Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fit-Fuel: Ensure Taste Test

I used to be a peanut-butter-on-toast girl before marathons, halves and tris, but since September I've been drinking one or two 250 calorie bottles of Ensure (depending on the length of my run) before I head out, and I'm hooked on the stuff. Ensure is my secret nutrition weapon when I'm in training.

Yes, you read that right! This is the stuff that elderly folks drink in commercials. But here's a secret: It's an awesome pre-race meal for athletes looking for the perfect mix of carbs/protein/fat, sans GI issues. Knock on wood...it's never given me tummy troubles and it fends off hunger pains like a champ. In fact, I've become so hooked on the stuff that I've now given half a dozen flavors a try. I've scribbled some tasting notes below. Cheers!


Creamy Milk Chocolate This is the first flavor I tried and I wasn't expecting much. (Imagine a kid holding his noise while eating a forkful of peas, that's about what I looked lik.) So I was very pleasantly surprised by the smooth and light consistency and the delish chocolate-milk flavor. Okay, it's not as amazing as a Potbelly milkshake, but it's really good. One caveat: I've gotten a few skunk bottles that have an odd, subtle metallic flavor.

Strawberries & Cream
I like this one a lot, too. It's a good, fruity option—something I really like in the morning sometimes. You'll notice a slightly chemical-y flavor that's definitely not "fresh from the farm stand" but that said, it's a winner.

Butter Pecan
I'm not a huge pecan person (unless it's a Thanksgiving pie), but I found myself without another option on one drugstore run, which is how this flavor made it into my fridge. I don't recommend it: It's icky sweet and leaves a filmy aftertaste.

Coffee Latte
Mmm, tasty. You can almost pretend you're sipping on a Starbucks frappucinno when you drink one of these. The flavor veers more coffee than it does latte, which always makes me sip some water as a chaser. And unlike Chocolate and Strawberry, I wouldn't want to pound two of these in a row or drink one on a hot day. It's a little too sweet for some situations.

Banana Cream This flavor is part of a new High Protein line of Ensures. (The company recently added a Plus line with 350 calorie shakes, as well a 350-calorie ImmunBalance line that's souped up with antixodiants and probiotics, and finally a Calcium line for folks looking to bank half their calcium needs with a few chugs.) I purchased a six-pack thinking I could down one of these suckers post-workout as a recovery drink. (Protein helps beat up muscles recover faster.) But I wasn't impressed with the chalky, uber-chemical taste. I looove bananas, and this didn't do it for me. Manipulating the formula to up the protein content seems to have messed up the flavor.

Vanilla
I adore vanilla ice cream and I recently developed an affinity for Vanilla Bean–flavored GU, so I had high hopes. But again, this was a high-protein version, and I think that killed its potential. The flavor is flat and bland...you'd want to add a shake of cinnamon or nutmeg to make this drinkable. Photo grabbed from XXVIII on Flickr.com. Posted by Liz

6 comments:

  1. Hahahaha, awesome. I'm totally going to try the chocolate and coffee latte!

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  2. i love this! if you need any before race day i have two chocolates in my fridge :)

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