The 7 Best Energy Chews of 2020, According to a Dietitian

Fuel your endurance workout with the power you need

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Our Top Picks
"USDA-certified organic, with 95 percent organic ingredients including organic honey and juice concentrates."
"An affordable and effective way to boost your energy at the gym, on a run, or with any activity."
"Each 2.1-ounce pouch contains 46 grams of carbohydrates, 190 calories, and a mix of vitamin C and B vitamins."
Best for Running:
Clif Bar CLIF BLOKS at Amazon
"Perfect for fueling long runs and races."
"A great option for anyone who wants a simple energy chew with 50 milligrams of caffeine per packet."
Best for Cycling:
GU Energy Chews at Amazon
"The thin packaging allows for easy storage in a pannier, bag, or bike shirt."
"The non-GMO chews contain 70 milligrams of sodium and 50 milligrams of potassium per 4-piece serving."

When you’re on the run—literally or figuratively—energy chews are an excellent way to keep your energy up and nutrition on track. Used primarily in an athletic setting, energy chews are a delicious, easy, and convenient way to replenish calories and carbohydrates, as well as electrolytes. According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, it’s best to consume 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour for any exercise duration over 60 minutes. Depending on the brand and product that may equate to eating a few chews every 15 to 30 minutes. Remember that the chews work best if you are hydrating adequately as well, so be sure to enjoy with water.

Here, the best energy chews.

Best Tasting: Honey Stinger Energy Chews

If you're looking for a great-tasting, top-quality energy boost, Honey Stinger Energy Chews are the way to go. The effective energy chews are packed with nutrition and natural flavor and can power you through the toughest workouts and competitions. Honey Stinger Energy Chews are USDA-certified organic, with 95 percent organic ingredients, including organic honey and juice concentrates. These chews are also allergy-friendly as they're free of gluten, nuts, dairy, and soy.

Recommended for use before, during, and after activity, Honey Stinger Energy Chews are often compared favorably against other popular chews on the market. They’re easier to open, they taste better, they're easy to chew, they aren’t sticky, and they have no aftertaste. With 160 calories and 39 grams of carbs per packet, they're a terrific boost for your favorite athletic endeavors.

Best Budget: Jelly Belly Sports Beans

Jelly Belly’s Sport Beans are an affordable and effective way to boost your energy at the gym, on a run, or with any activity. The one-ounce Jelly Belly pouches contain 25 grams of carbohydrates, plus electrolytes, and vitamins B and C.

Sold in 24- or 48-packs, Sport Beans can come in a single-flavor or variety bags with options such as berry, fruit punch, green apple, lemon, and orange. Sport Beans are also great for long runs or bike rides, as they're easy to eat, and you can easily control how much sugar you're taking in during your workout. Each 100-calorie pack can also be consumed 30 minutes before a workout, or you can eat a few beans every few minutes during activity.

If you prefer a caffeine-containing energy chew, try Jelly Belly's Extreme Sport Beans.

Best Tasting: Probar BOLT Organic Energy Chews

While you may be focused on the quality of ingredients, grams of carbohydrates, and balance of electrolytes, taste also matters when it comes to energy bites. It's neither effective nor enjoyable to be popping a bite every few minutes during a long run or ride if you don't like the flavor. Choosing a product like ProBar BOLT Organic Energy Chews ensures that you'll get the nutrition you need and enjoy the delicious taste.

With flavors like Cran-Pomegranate, Orange, Berry Blast, Pink Lemonade, Raspberry, and Strawberry, there's something for everyone. The USDA Organic, Non-GMO energy chews are packed with fast fuel to power you on-the-go or quickly before a workout. Each 2.1-ounce pouch contains 46 grams of carbohydrates, 190 calories, and a mix of vitamin C and B vitamins. Note that some flavors, like the Raspberry variety, contains an extra oomph from yerba mate-derived caffeine.

Best for Running: Clif Bar CLIF BLOKS

Made by the same company as the popular CLIF BARS, CLIF BLOKS are perfect for fueling long runs and races. They're easy to stash in running shorts or a pants pocket, and the fruity flavors are enjoyable. Plus, they replenish your glycogen stores quickly with 24 grams of carbohydrates and 100 calories per 3-piece serving. Each packet contains two servings of these easy-to-chew gummies that are made with mostly USDA Organic ingredients.

It's easy to customize your nutrition intake with the quick and portable 33-calorie cubes. CLIF recommends consuming one to two packets per hour during activity, always with a bit of water. For a pre-run energy boost, they can be eaten 15 to 30 minutes before a competition, but most runners find that popping a few BLOKS every 20 to 30 minutes during a run is highly effective.

Available in a variety of fun flavors, including Mountain Berry and Margarita with Salt, or more typical flavors like Strawberry, runners enjoy the taste of these energy chews on-the-go. If you prefer an energy chew with caffeine, some flavors contain 50 milligrams of caffeine from green tea extract per serving.

Best with Caffeine: Skratch Labs Sport Energy Chews

If you're looking for an extra energy boost, evidence shows that caffeine can enhance athletic performance. For this reason, many energy chews combine carbohydrates and electrolytes with caffeine to keep you fueled and mentally alert. Skratch Labs Sport Energy Chews are a great option for anyone who wants a simple energy chew with 50 milligrams of caffeine per packet. Each packet contains 140 calories and 36 grams of carbohydrates.

Skratch’s chews are gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan, with only a handful of ingredients including sugar, tapioca syrup, juice concentrate, pectin, and salt. The simple recipe uses green tea extract as a natural source of caffeine that is perfect for off-the-road runners and hikers who need a quick boost of sugar and caffeine to finish a grueling climb. And for those who like to stay away from animal-derived ingredients, Skratch uses pectin as a gelling agent instead of gelatin.

Best for Cycling: GU Energy Chews

When you’re cycling, it’s important to have energy that's easy to consume while in motion. Not only do you need an energy chew, but you need an energy chew that you can open easily without leaving your saddle. Made by the same company that sells the popular energy gels for cyclists, these chews come in convenient sleeves that contain two-servings of semi-solid chewable gels. Each 4-gel serving contains 80 calories and 20 grams of carbohydrates. GU recommends eating a serving five minutes before a race or training ride and then an additional serving every 45 minutes on the bike.

The thin packaging allows for easy storage in a pannier, bag, or bike shirt. GU Energy Chews are specifically designed for endurance athletes and come in five flavors, with or without 20 milligrams of caffeine. The tasty chews also contain amino acids—L-leucine, L-valine, and L-isoleucine—to jumpstart recovery. If you're used to a nutrition plan based around GU's gel packets, simply swap one gel packet for four energy chews.

Best with Electrolytes: Bonk Breaker Strawberry Energy Chews

If you're looking for an energy chew that provides ample carbohydrates plus critical electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, Bonk Breakers are an excellent choice. The non-GMO chews contain 70 milligrams of sodium and 50 milligrams of potassium per 4-piece serving. These electrolytes help to replace losses from sweat and exertion and help athletes to rehydrate during and after exercise.

Each serving also contains 90 calories and 24 grams of carbohydrates to keep athletes fueled on the go. Bonk Breaker's Strawberry Energy Chews contain 200 percent of the RDA for Vitamin C, a nutrient that has been shown to reduce oxidative stress, muscle damage, and fatigue.  The tasty, easy-to-digest chews are allergy-friendly, as they're free of gluten, soy, and dairy. Note that the Strawberry flavor also contains 100 milligrams of caffeine per package.

Final Verdict

If you're looking for a great-tasting energy chew with top-quality ingredients and excellent nutrition stats, try Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews.

What to Look for in an Energy Chew

Carbohydrates: Energy chews contain carbohydrates, or sugar, which is easily digested and can quickly boost energy in athletes during exercise. Most energy chews contain multiple servings per packet, with approximately 15 to 25 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Consider your individual energy needs when selecting a product to fuel your activity.

Electrolytes: It's essential for athletes to replete electrolytes during and after exercise. For this reason, most energy chews contain electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, which can help to replete electrolyte losses and promote optimal hydration when paired with water.

Caffeine: Evidence shows that caffeine may boost athletic performance. Many energy chews contain caffeine to help boost energy. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you may choose to avoid energy chews that have added caffeine. Always read the label carefully to check whether the product does or does not include caffeine.

Ingredients: When possible, choose an energy chew that is made from organic, non-GMO ingredients. Avoid artificial ingredients such as colors, flavors, and sweeteners.

Taste and Packaging: It's important to think about the flavor of your energy chew and how easy it is to consume on-the-go. Most energy chews are sold in convenient packaging that's easy to open while running or cycling. You may need to try a few products to find one that tastes good and you can eat with ease. If you find that you love the taste of a particular product but tearing open the package is tough, open the energy chews slightly and stash the sleeve in an easy-to-grab place before starting your run or ride.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

A personal note on my recommendations written above. As a dietitian, I frequently work with athletes ranging from weekend warriors to triathletes who may want to use energy chews as their primary source of fuel on-the-go. After spending time reviewing the most current research in sports nutrition and looking at multiple products, I came up with a list of products that I would recommend to someone looking to an energy chew into their routine. I believe that the products in the round-up are made by trusted brands.

As a marathoner, I have tried various energy chews, including most of the products on this list. When running, I usually use GU Chews. — Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

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Article Sources
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