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Best Energy Chews For Runners in 2021

 

Sustaining energy throughout a long run is a critical part of training and racing. To get the most out of your runs, you have to fuel the work. Run long enough without some kind of calorie input, and you will struggle to hit your goals, and struggle to recover well.

This is a reality when it comes to running – or any exercise for that matter. Sometimes, all you need is a little pick-me-up to help you finish strong, and that’s exactly what energy chews do for runners. Similar to gels, energy chews are portable, quick energy combined with electrolytes. As part of a fueling strategy, energy chews might make the difference between hitting the wall and hitting your goals.

If we could only have one, we’d pick Clif Shot Bloks Energy Chews. They’re tasty, contain electrolytes as well as carbs, and have 100 calories per three chews.

Scroll down to find out what else we reviewed and choose the right one for you!

Top 4 Best and Favorites

 

Clif Bloks Energy Chews

 

  • 30 calories per chew
  • Contain necessary electrolytes
  • 2 serving per pack
Check Price

 

GU Energy Chews

 

  • 20 calories per chew
  • BCAAs help concentration & recovery
  • Vegan and gluten-free
Check Price

 

Honey Stinger Energy Chews

 

  • 160 calories per package
  • 95% organic ingredients
  • Added electrolytes
Check Price

 

Jelly Belly Sport Beans

 

  • 100 calories per serving
  • Caffeine options
  • Added electrolytes
Check Price

Best Overall

1. Clif Shot Bloks Energy Chews

Shot Bloks are our favorite chews. They come in packs of 6, which is two servings. One serving of three chews offers 100 calories, about the same as one gel.

It’s super easy to find something that’s suitable for you. Apart from the flavors (of which there are many delicious ones), these chews offer a nice variety of nutrients too.

If you like the jolt of a dash of caffeine, you can find flavors containing the stimulant. If you prefer to forgo the caffeine, there are just as many flavors without it.

Other flavors contain extra electrolytes to keep your levels where they should be, and replenish what you’ve lost during your race.

Each serving is packed with about 24 grams of carbs, so it provides a nice little boost.

The thin package is also super easy to slip into a bag or belt and grab on the run. There is a slight downside – the chews may melt in the heat, which means you may find them to be more of a gel when it comes to using them!

Others feel that it’s not too easy to chew them while running hard. But you can always tuck one into your cheek and let it dissolve.


PROS:

  • Approximately 30 calories per chew
  • Contain necessary electrolytes
  • Some flavors contain caffeine
  • 2 serving per pack, good for long runs

CONS:

  • The chews may melt in hot temperatures
  • May not be easy to chew when running hard!

Check Price on Backcountry

Best for Long Runs

2. GU Energy Chews

GU (like goo) energy chews are great if you are doing long runs and need little pick-me-up three-quarters of the way through.

You’ll find two servings in a pack. One serving consists of 4 chews. If you want to spread out your calories intake during a run, more so than you could do with a single gel, these are ideal.

Each serving is loaded with 20 grams of carbohydrates, plus sodium, potassium, and calcium to keep your electrolytes up.

It’s recommended to take one serving a few minutes before your run or workout, and another serving every 30 to 45 minutes while you’re exercising. Or, yo can casually work your way through the pack slowly during your event.

They come in a range of flavors, some caffeinated and some not. Also, all of the flavors contain BCAAs, which are easily-absorbed amino acids that help with muscle recovery and mental focus while running.

We definitely like these chews for staying focused on long runs and the added benefit they have for muscle recovery!


PROS:

  • 20 calories per chew (80 per serving)
  • Contains sodium, calcium, potassium
  • BCAAs help concentration & recovery
  • Caffeine and caffeine-free flavors
  • Vegan and gluten-free

CONS:

  • These chews are quite sticky and may not be easy to chew comfortably while running

Check Price on Backcountry

Top Organic Chews

3. Honey Stinger Energy Chews

Runners who pay more attention to what their supplements contain may be interested in these all-natural, organic chews.

They’re filled with organic ingredients and sweetened mostly by honey, although they do contain some organic sugar.

Whereas others usually have 3 or 4 chews per serving (and a few servings per packet), Honey Stinger chews contain 12 in a serving, and one serving in a packet. Fewer calories per piece lets each runner be more exact about how much fuel they are taking in at once.

Each handful of 12 is loaded with 39 grams of carbs to give you an extra bit of energy. There’s also a sprinkle of electrolytes, which will keep you properly fueled while you’re on the road.

Runners who are sensitive to the ingredient pectin may find that their stomach doesn’t like these chews.


PROS:

  • 160 calories per package, 12 chews
  • Two flavors with caffeine
  • 95% organic ingredients
  • Added electrolytes

CONS:

  • One serving is 12 chews, which makes this slightly less affordable than others
  • One of the ingredients, pectin, can cause stomach issues

Check Price on Backcountry

Best Sport Beans

4. Jelly Belly Sport Beans

Who doesn’t feel a bit like a kid again when eating a handful of jelly beans? Jelly Belly has built their reputation on fun-flavored candy, but Sports Beans bring to the party the best in sports fueling. They’re a potent sports supplement all wrapped in an innocent jelly bean.

Each 1-ounce serving contains 100 calories, 25 grams of carbs, and 60 milligrams of both sodium and potassium. If you want a caffeine kick too, a couple of flavors contain 50 milligrams of caffeine too.

The packages are easy to open while you’re on the go, but you’ll need to be careful not to shake it up too much as you’re running. If you’re a little too vigorous you may spill your beans on the ground, and there’s no time for the 5-second rule in a race!


PROS:

  • 100 calories per serving
  • Caffeine options
  • Added electrolytes
  • Feels like a cheat treat

CONS:

  • These beans are slightly pricey in comparison to some other chews

Check Price on Road Runner Sports

Top Value

5. Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Chews

Gatorade is the original electrolyte supplement, and it remains both a good value and a great product. Their Endurance Carb Chews comes in at less than a dollar per ounce, and they’re loaded with carbs and electrolytes.

One serving consists of 4 jellies, and it’ll fuel your performance to the tune of 120 calories. With that, you’ll get 31 grams of carbohydrates, 110 milligrams of sodium, and 55 milligrams of potassium.

Some may find the ingredient list to be somewhat lower quality than others. It could also be argued that once you get to the point of making a product like an energy chew, the focus on all-natural or organic ingredients doesn’t mean much at all. What Gatorade does have is a long legacy of supporting high performance, and these chews can do the same for you.


PROS:

  • Good value for what you pay
  • 31 grams of carbs
  • 30 calories per chew
  • Gummy texture is easy to chew

CONS:

  • The ingredient list is slightly less healthy than others

Check Price on Amazon

Best Gluten-Free

6. Shaklee Performance Energy Chews

If you and gluten don’t get along, these would be great chews to try. The serving size is 2 chews, which is fewer than most, but you’ll get a lot of good stuff from those 2 chews.

A serving contains 45 calories, a whole lot of added vitamins, and a dose of caffeine that comes from green tea extract.

It’s also guaranteed to be free of banned substances, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, and of course, gluten.

The downside of these chews is that there are no electrolytes added, so you’ll need to carry separate electrolyte chews or gels for that if you need.

There are also no caffeine-free options, so if you have a sensitivity, you may need to steer clear of these.


PROS:

  • No gluten or artificial flavors or sweeteners
  • Guaranteed free from banned substances
  • Caffeine from green tea extract
  • Serving size is 2 chews

CONS:

  • No caffeine-free options
  • No electrolytes

Check Price on Amazon

Top Chew with Real Fruit

7. Skratch Labs Sport Energy Chews

One packet of Skratch Labs Sport Energy Chews contains 10 “drops”, which equates to 2 servings. The calorie count changes slightly by flavor, but they’re between 70 and 80 calories per serving, which means 160 calories per packet.

You’ll get 20 grams of quick-absorbing carbs in each serving, of which about 12 to 14 grams come from cane sugar.

The electrolytes are not the best in this chew, but they definitely give you a boost.

The lack of artificial flavoring is also a bonus, as it reduces the chance of digestive troubles. Those who are sensitive to pectin, though, may find that the digestive troubles stick around, although there’s not a lot of it in these chews.


PROS:

  • Naturally flavored with real fruit
  • Great dissolvability
  • 80 calories per serving
  • All-natural ingredients

CONS:

  • The packaging can be hard to open while on the move

Check Price on Backcountry

Best All-Natural

8. ProBar Bolt Organic Energy Chews

If you’re looking for something all-natural, these could do it for you. They’re vegan, gluten-free, and contain organic ingredients.

Each packet will give you 2 servings of 5 chews, 45 calories each. 23 grams of carbs is a nice dash of extra energy, and the addition of sodium, potassium, and a variety of vitamins keep you as strong as possible on the road.

They’re suitable for just about everyone, being vegan and gluten-free in addition to their all-natural, healthy ingredients.


PROS:

  • 45 calories per serving
  • 23 grams of carbs per serving
  • Added electrolytes
  • Vegan and gluten-free

CONS:

  • They can be a little sticky

Check Price on Backcountry

Top Chews with Caffeine

9. Bonk Breaker Strawberry Energy Chews with Caffeine

Runners who enjoy and benefit from a caffeine boost will love Bonk Breakers.

They’re gluten-free and made with simple, real ingredients, so there’s nothing artificial or synthetic in them that could cause stomach problems.

As well as being nice little carb nuggets, you’ll get a powerful electrolyte punch when consuming these chews. At 240 milligrams, they’re almost twice what most others contain.

They’re also great for winter running as they offer a bit of a vitamin C boost – 200% the recommended daily intake, in fact!


PROS:

  • Vitamin C boost
  • 240 milligrams of electrolytes
  • Simple, real-food ingredients
  • Some flavors without caffeine

CONS:

  • Not too many flavors available

Check Price on Backcountry

Best CBD Energy Chews

10. Resilience CBD Gummies

The benefits of CBD are many, and if you’d like to reap some of those while getting your afternoon boost, then these chews would be worth a try.

Although they do provide a little energy boost, they may be better as a daily supplement rather than an on-the-go chew.

CBS has many benefits, one of which is pain relief, so they’re great for recovery and to improve the immune system.

They are available in various strengths, and of course, they contain no THC. The only high you’ll be getting is a runner’s high!


PROS:

  • THC-free
  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • May provide pain relief
  • Available in different strengths

CONS:

  • These may work better as a daily supplement rather than an energy-boost chew

Check Price on Road Runner Sports

Top Chews for Electrolyte Replacement

11. SaltStick Fastchews

There are two philosophies to what should be in your racing fuel. Some feel that carbohydrates are the key to performance. After all, that is where the bulk of your energy comes from. The other school of thought is that your body is fine on fuel (especially if you go by a fat-adapted approach), and it’s the electrolytes you lose in sweat that need to be replaced to maintain high performance.

SaltStick takes the second approach. Fastchews focus on replacing electrolytes, and at the very least, make a great choice for very long races or very high temperatures. 

Unlike most other chews, these are not gummy. They’re harder and more chewable, which means they dissolve faster to get the good stuff into your system. They also won’t melt in the heat!

They deliver a nice electrolyte jolt, containing 50mg sodium, 15mg calcium, 3mg magnesium, and 15mg potassium. One serving size is 2 chews, and it’s recommended to take two tablets 15 to 30 minutes before exercise to give your body a head start.


PROS:

  • Quick-dissolving chews
  • Contains sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium
  • Easy to chew
  • Vegetarian and gluten-free

CONS:

  • Those wanting a caffeine boost might not feel that these do much

Check Price on Amazon

 

FAQs

The best energy chews for runners are super to have in your pocket while exercising. They’re like a cheat piece of candy, only it’s not cheating, and it will actually help your performance. What’s not to love?

Here are some commonly asked questions in case you’re still wondering about trying them out.

Why Are Energy Chews Good for Running?

Energy chews are a super-easy way to get a bit of a calorie and carb boost to see you through long or difficult runs. Some of them even help replenish electrolytes.

They’re small enough to take with you in a pocket, vest, or belt, and you can carry many at once in case you need them.

Unlike gels, there’s no chance of them bursting and ruining whatever else is in there with them. You can eat them in smaller quantities over shorter periods of time. So unlike a gel, which goes down in one shot, you can eat chews over a longer period of time.

And unlike electrolyte tablets, you don’t need to take them with water (although it is a good idea to wash them down with a sip).

So they’re an easy, convenient form of carbohydrates to replenish you on the go.

Energy chews are basically runners’ candy. They’re tasty, make you feel like you’re having a sneaky piece of candy, and absorb very quickly in the membranes of the mouth and stomach.

How Many Should I Take?

The best way to figure out what’s right for you is to check the instructions on the packaging. The best dosages can vary depending on the content of the chew!

In general, though, on runs longer than an hour, a chew every 30 minutes should suffice. If you find that you aren’t getting enough of an energy boost, you can up it to one every 15 minutes.

To give yourself a bit of an electrolyte boost before your run, you can chow down a chew or two before you hit the road.

Although you don’t need to consume chews with water, it’s a good idea to wash them down with a few sips to keep yourself hydrated. Individual products will advise you on whether drinking water after a chew is necessary (apart from normal hydration needs).

What Should I Look For In Energy Chews?

Some runners swear by off-the-shelf gummy bears as a running supplement – you could just suck on any piece of candy and get a bit of a sugar rush, after all. But the best energy chews for runners are created with health in mind.

If you’re shopping for some, keep an eye out for the following things:

Non-GMO Ingredients

The science of whether, or how much, GMO ingredients affect quality and health is very much up for debate. Advocates of “clean eating,” though, steer clear. Many athletes follow their lead.

If you seek out non-GMO foods, you have many options when choosing a chew. Whether you’re training for an ultramarathon or simply running for fun, your nutritional choices are important.

Carbs

Carbs are the most easily accessible form of energy, so when you ingest a quick-burning carbohydrate it should give you a spike of energy to see you through those slumps. But the carbs shouldn’t just provide a quick spike of energy. They should also provide a slow burn of other more complex carbs to keep your energy level even. If your chew isn’t made from at least a few different type of sugars, it might not be the best choice.

Electrolytes

It’s easier than you may realize to run dry on electrolytes while you’re running, or have a spell of dizziness and nausea hit you later on because you haven’t replenished. Electrolytes are just as important to recovery as they are to performance.

Not all energy chews contain electrolytes, but most of them do, in varying degrees. Unless you’re going to be carrying electrolyte tablets along with you too, it’s a good idea to look for an energy chew that contains some electrolytes as well.

Stimulants

Many chews contain caffeine or green tea extract to give you a bit of extra oomph. The caffeine is not intended to keep you awake. Rather, it’s a gentle stimulant that keeps you focused, and research suggests this is an important psychological factor in maximizing effort.

For many people, though, even a little caffeine can, shall we say, expedite the tail-end of the digestion process. If your stomach is sensitive to caffeine, you may choose to go with a caffeine-free chew. Nobody wants to be out in the middle of a trail run and be hit with a sensitive stomach!

Taste & Texture

It goes without saying that if you don’t like the taste or texture of your chew, it’s probably not going to be super effective for you, even if it does what it should.

There’s no need to punish yourself by eating chews you dislike! Simply choose a different flavor or another brand with a bit of a different texture until you find something you really like.

Ease of Use

No runner wants to have to fight with packaging only to have the chew escape and hit the dirt. Choose something that’s easy to carry and easy to open.

The Wired Runner