We surveyed the sports nutrition aisle for the best-tasting and most-effective portable nutrition and hydration. Here are our top picks.
$7 for 10 tabs
There's so much new with Nuun, and we were so excited to try all the options for tri training indoors and out. Not only did Nuun rebrand with new-look packaging, it also revamped its formula: tabs dissolve more quickly and are absorbed more efficiently. We noted a smoother taste that had a hint more saltiness with flavors coming through from start to finish, compared to the old formula. We were partial to the grape and orange mango.
Nuun has also launched Nuun Rest—in tablet form—that, when dissolved in water, helps to calm and soothe your body and mind, so a good night's rest is almost certain. For those who describe themselves as light sleepers, Nuun Rest is a great go-to after a rough training session following a busy day at work.
Flavors Available: Cherry Limeade, Citrus Fruit, Fresh Lime, Fruit Punch, Grape, Lemon Lime, Mango Orange, Orange, Strawberry Lemonade, Tri-Berry, Tropical, Watermelon, Wild Berry
Nutrition Info: 1 tab / 15cal / 1g carb / 300mg sodium / 25mg potassium / 13mg calcium (40mg caffeine)
Skratch Anytime Energy Bar
$29 for 12 bars
We found ourselves reaching for a Skratch Anytime Energy Bar not only before or after a workout session but, well, any time! One tester refused to share her raspberries & lemon after the first bite. Another was partial to the savory goodness of the parmesan, tomato & black pepper; both agreed that the peanut butter & strawberries had to be shared for the sake of harmony on the ride.
Packaged in small, bite-size portions with an easy mouth feel, we downed the Skratch bars without a hydration chaser. That's even with the primary ingredients being is nut butter and oats or peanuts. Not only was this a satisfying snack, we didn't have to worry about our stomachs when eating and running either.
Flavors Available: Peanut Butter & Strawberries; Raspberries & Lemons; Parmesan, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Black Pepper
Nutrition Info: 1 bar / 220cal / 32g carb / 210mg sodium / 8g fat / 5g protein
Science in Sport Protein Bars
$48 for 15 bars
A partner of USA Cycling, USA Triathlon and sponsor of Team Sky, Science In Sport (SiS) really has sports nutrition dialed in. All you have to do is grab and go, and the portion size per bar is perfect. We thought the SiS Protein Bar was chewy and solid enough that it filled us for a while. We liked the banana, which reminded us of salt water taffy, just slightly more than the chocolate orange, which had a hint of cocoa underlying the orange zest.
Flavors Available: Banana, Chocolate/Orange
Nutrition Info: 1 bar / 200cal / 36g carb / 20mg sodium / 2g fat / 10g protein
Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews$28 for 12 packages
Honey Stinger may be known for its stroopwafels and gels, but we really like the Organic Energy Chews—they're easy and pretty fun to eat. Made with organic honey and tapioca syrup, the flavor was authentic and without noticeable aftertaste. These chews are easy to down, and we really liked how they did not stick in our teeth.
Flavors Available: Strawberry, Fruit Smoothie, Pomegranate/Passionfruit, Cherry Blossom, Pink Lemonade, Orange Blossom, Caffeinated Cherry Cola, Caffeinated Limeade, Grapefruit
Nutrition Info: 1 package / 160cal / 39g carb / 80mg sodium / 0g fat / 1g protein (32mg caffeine)
$19 for 20 servings
At first we were skeptical of the slim portion—to be mixed with just 16oz water—of Ultima Replenisher. But we were so wrong. On rides and runs lasting from 30 minutes to over 2 hours when our testers were really sweating, no one cramped. The all-natural and light-tasting flavors were a nice change from heavy, caloric hydration mixes. The calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium in the Ultima Replenisher formula proved so effective for staving off fatigue and soreness that it became a go-to for pre-ride hydration too. Our favorite flavor? Grape!
Another great feature of Ultima Replenisher: We could keep a few tiny packets in our jersey pockets and drop them into a bottle at a mid-ride water stop while still having room for calorie-dense energy bars and chews.
Flavors Available: Pink Lemonade, Cherry Pomegranate, Grape, Lemonade, Orange, Raspberry
Nutrition Info: 1 serving / 0cal / 0 carb / 55mg sodium / 250mg potassium / 55mg calcium
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