When something gets named as the “official protein drink of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games,” we take notice. Not only because we’re full-on obsessed with the Olympics but also because, well, that’s a pretty big title. Olympic athletes do amazing things, and they need some pretty powerful fuel. So Core Power? Well, we had to try it. And the company happily sent us the Banana, Strawberry Banana Light and Chocolate Light to sip on.
I’m not exactly sure how they did it (besides something about cool new methods of filtration they’ve discovered), but these drinks have a base of real milk yet are lactose-free. They’re low-fat, full of calcium and have an ideal portion-to-carb ratio that’s awesome for athletes, especially after a workout when muscles are ripe for boosting recovery.
Note that I said awesome for athletes. The Banana (non-light) we tried has 240 calories, 25 grams of sugar (from honey and banana) and 26 grams of protein per one-serving bottle. The light Strawberry Banana and Chocolate each have 150 calories, 11 grams of sugar and 20 grams of protein per bottle. The light versions are sweetened with monk fruit and stevia (along with some fruit for the Strawberry Banana). All three of them have a pretty clean ingredient list (no gluten-containing ingredients and no fake colors) and boast 50 to 70 percent calcium.
And they taste good, too. Best when chilled, the Banana tasted more real banana than Banana Runts, the Strawberry Banana tasted like a mild milkshake, and the Chocolate was probably my favorite with a slightly melted Frosty taste to it. The Banana was sweet without being overly sweet, and the two Light versions had only a very, very mild stevia aftertaste.
While the Banana is clearly intended for those training hard-core, the Light versions are better suited to the everyday exerciser. And although we’d still prefer a whole-food snack any day of the week, these are pretty good for on the go. They don’t have to be refrigerated, which is nice, and they taste a lot better than a lot of the protein drinks on the market (no chalkiness). Plus, you know, there’s that whole Olympic tie-in thing that is just fun this time of year.
Do you ever reach for protein drinks? Or do you stick to making your own smoothies and post-workout snacks (like some of these Olympians do)? —Jenn