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Race Fueling

Triathlete’s 2016 Fuel Awards

We've done the tastebud test for you and now we're sharing our top picks for recently released nutrition products in five major categories.

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Does the exploding sports nutrition market leave you overwhelmed by options? Good news: The Triathlete staff has done the tastebud test for you, sampling a few dozen of the newest products and flavors, all launched in 2015 or early 2016. Here are our top picks in five major categories.

Sports Drinks

Nuun Energy Mango Orange
Why we chose it: Super portable tube, refreshing flavor
We dig the newest flavor of Nuun Energy, a slightly tangy, thirst-quenching citrus flavor—we actually looked forward to drinking it on rides. The gluten-free effervescent electrolyte drink tablets, which dissolve in 16 ounces of water, contain a small amount of dextrose to aid in fluid absorption, plus caffeine (derived from green tea) and B vitamins, and are sweetened with stevia and monk fruit. $6.99 for 10-tablet tube, Nuun.com

Enduro Beta Red Pre-Workout Performance Formula
Why we chose it: Mild-tasting, nitrate-rich
Maybe you’ve heard about the sports performance benefits of beets but are (understandably) hesitant to swig straight beet juice? This all-natural drink from Enduro is a tasty, easy way to reap the benefits of the root veggie—it may have an intense bright red color, but it has a surprisingly mild taste. $38 for 20 servings, Endurobites.com

VFuel Endurance Black Cherry Cola Drink Mix
Why we chose it: Flavor originality
Who doesn’t love cherry cola? This caffeine-free drink tastes great—but not soda-sweet—and packs an electrolyte punch (sea salt is the second ingredient after non-GMO dextrose). It’s higher in calories (200 per packet) and carbohydrates (49 grams). $27 for 12 packets, Vfuel.com

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Chews

Honey Stinger Grapefruit Organic Energy Chews
Why we chose it: Mellow taste, natural ingredients
This citrusy flavor is a refreshing option in a category that tends to resemble candy shop offerings. Made with all-natural ingredients such as honey and tapioca syrup, the small gummies are easy to chew while on the go, and the mild grapefruit taste won’t encourage flavor fatigue. $2.25, Honeystinger.com

Skratch Labs Raspberry Fruit Drops
Why we chose it: Clean flavor, non-sticky
Likened to gumdrops in our taste test, these sugarcoated chews are flavored with real raspberry, which gives them a naturally fruity taste. The coating also keeps them from feeling waxy or sticking to the package or your teeth. $2.45, Skratchlabs.com

Glukos Energy Gummies
Why we chose it: Quick energy hit
The idea behind the line of Glukos products is that sugar in the form of glucose is a rapidly absorbed form of energy starting as soon as it hits your mouth. In addition to glucose syrup, these chews are made with tapioca syrup, cane sugar and natural flavors and colors. Available in lemon, orange and fruit punch flavors, these Gummies will make you feel like you’re feeding a candy craving. $2, Glukosenergy.com

RELATED: 4 Chew-Worthy Gums (And Gummies)

Protein Drinks

Vega Sport Performance Protein Berry
Why we chose it: Plant-based, flavor variety
In a product market inundated with chocolate and vanilla options, we appreciated Vega’s berry flavor, which pairs perfectly in the blender with raspberries and blueberries. The vegan, gluten-free protein shake has been reformulated to deliver more protein (30 grams of non-GMO plant-based protein) and more performance ingredients (such as turmeric, tart cherries and probiotics). $55 for 20-serving canister, Myvega.com

Gatorade Recover Single-Serve Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
Why we chose it: Tastes just like chocolate milk
When mixed with 12 ounces of cold water, these new single-serve packets of Whey Protein Powder taste just like a smooth, refreshing glass of chocolate milk. They contain 20 grams of milk-based proteins and 45 grams of carbs, and are rich in amino acids. $1.99, Gatorade.com

GU Vanilla Cream Recovery Mix
Why we chose it: Natural flavor
Most vanilla-flavored recovery drinks knock you over the head with artificial sweetness, but not this new one—it had a subtle, natural taste. The mix is made with whey protein (10 grams per serving) and contains sodium, carbohydrates and amino acids. Use it as a base for a recovery smoothie, or dissolve it in water. $40 for 12 packets, Guenergy.com

RELATED: 4 Recovery Drinks For Triathletes

Energy & Protein Bars

PowerBar Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake ProteinPlus Bar
Why we chose it: High on protein and flavor
It’s surprising how similar this new bar flavor tastes to actual pound cake—it has a rich, cake-y texture and packs in 20 grams of (undetectable) protein. The lemon flavor is a welcome addition to a chocolate-heavy category, and the bar was reformulated to contain only 3 grams of sugar. It is also gluten-free and has no artificial flavors or colors. $1.25, Powerbar.com

PROBAR Base Coffee Crunch Protein Bar
Why we chose it: Palate-pleasing taste and crunch
A new flavor in the Base line of protein bars, the gluten-free Coffee Crunch has a chewy chocolate-y coating and crunchy Rice Krispie-like inside that perfectly blends the coffee and cocoa flavors. Each bar contains 20 grams of plant-based protein, 55 milligrams of caffeine from yerba mate, and because it’s made with chia seeds and flaxseeds, it also contains heart-healthy omega-3s. $2.79, Theprobar.com

UnTapped Maple Waffle
Why we chose it: Syrup + waffles. Need we say more?
The UnTapped brand, owned by former pro cyclist Ted King, started with maple syrup packets and has branched out to include stroopwafel-like organic waffles made with pure maple syrup and maple sugar. This tasty ride fuel has the flavor of a honey graham cracker and also pairs well with a cup of Joe. $2.25, Untapped.cc

RELATED: Our Favorite Bars

Gels

GU Roctane Chocolate Coconut Energy Gel
Why we chose it: Creative flavor combo
The folks at GU have come up with yet another winner in their long list of creative gel flavors (Cucumber Mint is also new for 2016). We enjoyed the Almond Joy essence, and it’s enhanced with caffeine and amino acids for longer workouts. $60 for 24 packets, Guenergy.com

Huma PLUS Berries and Pomegranate Chia Energy Gel
Why we chose it: All-natural ingredients, pleasant texture
Don’t fear the combination of the words “chia” and “gel”—the berries and pomegranate flavor of Huma PLUS, which has a higher electrolyte profile than regular Huma gels, has the consistency of jam and a clean, fruity taste, thanks to an ingredient list that includes fruit purée and coconut water. $2.50, Humagel.com

Hammer Nocciola Gel
Why we chose it: Nutella, anyone?
The newest flavor of Hammer Gel is made with roasted hazelnuts and cocoa, making it satisfying fuel for Nutella lovers. It has a smooth, frosting-like texture and isn’t overwhelmingly rich—it’s ideal for when you’re craving a decadent flavor during a ride. $1.40, Hammernutrition.com

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