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Crash-busters

May. 18, 2010 - 08:40AM   |   Last Updated: May. 18, 2010 - 08:40AM  |  

Nothing kills a good workout like running out of gas — crashing — when you're mentally still in the game. Ultramarathoner sdavidson@militarytimes.com?subject=Question from ArmyTimes.com reader">Sara Davidson runs down these eight effective and delicious choices of fuel. Want more? Check out www.militarytimes.com/energybars

ProBar

If you only eat organic, this is the bar for you — but you better like flax and raw pumpkin seeds. While this bar is chock-full of good nutrients and ingredients, I couldn't get past the overpowering bird seed taste. My horses, on the other hand, couldn't get enough. Vegan foodies and equines, eat up.

The full meal bar packs a quarter of your day's fiber (7 grams) and 9g of protein. But watch out: With almost 400 calories per bar and 19g of fat, this is no snack. Treat it like a meal.

I'd probably eat these only in a pinch. And beware: All that fiber may not play well with your stomach during exercise.

Pricey: Singles for $3.29 Box of 12 for $35.48

Honey Stinger

Wow, these are sweet. I tried the Chocolate Coated Peanut Butta Pro bar and had to stop halfway through because of the sugar shock — this bar is a whopping 30 percent honey. Tasty in small pieces, but too much all at once.

All that honey means lots of sugar — 33g in the Peanut Butta Pro. But this bar also packs a powerful 20g of protein and 230mg of potassium, making it great for tired, post-workout muscles.

I'd eat this as a meal replacement or after a very long workout — 350 calories means you're getting a lot more than a snack.

Average: Singles for $2.39 Box of 12 for $28.50

Clif Bar

Oh, Clif Bar, how I do love thee. These are the first bars I reach for when hunger strikes because they aren't chalky-tasting or gritty like other bars. Some of the flavors are downright tasty. My favorites are any of the peanut butter varieties, and the ever-elusive blueberry or maple flavors.

These are my after-run snack of choice. The 10g of protein make them a great choice to jump-start muscle repair. They're a nicely balanced mix of fats, protein and carbs to keep you going.

I like to eat a third of a bar before a run and the rest when I get back to the car.

Good Buy:

Singles for about $1.50

Box of 12 for $15

Gummi bears

OK, so gummi bears are not engineered to be nutritionally balanced running superfoods, but I love them anyway. These little bears are portable, tasty and easy to eat by the handful. I consider them great crash-busters and pretend that each color is its own food group, thereby making them superior to all other foods. I'm loyal to Haribo brand gummy snacks, although any kind will work.

Gummi bears are just sugar and three tiny grams of protein. I don't rely on them in summer because they don't have electrolytes or sodium — things you want in a snack when you're sweating buckets in the heat.

Take these on cool-weather trips as a pick-me-up, not a main food source. They will freeze into little bear-shaped rocks if it's too cold. Mind your teeth.

Cheap: Prices vary, but we found 5-pound bags for about $15

CLIF shotBLOKS

Clif Shot Bloks are my summertime gummi-bear substitute. They taste good enough to eat all day, and some flavors are caffeinated. They used to come in annoying square pouches, which meant fishing around with your dirty hands and eventually getting all sticky. Now they come in a fantastic tube, great for dispensing large quantities all at once.

Each tube contains two servings (three bloks per serving) at 100 calories per serving. The caffeinated flavors have up to 50mg of caffeine per serving. To compare, one shot of espresso at Starbucks has about 75mg of caffeine.

Great electrolyte balance. Easy to carry, tasty to eat.

Average:

Singles for about $2

Box of 18 for $35.75

SHARKIES

Who wouldn't love an energy chew shaped like a shark? These little organic gummy fish are one of my favorite midrun snacks, especially for summer sweat-fests. I'm a fan of the light, not-too-sweet fruit flavors, especially Peach Tree Breeze. These stick to your teeth like nothing else, so chase with lots of liquid.

Each pouch of Sharkies contains about 140 calories. With only 1 gram of fiber, 30mg of potassium and 36g of carbohydrates, these make for a great energy boost.

Love these for hot summer workouts. No protein, so make sure to get that elsewhere if you're out for extended periods.

Good buy: Singles for about $1.50 Box of 12 for $17.80

Gu Chomps

Gu Chomps are by far the most sugary-tasting chew on our list, but this gummy choice tastes far better than its older cousin, Gu Energy Gel. Some flavors, including strawberry, have an added caffeine kick.

Each pouch contains two servings — keep that in mind, or else you'll gobble down 180 quick calories in just eight bites. Electrolyte levels are comparable to Shot Bloks, but Chomps have twice the potassium.

Great for summer runs if you can stomach the super-sugary taste. If you're out for a long time, be sure to add some protein.

Average: Singles for about $1.70 Box of 16 for $35.20

Sport Beans

Imagine your typical jelly bean, add electrolytes and caffeine, and you've got a Sport Bean. While these have more sugar per serving than Gu Chomps, they aren't nearly as sweet. And they come in a rainbow of colors and flavors. "Extreme" flavors (cherry and watermelon) have 50mg of caffeine. Traditional flavors are caffeine-free.

These single-serving pouches contain 100 calories, which for me is the perfect amount to eat at one time. They also have more sodium per serving than Chomps, Bloks or Sharkies, making them tops for summer.

Fabulous little snack for all seasons. Easy to pack and easier to eat on the move. Added caffeine makes them that much better.

Cheap: Singles for a little over $1 Box of 24 for $24

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