Being a vegan triathlete doesn’t mean you have to subsist solely on coconut water and bananas. The plant-based sports nutrition options have never been better—give one of these new energy products a try.
Bearded Brothers Energy Bar
Crafted in Austin, Texas, these date-based bars are a delicious, nutrient-rich treat. Of the five flavors, taste test favorites were the Mega Maca Chocolate, which has cinnamon-y Mexican cocoa and energy-packed maca powder, and the Bodacious Blueberry Vanilla, with its subtly sweet berry flavor from organic dried blueberries. We loved seeing the whole-food ingredient lists on the compostable packaging—the bars are made with ingredients like organic cashews, chia seeds and fresh-pressed ginger. Each bar contains 188–244 calories, 5–8 grams of protein and 27–30 grams of carbs, making it a great midday or on-the-bike snack.
$2.99–$3.49 for 2-ounce bar, Beardedbros.com
Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer
Created by Brendan Brazier, a vegan and former pro Ironman athlete, Vega Sport is a complete line of plant-based sports nutrition products. The Pre-Workout Energizer drink mix, available in lemon-lime and acai berry flavors, fuels workouts with quick-burning organic sprouted brown rice syrup and slow-burning organic palm nectar. Don’t be deterred by the funky green color of the lemon-lime flavor—no artificial colors were added, and the flavor resembles a mild green juice blend. With ingredients such as spinach leaf, yerba mate, turmeric, coconut oil and ginger, this drink is packed with more nutrients than you’d expect from a typical sports drink. Each packet contains 70 calories and 16 grams of carbs, and should be taken 20 minutes before exercise.
$30 for 12 0.6-ounce packets, Vegasport.com
PocketFuel Nut Butter Blend
Made with almond or hazelnut butter, PocketFuel’s Nut Butter Blends are a whole-food alternative to energy gels on the bike (the high level of protein and fat would make it tough to digest on a run) or as a complement to a banana as an afternoon snack. Favorite flavors were the Vanilla Haze, a hazelnut blend similar to Nutella that’s extra tasty when spread on toast; Banana Blueberry, a delicious almond butter with crunch from banana chips; and Chocolate Espresso, a palate-pleasing almond butter blend with ground espresso (80 milligrams of caffeine per serving). Each packet is loaded with electrolytes, healthy fats, 4–6 grams of protein, 9–14 grams of carbs and 150–175 calories. You’ll want to swig some water with each thick, rich bite.
$2.99 for 1.8-ounce, two-serving pouch, Pocketfuelnaturals.com
While the name and packaging may suggest otherwise, Bumble Bars are actually vegan-friendly (no honey). These organic sesame seed-based bars (don’t forget the post-nosh tooth check!) are handcrafted in small batches in the Pacific Northwest and come in 14 flavors. Staff favorites included the Amazing Almond, a sweet and chewy bar made with vanilla and cinnamon, and Chai Almond, made with zesty ginger, cardamom and flax seeds. These calcium- and magnesium-rich bars are just the right amount of sweet and are a light pre-workout fuel or healthy snack. Each bar, made with ethically sourced ingredients, contains 180–210 calories, 15–21 grams of carbs and 4–7 grams of protein.
$1.99 for 1.4-ounce bar, Bumblebar.com