Best active nutrition 2023: bars, sweets and drink mixes to keep you going all day

Collage of the best active nutrition products
(Image credit: Future)

Choosing the best active nutrition products to eat and drink when you’re pushing your outdoors adventures to the limit can be tricky. With so many products on the market, it’s important to make the right choice for you, your body, your sport and your palate. Not a fan of running gels? Fear not, there isn’t a gel in sight in this list. Instead we’re looking at other types of active nutrition available: bars, sweets and drink mixes. 

With such a broad range available, there’s something to suit every wallet and taste. And there’s good news for vegans and those who want to eat fewer animal products: the choice for them is both vast and tasty! We put drink mixes, bars and sweets to the test during a block of ultra running training during this past fall in preparation for some winter ultra marathons. 

As with all sports nutrition that’s new to you, it’s worth taking the time to test products during training to see how your body responds – and if you like the taste. There’s nothing worse than a dicky tummy 10k into a 30k run. 

While we were specifically testing these products with ultra running in mind, all of them can be used for any type of activity from trail running and hiking to swimming and even golf. Or just snacking, as became the case with our favorites.

The best active nutrition bars

Torq Explore Flapjack

(Image credit: Eilidh Moir)

Torq Explore Flapjack

Sweet, moist, moreish and sure to put a pep in your step

List price (per bar): $2.24 (US) / £1.85 (UK) | Weight: 65g / 2.29oz | Flavors: Organic Apple Strudel / Organic Carrot Cake / Organic Ginger Cake / Organic Black Forest / Organic Bakewell Slice / Organic Banana Cake | Energy per bar: 263kcal | Carbohydrates per bar: 43g | Salt per bar: 0.19g | Fat per bar: 8.1g | Protein per bar: 3.2g | Fiber per bar: 3.0g

High calorie
Sticky fingers

Torq’s Explore range offers snacking and breakfast options that are held to the same high research-driven standards as their Energy, Hydration and Recovery ranges. Torq have outdone themselves with the Explore flapjack range. Their flapjacks deliver an incredible flavor profile in a handy, packable and dangerously moreish bar. The syrup and raisins make for a satisfyingly chewy bar and a sweet hit. Torq’s Explore Flapjacks are vegan friendly and don’t contain any sweeteners or preservatives. 

We had our first bite of an Explore flapjack after a particularly gruelling long uphill training session in late October. The wind and rain had been battering the hillside for a two-mile climb. However, one bite and all was forgotten. That bite turned to two, then three. You get the picture. Before long, a warm sugary glow and replenished glycogen fuelled a more enjoyable downhill. 

These are high-calorie bars in small packages, designed to deliver energy quickly and efficiently. Packable and pocketable, they fit easily into a running vest, cycle jersey or belt pocket. 

It’s a treat you’ll look forward to before, during and after activity. We still can’t stop thinking about the Bakewell slice flapjack and a nice cup of tea.

Ingredients (Organic Apple Strudel): organic jumbo oats, organic Golden Syrup, organic dark brown sugar (organic dark brown sugar, organic molasses), organic sunflower oil, organic raisins (9%), organic maltodextrin, organic dried apple (6%), organic ground cinnamon (0.6%), sea salt

Human Food

(Image credit: Eilidh Moir)

Human Food

Wholefood feel-good snacking for any time of the day

RRP (per bar): $5.21 (US) / £3.50 (UK) | Weight: 76g / 2.68oz | Flavors: Organic Mixed Nut Choc / Organic Banana Cocoa / Organic Goji Berry / Organic Orange Choc Cashew | Energy per bar: 309kcal | Carbohydrates per bar: 18g | Salt per bar: 0.5g | Fat per bar: 18g | Protein per bar: 14g | Fiber per bar: 11g

Packed with nutrients
Compostable packaging

Human Food Bars bring with them everything you’d need for a day (or multiple days) in the outdoors. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, Human Food provides a whole food alternative to active nutrition. 

The bars are larger than you’d usually get for on the go snacking, weighing in at 76g of high quality, organic, broad-spectrum nutrition. Human Food bars are fully plant-based – even the packaging, which is compostable. 

We took a few Human Food bars on a day hike in the Angus Glens for an active recovery day in early November. Tom at Human Food had suggested a bar as a recovery meal and “meal” was the right word. The silver foil-looking packaging feels so durable and premium, we couldn’t believe it’s made from plant fibers! 

The bars have a “cold-pressed” feel to them that makes them dense and filling, exactly the recovery meal Tom was talking about. As cocoa nibs gave way to dried banana pieces there was a hint of sweetness, maybe from the apple juice and rice syrup. 

Even a 76g bar doesn’t feel like sugar overload. In fact, it feels like a wellness kick and one very welcomed to restore the body.

Ingredients: (Organic Mixed Nut Choc): organic nuts (walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds)(23%), organic tapioca fiber, organic hemp seeds (14%), organic dried apricots, organic pea protein, organic oats, organic dried banana, organic apple juice concentrate, organic cacao powder (3%), organic rice starch, organic grape juice concentrate, organic cacao butter, algae extract, organic curry leaf extract, organic maca root (0.7%), organic quinoa sprout extract, organic acerola, Cornish sea salt, organic ascophyllum seaweed, organic mushroom extract, organic black peppercorns

Maurten Solid C 225

(Image credit: Eilidh Moir)

Maurten Solid C 225

A light and sweet cocoa oat bar with high carbs and low fiber

List price (per bar): $3 (US) / £2.50 (UK) | Weight: 60g / 2.11oz | Flavors: Unflavored / Cocoa | Energy per bar: 225kcal | Carbohydrates per bar: 44g | Sodium per bar: 0.68g | Fat per bar: 3.6g | Fiber per bar: 2.4g

Light flavor
Easy to digest
High carbohydrate
Fairly chewy

Maurten has fast become known for its hydrogel drinks and gels. However, the Solid range is the first to stray away from that technology. But don’t be disheartened – what Maurten have created are two oat-based bars that are not only tasty but deliver a big energy hit. 

Science and performance driven, the Solid bars contain rice and oats and are light to eat with a hint of sweetness that’s easy on the digestion. Cereal bars these are not. They’re designed to complement Maurten’s gels and drink mixes, providing an alternative product to be consumed pre- and post- exercise. 

Maurten also suggest that ultra runners can consume Solid bars mid-race. So that’s what we did. Sure enough, the light sweetness and cocoa flavor of the Solid C 225 has a mild flavor and although chewy, not hard to get down. The Solid C 225 bar is wonderfully light on the stomach and easy to wrap back up if you want just a bite here and there. 

With 44g of carbohydrates this is an excellent option to fuel your exercise, whatever activity you choose. Maurten have created something really special with its Solid range.

Ingredients: (Cocoa): gluten-free oats, fructose-glucose syrup, maltodextrin, sugar, rice flour, sunflower oil, fat-reduced cocoa, rice bran, salt, emulsifier (lecithin), rice extract

Skratch Labs Anytime Energy Bar

(Image credit: Eilidh Moir)

Skratch Labs Anytime Energy Bar

A crunchy, nutty hit with a hint of sweetness to satisfy the taste buds

List price (per bar): $2.65 (US) / £2.50 (UK) | Weight: 50g / 1.76oz | Flavors: Peanut Butter & Strawberries / Raspberries & Lemons / Cherries & Pistachios / Chocolate Chips & Almonds | Energy per bar: 220kcal | Carbohydrates per bar: 32g | Sodium: 210mg | Fat per bar: 8g | Protein per bar: 5g

Anytime energy
Hard to eat just one

Based in Boulder, Colorado, Skratch Labs have firmly established themselves in the US nutrition market with some highly innovative and delicious products. With a full range of hydration, recovery, energy and nutrition offerings, founder Dr Allen Lim is filling a gap in the market for gut-friendly, real food options for athletes and hobbyists alike. 

Skratch’s tag line is, “Eat when you’re hungry, don’t eat when you’re not. Repeat if necessary.” We raided the box of Skratch Lab’s peanut butter and strawberries bars right after a lunchtime easy shakeout run. Lightly crispy with a hint of berries and just a touch of sweetness, the bar was easy to eat. A little too easy. That “repeat if necessary” line ringing in the ears, a second bar was gone in a couple of minutes. A reps training session followed a few hours later and one more bar (to really test the product, you see) went down nicely on the way to the meet point. 

Skratch Lab’s plant-based, gluten- and soy-free, non-GMO and kosher Anytime Energy bar packs in some serious calories for its size. Lim has hit on a recipe that’s tasty, moreish and delivers energy when you need it. 

Ingredients: nut butter blend (peanut butter, cashew butter [cashews, safflower or sunflower oil]), roasted peanuts, tapioca syrup solids, tapioca syrup, dried strawberries, coconut nectar, oats, quinoa crisps, brown rice crisps, vegetable glycerine, strawberry powder, oat flour, sorghum flakes, sea salt, tapioca soluble fiber, sunflower lecithin 

Science in Sport GO Energy Bake

(Image credit: Eilidh Moir)

Science in Sport GO Energy Bake

A sweet little baked bar for a well-earned cake stop

List price (per bar): $1.93 (US) / £1.75 (UK) | Weight: 50g / 1.76oz | Flavors: Strawberry / Lemon / Orange / Tiramisu | Energy per bar: 190kcal | Carbohydrates per bar: 30g | Salt per bar: 0.25g | Fat per bar: 5g | Protein per bar: 3.5g

Light and packable
Huge carb hit
Sweet and tasty
Easily squashable!

For the cake lovers among us, Science in Sport have it covered with the GO Energy Bake. Similar to a Nutrigrain (UK) bar in its soft casing with fruit filling, SIS’s Energy Bakes pack a lot of carbs into a small package. Cheaper than some other bars on the market, these bakes have 30g of carbs in one bar and 190 calories. 

We took the GO Energy Bakes out on a Sunday long run of 14 miles. The aim was to take a cake break at the halfway point of an out-and-back. In typical Scottish weather fashion, it was another wet and (head-)windy out leg and the cake stop couldn’t have come soon enough. With wet hands and a frozen face, the bars were easy to tear open and eat from the packaging. They’re a soft bar with minimal chewing making them ideal for chilled lips or to eat while moving. The center is full of sweet fruit so both texture and taste are pleasurable. The bake sat nicely in the stomach for the return leg. 

These are a “look forward to” nutritional product that’ll keep you going but also provide a welcome cake hit on any outing. 

Ingredients: Strawberry: wheat flour (wheat flour, calcium carbonate, iron, niacin, thiamin), fructose, strawberry-flavor filling (15%) (apple juice concentrate, fructose, gum acacia, vegetable glycerine, milk powder, olive oil, coconut oil, oat flour, flavoring, natural coloring (black carrot)), vegetable glycerine, olive oil, whole egg, gum acacia, milk protein, raising agent (sodium bicarbonate), flavoring, green tea extract

The best active nutrition sweets and chews

Clif Bloks Energy Chews

(Image credit: Eilidh Moir)

Clif Bloks Energy Chews

A soft sweet pick-me-up designed to keep you moving

List price (per pack): $3.79 (US) / £2.20 (UK) | Weight: 60g / 2.11oz | Flavors: Strawberry / Black Cherry / Mountain Berry / Tropical Punch / Margarita Citrus | Energy per serving: 128kcal per 4 pieces | Carbohydrates: 32g per 4 pieces | Sodium per 4 pieces: 0.17g | Fat per bar: 0g | Protein per 4 pieces : 0g

Easy to chew
Light and refreshing flavor
A little sticky on the teeth

Having a sweet treat to keep you going is always something to look forward to and the folks at Clif Bar know a thing or two about putting tasty nutrition together. Clif Bloks Energy Chews are 60g bars consisting of six cubes. They look a little like jelly cubes (UK) but have a denser more satisfying texture as well as a very pleasing flavor. 

Clif recommend a serving of three to four Bloks, which will deliver you around 30g of carbohydrates, similar to some gels but oh so much nicer to eat.

We took these out as an addition to other nutrition while on a trail hike in the Angus Glens. If you’re doing a more strenuous activity, Clif say that taking a few Bloks before you set off will raise your game. The first thing to note is the ease of opening and consuming right from the package. Each Blok breaks off nicely and has a slight chew but is also easy to swallow. Moreover, it was easy to digest and gave us a real boost.

Although a little pricey, these little cubes pack in a lot of flavor and are an excellent addition to your energy needs while exercising.

Ingredients: Strawberry: tapioca syrup, cane sugar, maltodextrin, pectin, citric acid, natural flavor, black carrot juice concentrate (for color), potassium citrate, sea salt, sunflower oil, carnauba wax

Skratch Labs Sport Energy Chews

(Image credit: Eilidh Moir)

Skratch Labs Sport Energy Chews

Energy chews with a caffeine kick that’ll keep you focused on your goals

List price (per pack): $2.45 (US) / £2.50 (UK) | Weight: 50g / 1.76oz | Flavors: Orange / Sour Cherry / Raspberry | Energy per serving: 70kcal | Carbohydrates per serving: 18g | Sodium per serving: 80mg | Fat per serving: 0g | Protein per serving: 0g | Caffeine per serving: 25mg

Handy portable pouch
Good size
Satisfying chew
Packaging tricky to open

Skratch Labs have done it again with an outstanding nutrition product made from simple ingredients. They’re vegan and gluten free, and the “energy” in Sport Energy Chews comes from tapioca syrup and cane sugar. We tried the sour cherry flavor, which also has green tea extract for a caffeine kick. 

Skratch Labs suggest a portion size of five pieces – that’s half a pack of these small chewy delights – to deliver 18g of carbs and 25mg of caffeine in just 70 calories. We took these on a run / hike through some boggy moorland and steep inclines. Skratch Labs recommend eating one packet per hour of exercise and that dosing was just the right amount. Easy to pop in the mouth, chew and swallow, they aren’t too sweet, which makes it easy to want more. 

A good, clean energy source to fuel the morning outdoors, these were a great choice to pocket in a hip belt. The packaging is strong (and waterproof – that Scottish rain again) and the chews don’t squash too easily. They’re also not sticky on the fingers and they dissolve in the mouth nicely. Good work, Skratch Labs, another excellent nutrition option. 

Ingredients: cane sugar, tapioca syrup, water, pectin, cherry powder, citric acid, lactic acid, sea salt, green tea extract

Torq Performance Energy Chew

(Image credit: Eilidh Moir)

Torq Performance Energy Chew

Organic, cold-pressed, maximum flavor and good to go when you are

List price (per bar): $3 (US) / £1.85 (UK) | Weight: 39g / 1.37oz | Flavors: Mango / Pineapple | Energy per bar: 128kcal | Carbohydrates per bar: 30g | Salt per bar: 0g | Fat per bar: 0.4g | Protein per bar: 0.6g | Fiber per bar: 1.4g

Just four ingredients
Handy small bar size
Excellent flavor
Super chewy

Torq’s Performance Energy Chews are a little different to those that have gone before. For a start, they’re cold pressed and comprise just four organic ingredients. They’re also in bars and very handily shaped as a long rectangle, ideal for pockets. They feel healthful. They’ve got a sweetness to them that tastes natural but they still bring that trademark Torq flavor hit. They are, however, very chewy. We had these out on a day hike and although an excellent source of natural energy with 30g of carbohydrate per bar, they definitely lived up to their “Chew” branding. 

But Torq say this is intentional. It provides variety, keeps the consumer interested in what they’re eating and allows the Chew to be consumed alongside other Torq products without a “same-y” feel. Now that’s some good thinking. 

If you’re looking for an all-natural, simple-ingredient bar, Torq Chew has it covered. It’s an excellent option and addition to the chews and sweets market that doesn’t compromise on energy delivery or quality. 

While satisfying, it can feel tricky to run or cycle hard (plus breathe) while eating these chews but they are ideal for those who want a cold-pressed whole foods alternative to energy sweets. 

Ingredients: (Mango Energy Chew): organic Mango, organic Dates, organic Maltodextrin, organic Agave Syrup |

The best active nutrition drink mixes

Active Root Sports Drink

(Image credit: Eilidh Moir)

Active Root Sports Drink

A ginger-based sports drink designed to settle the stomach and hydrate the body

List price (per sachet): $1.49 (US) / £1.09 (UK) | Weight: 35g / 1.23oz | Flavors: Original Ginger / Peppermint & Ginger / Green Tea & Ginger | Energy per sachet: 133kcal | Carbohydrates per sachet: 33g | Salt per sachet: 0.40g | Fat per sachet: 0.035g | Salt per sachet: 0.40g | Fiber per sachet: 0.02g

Subtle sweetness
Ginger as a core ingredient
All natural
Takes a good shake to dissolve

Active Root has fast become one of the most relied-on sports drinks on the market. Its unique ginger formula is ideal to keep stomachs settled even on the longest of training or race days. In addition, the 33g of carbohydrates per sachet means it’s a good source of fuel and, alongside 400mg of sea salt, is sure to keep you hydrated. 

Active Root uses all-natural ingredients so if you’re looking for something that’s easy on the stomach and tastes great, here is where it’s at. If ginger isn’t your thing, this might not be for you but the ginger taste isn’t overpowering. Neither is the sweetness. There’s a careful balance of flavor and if you opt for one of the Green Tea and Ginger sachets, you’ll notice a subtle tartness that tingles the taste buds and keeps any sickly sweetness far away. 

Active Root is now a staple in our hydration packs for any exercise over two hours. Easy to mix and light to carry, it’s a simple addition that delivers a great deal to keep the body in balance. 

Ingredients: (Original Ginger): cane sugar blend (natural disaccharide, 50% glucose, 50% fructose), citric acid, sea salt, ginger root extract

Mountain Fuel Xtreme Energy Fuel

(Image credit: Eilidh Moir)

Mountain Fuel Xtreme Energy Fuel

A complete fuel for energizing the body in a handy sachet

List price (per sachet): $1.49 (US) / £1.85 (UK) | Weight: 50g / 1.76oz | Flavors: Tropical / Blackcurrant / Raw | Energy per sachet: 179.5kcal | Carbohydrates per sachet: 39.75g | Sodium per sachet: 102.5g | Fat per sachet: 0.1g | Protein per sachet: 5.1g | Fiber per sachet: 0.35g

Includes vitamins
Has added creatine
For fuelling before and during exercise
Flavor can take a few sips to get used to

Mountain Fuel are a small company doing big things in the world of sports nutrition. They have developed the Mountain Fuel System to deliver high quality, uncompromising nutrition for endurance and extreme sport. 

Mountain Fuel’s Xtreme Energy Fuel encapsulates the research and testing that has supported numerous athletes engaging in the toughest sports and races to compete at their best. With a blend of carbohydrates, electrolytes, amino acids, creatine and vitamins, this fuel sets itself apart from other sports drinks. 

Where better to take it for a spin than our last long run before the Tweed Valley 50k race in November 2022? Xtreme Energy Fuel is part of Mountain Fuel’s wider fuelling system. Guidance for the Xtreme Energy Fuel is to sip on it the day and morning before activity, as well as during. This keeps the muscles replenished, spares glycogen and staves off fatigue. And that’s exactly what we did. The result? An easy-to-drink all-day supplement that does what it says on the packaging. We felt fresh even after 18 miles and the Xtreme Energy Fuel sat nicely in the stomach. 

Mountain Fuel are breaking barriers. 

Ingredients: (Tropical): dextrose, maltodextrin, L-glutamine, L-threonine, creatine monohydrate, acidity regulator (citric acid), natural flavoring, vitamin and mineral blend (potassium phosphate, magnesium citrate, sodium chloride, ascorbic acid, vitamin E, nicotinamide, pantothenic acid, vitamin A (acetate), vitamin B12, vitamin D3, riboflavin, pyridoxine, vitamin B1 (thiamine), folic acid, biotin), L-carnitine, L- tartrate, natural color (beta carotean), sweetener (sucralose), natural flavoring

Tailwind Endurance Fuel

(Image credit: Eilidh Moir)

Tailwind Endurance Fuel

A top class product from Tailwind offering all-day energy and tasty flavors

List price (per sachet): $2.50 (US) / £1.90 (UK) | Weight: 54g / 2oz | Flavors: Raspberry Buzz / Matcha Green Tea Buzz / Colorado Cola / Tropical Buzz / Mandarin Orange / Berry / Lemon / Naked | Energy per sachet: 200kcal | Carbohydrates per sachet: 50g | Sodium per sachet: 630mg | Fat per sachet: 0g | Protein per sachet:: 0g | Caffeine per sachet: 70mg

All-day nutrition
Great flavors
Mixes well
Packaging can be hard to open in the elements

Tailwind is back with some wonderfully modernized packaging that looks and feels premium. What’s inside is the same Endurance Fuel loved and trusted by athletes to provide all-day energy. Vegan, gluten free, soy and dairy free, Tailwind’s Fuel is marketed as, “All you need. Really.” And they’re not wrong. With 200kcal a sachet, caffeinated and decaf options, 50g of carbohydrates per serving and more flavors than you could guzzle in a day, it’s easy to see why Tailwind Endurance Fuel is so popular. 

We took two sachets on a recovery hike hoping that the carbohydrates would boost tired muscles and the caffeine would provide some pep. And boy did it. We tried out Raspberry and Tropical. Both flavors had the right amount of subtlety, not too bold or too light. The sweetness is also subtle which means that if you were to drink Tailwind Endurance Fuel all day, it wouldn’t become sickening. 

It mixes easily with water and although the packaging is a little tough to get into with chilled fingers, it feels robust. A few sachets in a running pack over 30 miles would stay intact. This is an excellent on-the-go, high-quality Endurance Fuel.

Ingredients: (Raspberry Buzz): non-GMO dextrose (glucose), non-GMO sucrose, citric acid, sodium citrate, sea salt, raspberry flavor, potassium

Science in Sport Beta Fuel

(Image credit: Eilidh Moir)

Science in Sport Beta Fuel

A whole lot of power in one sachet

List price (per sachet): $3.64 (US) / £2.30 (UK) | Weight: 82g / 2.89oz | Flavors: Strawberry & Lime / Orange / Red Berry | Energy per sachet: 320kcal | Carbohydrates per sachet: 80g | Salt per sachet: 0.01mg | Fat per sachet: 0g | Protein per sachet:: 0g

Huge carb delivery
Great flavors
Mixes well
Consistency takes getting used to

Science in Sport’s Beta Fuel is perhaps the biggest carb delivery you’ll get in a single sachet. At a whopping 80g per serving you’re best getting a bottle made up before you set off to save weight but what an energy delivery you’re in for! 

Science in Sport are known for putting considerable effort into creating excellent solutions to sports nutrition and their Beta Fuel is no exception. With light flavors and a 1:0.8 ratio of maltodextrin to fructose, these powders are easy on the palette and the stomach. 

SIS’s recommendation is to sip little and often during exercise with one sachet used per hour. We took these on a high intensity hill run which spanned munros and a lot of bog. Energy requirements were high and with a soft bottle filled with Beta Fuel, so were expectations. Thankfully these were met. There were no energy dips, just valleys and streams to navigate! 

Beta Fuel delivered when it mattered and the light subtle flavoring made it very drinkable. The texture was strange to get used to, denser than water but not syrupy. It’s on the pricey side but if you’re doing high-intensity prolonged exercise, Beta Fuel might be a go-to.

Ingredients: maltodextrin (from maize) (57%), fructose (42%), flavorings

Maurten Hydrogel Sports Fuel Drink Mix 160

(Image credit: Eilidh Moir)

Maurten Hydrogel Sports Fuel Drink Mix 160

Hydrogel technology to give smooth and effective carbohydrate delivery in one easy sachet

List price (per sachet): $2.70 (US) / £2.10 (UK) | Weight: 40g / 1.41oz | Flavors: Flavorless | Energy per sachet: 160kcal | Carbohydrates per sachet: 40g | Salt per sachet: 0.4g | Fat per sachet: 0g | Protein per sachet:: 0g

Easy-to-open sachet
Neutral taste
Not too sweet
Neutral flavor can take some getting used to

If you’ve seen anything of the running world over the last few years you’ll have no doubt heard of Maurten. A leading sports nutrition manufacturer, Maurten have developed hydrogel technology that suspends high amounts of carbohydrates. When mixed with water and ingested, the drink converts to hydrogel as it hits the stomach acid. This allows careful delivery of carbohydrates as the gel moves to the intestine for the water, salt and carbs to be absorbed. 

Easy on the stomach and neutral on the palate, it’s no wonder Maurten’s sports drinks have gained a world class reputation. Maurten’s products are on the pricey side but for good reason. Performance-driven and research-led technology doesn’t come cheap but the results speak for themselves. 

Maurten’s Drink Mix 160 contains just five ingredients. The younger sibling of the Drink Mix 320, the Drink Mix 160 is for shorter periods of exercise where hydration is forefront and energy close behind. Having said that, the 160 sachet contains 40g of carbohydrates. 

Maurten say to “stick with it” and we stand by that. It’s revolutionary in its use of hydrogel and has excellent results for a range of athletes across many sports. Try it, you might be surprised.

Ingredients: maltodextrin, fructose, pectin, sodium alginate, sodium chloride

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Best active nutrition
Nutrition productTypePriceWeightEnergyCarbohydrates
Torq Explore FlapjackBar$2.24 (US) / £1.85 (UK)65g / 2.29oz263kcal43g
Human FoodBar$5.21 (US) / £3.50 (UK)76g / 2.68oz309kcal18g
Maurten Solid C 225Bar$3 (US) / £2.50 (UK)60g / 2.11oz225kcal44g
Skratch Labs Anytime Energy BarBar$2.65 (US) / £2.50 (UK) 50g / 1.76oz220kcal32g
Science in Sport GO Energy BakeBar$1.93 (US) / £1.75 (UK) 50g / 1.76oz190kcal30g
Clif Bloks Energy ChewsSweets / chews$3.79 (US) / £2.20 (UK)60g / 2.11oz128kcal per 4 pieces32g per 4 peices
Skratch Labs Sport Energy ChewsSweets / chews$2.45 (US) / £2.50 (UK) 50g / 1.76oz70kcal18g
Torq Performance Energy ChewSweets / chews$3 (US) / £1.85 (UK)39g / 1.37oz128kcal30g
Active Root Sports DrinkDrink$1.49 (US) / £1.09 (UK)35g / 1.23oz133kcal33g
Mountain Fuel Xtreme Energy FuelDrink$1.49 (US) / £1.85 (UK)50g / 1.76oz179.5kcal39.75g
Tailwind Endurance FuelDrink$2.50 (US) / £1.90 (UK)54g / 2oz200kcal50g
Science in Sport Beta FuelDrink$3.64 (US) / £2.30 (UK)82g / 2.89oz320kcal80g
Maurten Hydrogel Sports Fuel Drink Mix 160Drink$2.70 (US) / £2.10 (UK)40g / 1.41oz160kcal40g

How to choose the best active nutrition for you

Torq flapjack

Yummy Torq flapjack (Image credit: Eilidh Moir)

Should I use bars, sweets/chews or drinks?

Deciding on the best active nutrition for you is down to how your body responds to exercise and nourishment. A quick rule of thumb is that drink mixes can keep you hydrated and act as a source of calories through carbohydrates; sweets and chews are there for an energy boost and to stabilize glycogen; and bars put something in your stomach while providing carbohydrates, salt and sometimes fat and protein. If you’re someone who feels hunger pangs while exercising, a bar or two might be a good addition.

Why use active nutrition and not regular food?

Regular food is also great while on the move but most active nutrition is carefully developed to determine how much energy is required to perform at your best. Because of this, most products contain what’s been scientifically proven to support the body while under stress from activity. Active nutrition therefore aims, by and large, to provide energy, replace lost nutrients and support recovery.

It helps support the body’s glucose levels, which when ingested as carbohydrates, is stored as glycogen in the muscles. The more you move, the more glycogen you’re using. Active nutrition products balance that glycogen, keeping your energy levels from bottoming out. Most active nutrition also sometimes contains salt, fats, protein and even vitamins and minerals which are vital to replenish during and after exercise.

Are active nutrition products something you endure rather than enjoy?

A lot of offerings on the active nutrition market are not only tasty but a pleasure to eat and drink. You’ve already got yourself out there, why not dig into a few treats to keep energy and morale where it should be? Bear in mind, though, that what works for one person might not for another. This means that anything new should ideally be tested in training, just in case it causes any issues.

Eilidh Moir

Eilidh Moir is a runner and outdoor enthusiast who lives in the North East of Scotland. Having taken up running at the gentle persuasion of good friends four years ago, Eilidh entered her first ultramarathon in 2019. Since then she has completed numerous ultras, adventure, hill and road races. Often found in the hills of Perthshire or the Angus Glens, Eilidh’s happy places are trails and mountains. Even better when her Golden Retriever comes along for the adventure.