Product review: Try Chips

Tim Schlitzer and Jerry Amabile never claimed to be fast athletes. In fact, during one trail race, the conditions and terrain got so difficult it took the two friends longer to complete the course than they normally would.

And as any triathlete or runner can attest, if you get to the finish line late, the pickings at the post-race food table may be slim. There were gels and energy bars and chocolate but the two were looking for some real food at that point — something not synthetic.

Thus began the idea that came to be Try Chips.

“We had been talking with lot of athletes who were having stomach problems,” Schlitzer said. “I grew up in a family with diabetes and didn’t want a lot of sugar. I was also trying to keep my weight down and didn’t want something with a lot of calories. Our goals were to make something with no processed sugar, light on the calories but would help you on the run or post run or pre run. And be something tasty.”

Originally, the friends, now business partners, saw their freeze-dried fruit mixture as a substitute for gels and bars. Eventually, they found their product worked in conjunction with those staples of the runner’s and triathlete’s diet. It became something to eat before or after a workout — particularly lighter workouts which didn’t require a huge refuel — something somewhat antithetical to getting fit and keeping one’s weight under control.

Runner’s World picked Clif as the best snack bar for runners,” Schlitzer said. “But a latte and a Clif Bar can be around 800 calories. That’s a whole lot of a calories. Clif Bars start at 230 calories and go up from there depending on the flavor. If I’m just going out o a 45 minute run, I don’t need 230 calories. That’s a little overkill.”

Ah, but Try Chips are not just for athletes. The company’s motto — “Waste nothing. Try everything.”  — is a call to people of all fitness levels to become active, to engage in life rather than sit on the sidelines. And if a tasty, healthy snack helps in that process, all the better.

Try Chips come in three flavors: Endeavor (apple, blueberry, mango and banana), Venture (apple, strawberry, peach and banana) and Aspire (apple, apricot, pineapple, banana and pomegranate). Each pouch is gluten free and 100 calories.

I’ve tried all three flavors in different environments — after a long workout, after a short workout and sitting at my desk during a long work day.

So at first I’m thinking, a 100-calorie snack pack? Doesn’t sound very filling.

Ah, but it takes a lot of freeze dried fruit to make 100 calories. The size seemed just about right. After my workouts, I enjoyed the sweetness. Combined with my usual chocolate milk for a long training day, the immediate post-workout snack refueled me nicely and held me over as I ice bathed, showered, changed and then went out for more carbs as per the need in my Iron Distance training.

At work, I enjoyed the mix of sweet and crunchy and appreciated the low-calorie count but filling snack since often I reach for food out of habit or frustration or to feed my brain while writing on deadline.

And I have to say, it’s very pleasant to have a post-workout snack that isn’t chocolate based. I mean, I love chocolate. Don’t get me wrong. But after ingesting gels and bars with a chocolate theme, having some variety helps not only the stomach but the palate as well.

To try your own Try Chips, visit their web store.

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