Homemade Energy Food for Cycling

feed zone portables book

Homemade Energy Food for Cycling

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Many cyclists are used to fueling their rides with manufactured energy foods like Clif Bars, chewy sugar blocks and electrolyte drinks like Gatorade. Many cyclists are also familiar with nagging, uncomfortable stomach issues during long rides or workouts. But by using your own homemade energy food, you can start fueling and feeling great!

Try some of these recipes for homemade energy foods on your next long ride. We found four recipes that use every day, real food ingredients to deliver a tasty kick in a more palatable, tummy friendly way.

“Real food” ingredients have a higher moisture content than most manufactured “sports” foods. That means you won’t have to down a whole bottle of water after eating any of these, the way you would when fueling with commercial gels or bars. Whole foods absorb more quickly into your system and keep your stomach settled. Real food tastes better, digests quickly, and helps you perform at your best.


Chocolate & Sea Salt Bites


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This recipe is an adaptation from one of our favorite snack resources, the Feed Zone Portables Cookbook. This book is loaded with all portable food recipes for cyclists, runners, triathletes, mountain bikers, climbers, hikers, and backpackers. Each real food recipe is simple, delicious, easy to make—and ready to go on your next ride.

These bites taste similar to a Clif Bar, but the ingredients are gentle on your stomach. Rice and oats provide energy in the form of easily-digestible carbs, and bittersweet chocolate is tasty and full of antioxidants. Vanilla and sea salt round out this recipe for a satisfying treat on the bike.


  • 1 cup uncooked sticky rice
  • ½ cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bittersweet
    chocolate (chips or shaved)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash of sea salt


  • 2 tablespoons shaved bittersweet chocolate
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt


  1. Combine oats, rice, and water with a dash of salt in a rice cooker and cook. Let cool to the touch.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cooked rice and oats with the remaining ingredients.
  3. Stir to incorporate the flavor throughout the sticky mixture.
  4. Press into an airtight storage container or shape as individual bites. Sprinkle with chocolate and salt.
  5. To store, press the sticky mixture into a shallow airtight container and top with plastic wrap. Cut and wrap bites as you need them.
  6. To wrap, spoon a heaping tablespoon of the mixture on a small piece of plastic wrap. Press into a ball. Roll plastic wrap lengthwise and then twist the ends like a hard candy wrapper. These should be airtight and safe to keep in a jersey pocket.



Healthy Homemade “Gatorade”


skratch labs hydration mix

Our bodies require a certain balance of water and electrolytes to survive. Too much or too little of either and your body’s chemistry gets out of whack. When you are exercising, sweating more, throwing up, or have diarrhea, you are losing precious mineral balanced fluids from your body. Drinking too much water while dehydrated can cause you to over-water your system and dilute your electrolyte levels. Many people, including athletes, neglect consistent electrolyte replenishment and their muscles start cramping during exercise. You need to provide your body with a consistent and adequate supply of electrolytes to maintain specific bodily functions at optimal levels during and after physical activities. Cramping is your body’s way of letting you know that, in terms of electrolytes, it’s on empty. Read more in this blog about hydration.

On our bike tours, we offer Skratch Labs hydration mix (as well as anything else you request!) Skratch was created to replace the electrolytes lost in sweat using real fruit for flavor. This gives it a light taste to delight your taste buds without offending your belly.

Here’s how you can use your own ingredients to make an electrolyte-replacement drink at home.

This recipe uses citrus fruits, which are rich in electrolytes and antioxidants. The natural sugars in these fruit juices also help to maintain energy during a workout as well as to help speed up recovery afterward. Rich in vitamin C, citrus fruits also help to maintain the immune system and are great remedies for many cold and flu symptoms.

Raw honey and maple syrup are both unfiltered, natural sugars. Unlike the high fructose corn syrup in most electrolyte drinks, honey and maple syrup have natural enzymes and sugars that are easy to digest and keep your energy high during exercise. Honey can also help soothe a sore throat.

Sea salt, rich in several essential trace minerals (sodium, magnesium and potassium), is another key ingredient. Salt plays an important role of balancing the stress hormones during exercise. It also reduces adrenaline levels and supports overall metabolic health. It’s important to use real salt, not table salt! Table salt has been processed and stripped of trace nutrients.

Coconut water is extremely high in potassium, one of the main electrolytes that your body needs to prevent cramping. With 13 times more potassium than Gatorade, twice the sodium, and about half the sugar, coconut water itself is a fantastic natural alternative to commercial sports drinks.

Try this recipe for a lemon-lime drink on your next ride:

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup raw unfiltered honey or maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. real salt

Or if you’re feeling tropical, try this limey-coconut concoction:

  • 3 cups coconut water
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. raw unfiltered honey or maple syrup  (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

Directions: Mix ingredients together until salt and honey or syrup are completely dissolved, and store in the fridge when you’re not enjoying it! Drink during illness, during and after sports, or any other time electrolytes need to be replenished.


Tart Cherry Chews


Chews are easy to eat on the go and provide a quick source of carbohydrates. But the conventional kind you can buy in the store can be a gut bomb if you don’t consume enough water with your chews.

This recipe uses two nutritional powerhouses: tart cherry juice and grassfed beef gelatin. Tart cherry juice has been show to reduce joint pain and inflammation in athletes. Gelatin offers a variety of health benefits, including maintaining healthy joints and muscles. Gelatin, the cooked form of collagen, is full of amino acids that can help strengthen teeth and hair, smooth out wrinkles, give your skin a healthy glow and aid in muscle recovery.


  • 3 tablespoons gelatin
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup tart cherry juice
  • 1/3 cup raw coconut sugar


  1. In a small microwaveable bowl, whisk together the water and gelatin. Set aside.
  2. Combine cherry juice and sweetener in a medium saucepan.
  3. Microwave the gelatin mixture for 15 seconds, then add it to the saucepan with the cherry juice.
  4. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, whisking frequently, until hot but not quite simmering. The sweetener will be completely dissolved and the consistency will be liquidy.
  5. Pour mixture into an 8″ x 8″ pan. Refrigerate overnight.
  6. When ready to eat gummies, run a knife around the edge of the square and remove the gummies with an offset spatula or your fingers. Cut into 30 cubes with a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.


An Easy Classic: PB & J Bites


If you don’t have the time to make a fancy snack, just try out mini sandwich bites! Use your favorite all-natural nut butter. Stick with the kind that separates on the shelf – that means it doesn’t have any hydrogenated oils or added preservatives.

Use full-fat nut butter, because the fat in peanuts is the heart-healthy, monounsaturated type. Natural peanut butters are made with just peanuts and salt. Conventional types like Jif have extra ingredients like corn syrup solids, sugar and starchy fillers. You can make your own healthy—and natural—peanut butter in a food processor at home. And, many stores now have a peanut butter machine already filled with peanuts you can grind yourself into peanut butter.

To make mini sandwiches, make a PB & J sandwich (with organic jam using fruit sugars) and cut it into quarters. Wrap each quarter tightly in aluminum foil to keep the jam from oozing into your pockets.


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Wilderness Voyageurs operates Inn-to-Inn Bicycle Vacations

All Wilderness Voyageurs tours are fully supported with a SAG vehicle and include beautiful routes through stunning landscapes, excellent food and accommodations, top rate equipment, dedicated and enthusiastic guides.

Give our wonderful reservation staff a call to book your next bike tour vacation. (800) 272 – 4141