Alternatives to Gatorade Energy Chews

SO MANY athletes and parents of athletes ask me about Gatorade Energy Chews. 

Below are several reasons to consider another option.

On a regular basis, the best snacks for athletes are the ones with the fewest ingredients and highest nutritional value. (Gatorade Chews pack in 14 ingredients.) It is important to be aware of what we are eating and why.  Consuming carbohydrates helps to replenish the glycogen (stored energy) in our muscles.

Gatorade Chews work well for ultra-endurance type sports competitions because they are small, travel easily, and can be consumed on the run. For a young athlete with events under 20 minutes, and usually much less, there are better options. 

I suggest experimenting with whole foods for overall excellent nutritional benefits and optimal performance. 

With the options below, athletes can meet energy requirements and gain the additional benefits from phytonutrients, (which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties) vitamins, and minerals which also aid in recovery.


The best time to try out performance snacks is before and during practice, several days or weeks before a meet. Make sure your choices work well with your digestive system, which can take several days to adjust. If you already have a system in place that works, stick to it and only try new items one at a time.

If you like the chewy substance of Gatorade chews, but are seeking a more nutritious option, fruit leathers are a good choice and offer 12 grams of carbs without added sugar.  

Applesauce is often easier to digest than a whole apple and will give you 14 grams of carbs. 

Freeze dried fruits are also good options, especially if you like tart flavors.  These offer 30 grams of carbs without added sugar.

Fresh fruit is easy to munch on and provides some extra hydration benefits.  A cup of fresh watermelon gives you 12 grams and pineapple is closer to 22 grams of carbs.  

Berries (14 grams/cup) and kiwi (10 grams of carbs)! 

Timing is everything.  

When possible, ingest your meet snacks about 30 minutes-1 hour before each event.  Again, practice this timing during your workout sessions rather than at meets.  

Remember to hydrate. A sports drink can help meet your carbohydrate requirements, especially if you have trouble eating due to nerves.  Small sips are best and be sure to allow time for restroom breaks.  

Your snacking success at meets is often dependent on your caloric intake throughout the day and even the week leading up to the meet. Therefore, it's extremely important to maintain proper caloric and carbohydrate intake each day to ensure adequate glycogen maintenance and replenishment.  

Let me know if you have any questions!
~Coach Marli