Energy gels are great. They provide quick energy in a easily digestible form, all in a nice little package. If you do endurance training they are your best friend at first. Then they kind of turn into that cousin that you really don’t like, but you have to see at family functions. Consuming too many gels will make you tire of the flavor, leave you a sticky mess, and make your stomach do back flips.
Below are five tasty alternatives to energy gels for long workouts.:
1. Black Strap Molasses – Molasses is the OG energy gel. For one serving, it has 80 calories, 21g of Carbohyrates, 10mg of sodium, and more potassium than five bananas. That’s a perfect mix of calories, carbs, and electrolytes, and it also tastes fantastic. Molasses can be kind of a mess to eat on the fly. It’s best to eat pre-workout, or bring it along in a flask. If you’re from the south you have probably sopped some molasses with a biscuit. That method is probably not practical or healthy during exercise.
2. Sweet Potato – I have to admit, I am a sweet potato addict. Sweet potatoes are delicious, and full of simple and complex carbs to fuel for workout. They’re also cheap and easy to prepare. Throw a couple in the oven the night before, cut into quarters length wise, lightly salt, and wrap in foil. Their messiness factor is low, and they are relatively easy to eat on the go.
3. Almond butter – If you like peanut, then you’ll love almond butter. Almond butter has all of that great nutty taste without the the bad omega 6s. It has 80 cals per serving and is lower in carbs and sugars than gels. If you are watching your carb intake this is a great choice. Look for small packets, like these from Justin’s. They are mess free, and super convenient.
4. Raisins (Dried Fruit) – I know this is an obvious one, but it has to be on the list. Raisins are easy to carry, keep for a long time, and full of unprocessed carbs. Raisins have saved me from a bonk in the middle of nowhere multiple times. If you are working on dropping some weight be careful with raisins and dried fruit. They are pretty much fruit candy, and it is easy to over indulge.
5. Rice Balls – Dr. Allen Lim made these popular by serving them to the Radio Shack riders during the Tour a few years ago. They are essentially sushi rice with other ingredients throw in. My favorite are the the Blueberry Chocolate variety. To prepare the rice balls you need to channel our inner baker and get in the kitchen. The extra effort is worth it. The rice balls are tasty, easy to carry and will keep for a few days refrigerated. If you want to be the most liked rider at you local ride, whip up a batch, and hand them out before the ride. The others riders will be so thankful, you won’t even have to pull through.
Recipe for Blueberry Chocolate Rice Cakes