If your training sessions tend to be longer than 60 minutes in duration, it’s important to top up your nutrition mid-run to give you the fuel you need to keep going.
There are various nutrition supplements designed for refueling mid-workout, with energy gels being the most popular.
The problem, however, is that energy gels are not to everyone’s taste.
For some people, the texture is an issue, whereas others simply don’t like the flavors.
A good alternative, then, is to give energy chews a try!
The chewy texture can be a lot more palatable than the viscous consistency of some gels, and the best energy chews taste as good as candy!
Here in this guide, we list our top 6 electrolyte chews and energy gummies and the reasons we recommend them.
First, though, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using energy chews as fuel for your training, and what ingredients they should contain.
Why Use Energy Chews?
Energy gummies and chews are designed for endurance athletes who exercise consistently for an hour or more.
And there are LOTS of great reasons to use them.
- They are a concentrated source of energy, allowing you to quickly take on important nutrients like calories, carbs, and sodium in an easily digestible form.
- They’re convenient – you don’t need to prepare them, and they’re easy to pack in your running shorts or jacket.
- They can be more satisfying to consume than energy gels, and can also be better for people with sensitive stomachs.
- They feel like a treat! The best energy chews have a great flavor and texture, with many looking and tasting just like candy!
There’s just one downside to chews – they can be more challenging than gels to chew and swallow mid-run if you’re training at a very high intensity.
What Ingredients Should They Contain?
Energy chews vary in their ingredients from brand to brand, some with more calories than others and some using organic ingredients.
It’s a good idea to speak to your healthcare provider before using them if you are already taking other supplements or any medication.
This is to avoid any possible interactions between the ingredients.
Some key elements in energy chews include:
The best energy chews should contain simple sugars – carbohydrates that are easy to digest.
These provide the fuel you need to keep going.
Ideally, look for chews that provide carbohydrates from a variety of simple sugars, such as glucose, sucrose, fructose, and maltodextrin.
Try to avoid those that list fructose as the main ingredient, however, as large amounts of fructose are known to upset the stomach.
The best energy chews should also contain electrolytes like sodium and potassium.
Keeping your electrolytes balanced is key to your performance.
Sweating heavily whilst training will cause you to lose a lot of sodium, so it’s essential that you take this on mid-run.
If you opt for chews that are relatively low in sodium, you’ll need an electrolyte drink, too, in order to maintain a healthy balance.
This can be helpful for giving you a physical and mental boost when the going gets tough.
But it’s not for everyone, and people who are sensitive to caffeine might want to avoid it altogether.
Some brands make chews that contain caffeine but also offer caffeine-free versions.
Now that you know what to look for, here are our best energy chews for runners:
- Best Value for Money – PROBAR – Bolt Organic Chews
- Best for Sensitive Stomachs– GU Energy Chews
- Best for Higher Intensity Exercise – Honey Stinger Organic Chews
- Best Energy Chews for a Mid-Run Break– Jelly Belly Sports Beans
- Best Energy Chews for Flavor- Skratch Labs Sport Chews
- Best Energy Chews Overall – CLIF BLOKS
The Best Energy Chews to Fuel Your Training
#1. Best Value for Money – PROBAR – Bolt Organic Chews
Serving Size: 5 pieces, Calories Per Serving: 90, Carbohydrates: 23g, Sodium: 15mg, Vegan: Yes
|Varieties with or without caffeine||Packets are not resealable|
|Soy-free||Chews can become a little hard in cold weather|
|USDA certified organic||Flavor may be too sweet for some|
These perfectly sized chews are available in 6 deliciously fruity flavors – Strawberry, Berry Blast, Orange, Raspberry, Pink Lemonade, and Cranberry Pomegranate.
Along with the carbs you need for quick energy and the electrolytes required to keep your levels balanced, they also contain a range of healthy B vitamins.
They don’t have the texture you’d generally associate with gummies.
That’s because they’re naturally vegan and made without gelatin, which makes them softer.
They’re also gluten and dairy free, so they’re ideal for anyone sensitive to these ingredients.
Best of all, they taste genuinely good – so good, in fact, that you may end up eating more than you’d intended!
#2. Best for Sensitive Stomachs- GU Energy Chews
Serving Size: 8 pieces, Calories Per Serving: 90, Carbohydrates: 22g, Sodium: 40mg, Vegan: Yes
|Varieties with or without caffeine||Packaging is fiddly, especially mid-run|
|Don’t stick to your teeth||Not kosher|
|Easy to digest||Energy boost could be better|
You get four yummy varieties of these gluten-free energy gummies to choose from – Strawberry, Watermelon, Blueberry-Pomegranate, and Orange.
We found the orange the best – it tastes closest to the real fruit and has a satisfying ‘tang’.
Each piece is very small – handy if you can be sensitive to energy supplements as you can control your intake a little at a time rather than overwhelming your system
On the downside, it’s not easy to extract the required number of pieces for one serving when you’re on the move!
The flavor across the board is nice – not too sweet, and with just the right amount of fruitiness – and all of the flavors except strawberry are caffeine-free.
#3. Best for Higher Intensity Exercise – Honey Stinger Organic Chews
Serving Size: 1 packet, Calories Per Serving: 160, Carbohydrates: 39g, Sodium: 65mg, Vegan: No
|Easy to chew||No options with caffeine|
|Good for sensitive stomachs||Expensive|
|Gluten, dairy, and soy free|
Honey Stinger is the only brand that makes chews focused on honey.
Indeed, honey has some great benefits, being easily digested and absorbed and with a low glycemic index that can provide sustained energy without crashing.
We found the texture and size of these required less vigorous chewing than other brands, which is useful when you’re working hard and want to devote all your energy to your performance!
What’s more, these retain their softness even at lower temperatures, unlike some brands which tend to harden in cold weather.
The flavors are good, too, and include Pink Lemonade, Fruit Smoothie, Pomegranate Passionfruit, and Cherry Blossom.
Just remember that the focus on honey means that all flavors have an underlying honey taste.
#4. Best Energy Chews for a Mid-Run Break- Jelly Belly Sports Beans
Serving Size: 1 package, Calories Per Serving: 100, Carbohydrates: 25g, Sodium: 80mg, Vegan: No
|Great variety of flavors||Size of beans (and therefore nutrition content) is inconsistent|
|Options available with or without caffeine||Small size makes them hard to eat mid-run|
|Resealable package||Tend to stick to your teeth|
Yes, these yummy chews are from THE Jelly Belly company, and they taste pretty similar to those jelly beans you enjoyed as a kid!
They’re the same size as traditional jelly beans, too, although that can actually make them a bit inconvenient to eat whilst you’re in motion and we preferred to stop and enjoy them as a snack.
On the plus side, the high-quality single-serve packaging is great and we loved the fact that we could eat a few at a time, then safely reseal the rest for later.
The basic variety shown here is rich in electrolytes, caffeine-free, and contains carbs, B vitamins, and vitamin C.
But if you’d prefer the extra boost that caffeine provides, opt for the Jelly Belly Extreme Sport Beans instead.
#5. Best Energy Chews for Flavor- Skratch Labs Sport Chews
Serving Size: 5 pieces, Calories Per Serving: 70, Carbohydrates: 18g, Sodium: 80mg, Vegan: Yes
|No artificial ingredients||Low in carbs compared to other brands|
|Easy to digest||Can feel sticky on hot days|
|Gluten and dairy free||Packaging is difficult to open|
Yes, taste is subjective, but the electrolyte chews from Skratch Labs are consistently voted some of the best out there by athletes who love their real fruit flavor!
What we think sets them apart is the dusting of sour sugar, which adds a nice touch of tartness.
What’s more, they’re not coated with wax (an ingredient that causes other chews to stick to your teeth) and they’re made with more water than other brands.
This gives them a great texture that’s easy to chew while you’re running, even at higher intensities.
There are four varieties to choose from—raspberry, orange, sour cherry, and matcha green tea with lemon – with the latter two flavors containing an extra boost of caffeine.
#6. Best Energy Chews Overall – CLIF BLOKS
Serving Size: 3 pieces, Calories Per Serving: 90-100 (depending on flavor), Carbohydrates: 24g, Sodium: 50mg (100 mg for salted watermelon), Vegan: Some flavors
|Contain a variety of sugar sources for long-lasting energy||The chews may be too large for some|
|Easy to carry and open|
|Options with and without caffeine|
CLIF BLOKS are created by athletes, for athletes, with the salted watermelon variety containing 100 mg sodium – the highest of all the electrolyte chews we reviewed.
The different varieties of flavor also offer varying levels of caffeine, with up to 50 mg available for a real boost to your focus when you need it.
The packaging was the easiest to open of all the brands we tried and we loved the semi-solid texture that we found easy to chew and swallow, no matter our pace.
These were the largest chews we tried, which we saw as an advantage because we needed fewer of them during our run, although some may prefer a more bite-sized option.
They taste awesome too, especially the salted watermelon which has that perfect combination of sweet and savory flavors.
The Best Energy Chews: Key Takeaways
We hope this guide has helped you find the best energy chews to fuel your next run, although it’s important to remember that we all process supplements like these differently.
You might want to try a few of these brands to discover which you digest comfortably and absorb effectively for quick results.