You are what you eat, including when you run. And when it comes to deciding what kind of bars, protein mixes, energy gels and drinks to use for fueling before, during and after your workouts, organic, wholesome and simple ingredients are key. Here are some natural fuel alternatives, with no chemical preservatives or GMOs, for clean energy and recovery.
Photos: Oliver Baker
Yummari Endurance Snack, $26 for pack of 12
Testers preferred to eat one of these bite-sized balls made of organic hemp seeds, chia seed and gluten-free oats right before a longer run because of the bar’s density yet easy digestibility. Packed with omega 3’s, Yummari’s ingredients were inspired by the plant-based diet of the Tarahumara Indians (an indigenous tribe in Mexico known for their long-distance running ability).
Bearded Brothers Energy Bar, $3.49
Completely organic, this bar contains only five basic raw ingredients: dates, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and sea salt. Our favorite flavor, Fabulous Ginger Peach, includes dried peaches and fresh pressed ginger, giving it a sweet yet refreshingly spiced taste. The ginger also helps to reduce inflammation.
Huma PLUS Chia Energy Gel, $2.50
The new Huma PLUS formula has added electrolytes comparable to most gels in addition to its original formula containing sea salt, coconut water and chia seeds. It’s also less viscous than most gels due to the combination of evaporated cane juice and brown rice syrup, providing a jam-like consistency that’s easier to consume on the run without having to wash it down with water.
Pickle Juice Sport, $20 for pack of 12
A sour 8-ounce shot of Pickle Juice may sound unappealing, but it’s packed with electrolytes—470mg of sodium and 20mg of potassium—that’ll help prevent muscle cramps. They’re the same ingredients used to pickle cucumbers—water, vinegar, salt and dill—with added potassium, zinc and vitamins C and E for an all-natural, GMO-free endurance supplement.
SimplyProtein Chips, $24 for box of 12 bags
Chips are usually the last item to grab after a run. But not if they contain 15 grams of pea protein with only 140 calories per bag and 20 percent of your daily iron intake. For a nutritious post-workout snack, these will satisfy the need for something salty and crunchy.
Vega Sport Performance Protein, $2.99
With 30 grams of non-GMO plant-based protein derived from pea, alfalfa, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, Vega’s gluten-free protein mix is the best alternative for the whey intolerant. It also has added ingredients of turmeric, tart cherry and probiotics that help to reduce muscle and joint inflammation, starting a process of faster recovery.