Honey Stinger Energy Chews Cherry Cola
I've been a huge fan of Honey Stinger's Organic Waffles mainly because they pair well with espresso. But these certified gluten-free chews may reign as my new fav Honey Stinger product. Tasting exactly like Dr. Pepper, the ruby jewels are caffeinated by white tea extract and contain 60 mg of vitamin C and organic honey. Colored by black carrot juice and turmeric.
In the field: These are pretty sticky. After taking them out of the package the residue lingered on my hands. But perhaps because of their stickiness, they had a melt-in-your mouth texture, making them a breeze to eat, even without a sip of water.
Skratch Exercise Hydration Mix with Oranges
At first I was skeptical about Skratch—it's just a packet of flavored sugar, right? Wrong. Stocked with vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium and calcium (OK and sugar too), Skratch is a perfect marriage of hydration and performance enhancement: Just dump it into your water bottle and you're good to go. What more can a cyclist ask for... besides a well-executed snot rocket?
In the field: Skratch does exactly what it's designed to do: it prevents bonking and it pushes you to finish a strenuous workout. But I wish Skratch incorporated organic ingredients into the blend—at the very least organic cane sugar.
Sharkies Berry Blast
Part of the reason I'm drawn to Sharkies is due to nostalgia—they remind me of those artificially flavored Shark Bites of my childhood (remember, "You've got to eat them, before they eat you"?). Gluten- and HFCS-free, these adorable swimmers contain USDA Organic rice syrup, cane sugar and white grape juice. They don't have caffeine, so active kids can eat them every once in a while (but they still have quite a bit of sugar).
In the field: These tasted wonderful and sustained me when I got tired. But out of all the chews I sampled, Sharkies annoyingly stuck to my teeth the most. The gaudy packaging could use some work, too.
Smooch Apple, Raspberry, Peach, Chia & Acerola
Not a designated fitness product per se, I had to include Smooch in this gallery because it's perfect for cycling. The adult-designed pack fits comfortably into my jersey's back pocket, and save for a bit of lemon juice, you don't need to flip the package over to read the ingredients—they're all in the product name. Plus, the pack has a handy screw-on cap.
In the field: I love Smooch! It tasted delicious and gave me a burst of ultra-clean energy. I could refuel one-handed while staying on my bike, which made me feel like Lance (pre-Oprah interview, that is).
PROBAR Bolt Raspberry
Meet Bolt, PROBAR's newest addition to their line of natural on-the-go nutrition. Tasty USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified gummies are made from pronounceable ingredients like tapioca syrup and superfood fruit powders. Plus, each chew is packed with B vitamins, electrolytes and a touch of yerba mate-derived caffeine. The punchy packaging is sure to pop on store shelves, too.
In the field: These perfect, delicious little gems were a godsend on seemingly endless uphill climbs, and I found myself craving them throughout the ride. And, if I'm being completely honest, I just broke into a package while sitting at my desk writing this article. So. There's that.