Surge Gel Raspberry

Why we it. . .For some runners, a mid-run gel is a oneway ticket to the Porta-Potty, but the natural formula and thin consistency of Chia Surge won’t aggravate even the most sensitive GI tracts.

What it tastes like . . . A faint berry flavor is easy on the palate, while whole chia seeds provide an interesting bit of crunch and antioxidants that are essential to energy production.

When to eat it . . .With only 75 calories per serving (roughly 25 percent less than most gels), down one packet before a long run and another every 40 minutes or so.

Best Customizable

Infinit Osmo-Fit

Why we it. . .If you’re having trouble finding a mid-run fuel that works for you, why not make your own? Infinit allows you to order gel tailored to your needs (if you’re not sure what those are, one of their experts will guide you). Your personalized powder arrives at your door, ready to be mixed with water and enjoyed in a gel flask.

What it tastes like . . .That all depends! Choose between orange, fruit punch or lemon-lime, and request a flavor anywhere on the “weak” to “strong” spectrum.

When to eat it . . .Stick the little bottle in your back pocket or belt during long runs or races and sip it along with water as you go.

Best Caffeinated

GU Roctane Island Nectars

Why we it. . .Studies have found caffeine to improve running performance by as much as 20 percent. This little packet delivers 35mg of the stimulant along with carbs, electrolytes and amino acids, which have been found to delay fatigue.

What it tastes like. . .Pineapple jam mixed with guava jelly.

When to eat it . . .Save the performance enhancing for when you need the boost. Take one gel every hour in half marathon or marathon races— but make sure to test these treats out in training to ensure they sit well in your stomach.

Best Sugar-Free

Nuun Cherry-Limeade

Why we it. . .A complete electrolyte profile, a sophisticated tang and only one gram of carbs per serving all packed into a portable tablet that fits in your fueling belt—needless to say, we’re obsessed.

What it tastes like. . . Closer to tan water than a sugary drink, the mild tart cherry is perfect for sipping all run long.

When to drink it. . .Any run when you need a bit more than water to get you through. Drop a tablet into your bottle on hot days and pair it with gels or chews during runs lasting longer than one hour.

Best All-Natural

Vita Coco Coconut Water

Why we it. . .The potassium and carbohydrates in coconut water fuel your runs naturally—without the high-fructose corn syrup that sends blood sugar soaring.

What it tastes like. . .Wipe the expectation of a virgin piña colada from your mind. Unsweetened coconut water has an earthy but refreshing flavor that’s best served cold.

When to drink it. . .With 45 calories per cup, this drink is best enjoyed before or during runs lasting between 40 minutes and an hour. For shorter runs, stick with water—for longer efforts, sprinkle a bit of salt into your bottle to deliver the sodium your body requires.

Best Post-Workout

Horizon Lowfat Chocolate Milk

Why we it. . .Studies have shown that this lunchbox favorite helps muscles recover better than a sports drink. Horizon’s version is sweetened with organic cane sugar and real cocoa instead of the chemicals and stabilizers found in some supermarket brands.

What it tastes like. . .You almost certainly already know—but if you don’t, buckle your safety belt, you are in for a treat.

When to drink it. . .Save this sugary drink for when you’ve earned it—after a run longer than 45 minutes or a tough speed session.

Best Vegan

ProBar Bolt Berry Blast

Why we them. . .Meat-free girls deserve delicious chews too! While many brands use gelatin or honey (a vegan no-no), ProBar relies on pectin, a plant product, to help these snacks hold their shape.

What they taste like. . .Blueberry, acai and apple combine to create a sweet but not cloying bite that reminds us of freshly pressed juice.

When to eat them. . .One packet will keep you cruising for a two-hour run.

Most Satisfying

PowerBar Energy Blasts Lemon

Why we them. . .These quartersized treats keeps your taste buds interested with two distinct flavors on either side of the chew and a squirt of gel within.

What they taste like. . .Lemon meringue pie (almost!) The flavor is creamy citrus without the tart—a good choice for a mid-run palate that can’t handle strong flavors.

When to eat them. . .At 20-ish calories a pop, take in two every half hour during runs and races lasting longer than an hour.

Most Chewable

Honey Stingers Energy Chews Fruit Smoothie

Why we them. . .Two flavors of chews in one packet! Why didn’t we think of that? With a soft, jelly texture, these 95-percent organic mid-run supplements go down like a breeze.

What they taste like. . .Starbursts with vitamin C and electrolytes. The cherry and orange are both sweet and fruity—but taste distinctly different even with your eyes closed.

When to eat them. . .Eat these 14-calorie chews by the handful during long runs or as a quick sugar boost pre-race.