Here’s a look at some of our new favorite nutrition players for 2017. (Feed your muscles like a pro by following the tips found in nutrition guide Fuel Your Ride, published by Rodale!)
Barnana Organic Chewy Banana Bites1 of 8
There are only so many bananas you can put in a pocket, and they don't always travel well. In fact, hundreds of scuffed up, overripe bananas typically go to waste because they're deemed unfit for market. But food manufacturer Barnana takes these unwanted bananas and turns them into delicious, potassium-packed ride snacks.
The company's Organic Chewy Banana Bites are pretty much Mother Nature's original pre-packaged energy bars. Flavors include Original—chewy squares made from dehydrated bananas and banana powder—as well as peanut butter, coffee, and dark chocolate-coated bites. Six nuggets deliver between 115 and 180 calories.
SmashPack2 of 8
These fruit-and-protein packs are basically silky, thick, rich portable smoothies. They're significantly bigger than your standard energy gel, but still slide neatly into a jersey pocket. Plus, they have a replaceable cap, so you can take an energy hit as you need it rather than having to slam it all down in one squeeze.
They're not only good for lasting energy on the bike, but also because they're the right ratio of quality protein and carbs, they're perfect to pack as a recovery food when your race or ride is done. All three flavors—Mixed Berry, Orange Peach and Tropical Fruit—are pleasantly fruity without the bitter aftertaste you sometimes find with protein-based products. SmashPacks deliver 14 grams of whey protein and one serving of fruit per 180 calorie pouch.
Wilde Boldr3 of 8
For the paleo people, low-carb eaters, or those who want a meat-based protein packed snack that is easier to eat on the fly than jerky, the updated meat bar line from Wilde Boldr fits the bill.
Now non-GMO, Wilde bars are slow roasted for a tender, easily chewed bar. They're made of 95-percent lean cuts of meat that are Global Animal Partnership Certified, along with seasoning blends of fruits, veggies, ancient grains and coconut oil. The bars deliver 10 to 11 grams of protein, 110 to 130 calories, and are very low in sugar. There are four flavors available, including Turkey Cranberry, Maple Uncured Bacon Blueberry, Peach Barbeque (beef) and Sweet Thai Style Basil (chicken).
Also try five tasty snacks for cyclists.
JoJé Bars4 of 8
Created by a couple that includes two professional cyclists and one private chef, energy-dense JoJé Bars have a soft, cookie-like consistency. The gluten- and dairy-free bars are super easy to digest, even when you're going really hard.
Made with organic gluten-free oats, nuts, almond butter, and brown rice syrup as a base, JoJé Bars are naturally mildly sweet without being candy bar-esque. Six flavors include White Chocolate Coconut Blondie, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Apple Walnut Cake, Pancakes and Bacon, Lemon Blueberry Quinoa, and Espresso Chocolate Almond.
Also, learn how to read nutrition labels like an athlete.
33Shake Chia5 of 8
A completely fresh take on energy gels, 33Shake Chia Energy Gels actually come to you with zero gel—just a featherweight pouch filled with coconut palm sugar, Madagascan vanilla, Himalayan pink salt, and of course, chia seeds—the storied running fuel of the Tarahumaran barefoot ultrarunners featured in bestselling Born to Run.
These little gems are packed with protein, minerals, omega-3s, carbs, and antioxidants. Just crack open the valve and blow into the pouch to expand it, then fill it with water—or if you're feeling creative, add coconut water, fruit juice, or espresso—wait 10 minutes, and you're good to go. (You can preload them ahead of time; they'll keep for 24 hours). The result is a slightly tapioca-y, mildly sweet, textured gel that delivers very even, sustained energy with zero GI woes. Each gel offers 90 calories of delicious mixed macronutrients, including 11.2 grams of carbs (6 grams sugar; 5 grams fiber); and 4 grams of fat; and 2.2 grams protein.
Enduro Bites Cyclists6 of 8
Cyclists have been carrying fig bars as long as people have been making bars from these energy-packed dried fruits, but Enduro Bites take fig bars to the next level.
These tasty fig-based squares contain no dairy, gluten, wheat, pollen, soy, artificial colors, sweeteners, or flavors. What they do have delivers 200 easily digested, delicious calories with 18 grams of carbohydrates, 2.5 grams of fat, and 2 grams of protein. There are four flavors: Cinnamon Blueberry, Fig and Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Espresso, and Lemon Cranberry.
Ally's Bar7 of 8
Any cyclist who enjoys natural performance nutrition—especially those known to pack salted potatoes in their pockets—will love Ally's Bars.
These snacks—which debutd a few years ago as the first sweet potato-based bars on the market—are organic, Non-GMO, and gluten-free. Ally's recently added Sweet Potato with Pistachio Cashew Pumpkin Seed, and Sweet Potato with Apple Carrot Ginger, to complement the Original Sweet Potato flavor. They're all sweetened with dried fruits and nuts as well as other natural ingredients.
Each bar delivers between 220 and 250 calories, 5 to 11 grams of fat, 35 to 42 grams of carbs, and 4 to 6 grams of protein.