Every year is a new smorgasbord of delicious snacks from all the major sports nutrition brands, plus a smattering of upstarts or local brands trying to get noticed. We’re equal opportunity grazers here, and usually rely on such treats to keep us powering through the long days of photographing and interviewing companies about all the new tech. In this mega nutrition roundup are all of the new supplements, bars, gels, recovery aids and drinks we found at Sea Otter 2018.
Perhaps the most delicious was the new Honey Stinger Crackers ‘n’ Nut Butter snacks. Let’s be real: This is an adult candy bar disguising itself as fuel. And honestly, with its chocolate coating and easily crumble-able crackers, it’s not ideal for throwing into a jersey. But if you want a 220 calorie hit that gets about half that count from fat to help keep you full. Not shown, there’s also an Almond Butter, Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt flavor. Retail is $26.40 for 12, or probably about $2.75 each in the stores.
Building on the delicious success of their Nut Butter filled bars, Clif Bar is introducing new “fruit smoothie” filled bars. Essentially, it’s fruits blended with cashew butter, with more fruit bits inside the outer bar.
They taste better than you might think. Three flavors are available: Strawberry Banana, Tart Cherry Berry, and Wild Blueberry Acai. Each has 5g of protein.
Also new are big bags of Clif Bar Energy Granola. It’s a crunchy blend of organic oats, almonds, cashews, seeds, and dried fruit. Each serving has about 8g of protein, coming partially from Pea Protein Crisps. All of these new Clif products should be in stores soon.
The new Bonk Breaker Premium Protein Bar is one of the first on the market with high quality collagen and grass fed whey as its primary sources of protein. Collagen is becoming the hot new ticket, not only because it provides protein for recovery, but because it’s also a building block of skin, hair, nails, joints, etc. If you ride hard and beat yourself up a little during training and racing, it’s worth a look. Two flavors -Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Chip, and Double Fudge Brownie- with a retail of about $3/bar.
Radicle Snacks had three bars, each with a specific nutraceutical purpose. Tart Cherry to help your focus, Schisandra for Detox (yes, they said it’ll help with hangovers, but only if you take it before you start drinking, and it works partially by making you feel good so you want want to drink as much) and Blueberry (and other) polyphenols to aid memory. Each has other special ingredients in it for a synergistic effect, check it all out on their website. All use a base of almonds, figs and dates.
OK, this one, I choked down because I know it’s good for me. SP2 sampled it blended into a smoothie and that’s my recommendation. I spooned out a thawed (but still chilled) cup of it and, um, needed a drink immediately after. But, the health benefits of super greens like Spirulina can’t be overstated, and when it’s processed and frozen straight from the harvesting source, they’re able to maintain the highest level of vitamins and micronutritients. It’s also a good source of protein, though you’re only getting about 4.6g per cup. They’re sold in the box as a multipack, delivered overnight in a frozen state, for $122 for 32 servings.
Tailwind has a new vegan recovery drink mix called Rebuild. It’s sold in stick packs and uses a mix of coconut milk powder and essential amino acids rather than the typical pea protein. That should make it extremely easy to digest, and the additional sugar count (pretty high at 39g, 43g total carb) should help replenish muscle glycogen.
Nuun has added Immunity tablets to its effervescent water enhancements, building in a solid collection of powerful immune-boosting ingredients:
I used these throughout a recent press trip that involved a lot of activity and little sleep, plus a seven hour time change and multiple flights. Despite being quite tired throughout, I managed to not get my usual sniffles by the end of the trip. I’d say these at least contributed to my well-being, and they taste decent, too. A sleeve of 10 runs $7.
Need more variety in your protein, bro? Epic’s jerky sticks are new and come in Turkey, Venison, Salmon and Wagyu Beef. They’re all tasty, and the Salmon’s worth a try if you like salmon, there’s not really a fishy taste. A box of 20 is $39.95, so bet on about $4-5 each in stores. There’s 6-8g of protein each.
Evolve by Cytosport
Cytosport’s Cytomax products get a slight tweak to their formula to clean it up a bit, but the main news is their new plant-based protein bars and RTD shakes. Their Evolve line uses minimal ingredients for a cleaner label and gets its protein from pea protein grown and processed in North America, providing 20g of protein per shake and 10g of fiber. And they support the National Parks Foundation, which we dig.
AltRed is a Betalaine supplement that promises the world. Namely, more watts, speed, efficiency, and reduced muscle damage markers with faster recovery. And they back that up with two double blind, placebo controlled university studies that they say proved it works. The key ingredient? Beet Root extract. Which is not the same as drinking beet juice or using beet juice powder because the nitrates are removed in AltRed. They say the difference here is that the Betalains (the thing that makes beets red) are extracted so they’re detached from the sugars in beets, making them more bioavailable. A 30-pill bottle is $50, and fortunately you only need to take one per day, or maybe another one if you’er exercising for more than 2 hours.
GU is celebrating 25 years in business with their Birthday Cake flavor energy gel, available now. They’re also celebrating young athletes with this:
The official announcement will be coming later, but a Special Edition gel will be available in June with proceeds benefiting NICA to help get more high school kids on bikes.
Picky Bar has launched Picky Oats, a single serve oatmeal that’s lower in sugar than the mass market packets. And with more unique flavors, like Matcha Goji Berry and Beet Chocolate. Personally, I liked the Apple Cinnamon best. Expect retail to be a few bucks each, with the make-in-the-cup packaging a bit more and mostly found in Whole Foods and other grocers. The flat packets are more for stores like REI where you might want to slip a few into your pack for an overnighter (Sadly, they say you can’t just pour hot water into the packet. Challenge accepted.). There’s also $10 4-serving bags for feeding a couple people at a time.