3 Homemade Recipes for Cyclists: Isotonic Drinks, Energy Gels and Bars

In this article we are going to show you 3 simple recipes to fuel your bike rides: First an isotonic drink, then some tasty energy gels, and we’ll finish up with no-bake energy bars. All three recipes contain easily available ingredients, and to make them you’ll only need: 1 juicer, 1 blender or food processor, aluminum foil, baking paper and some containers for the gels (we'll explain different options later). Let's get started: 

Isotonic drink

Ingredients for two 500 ml bottles:

  • 3 cups - 700 ml of water
  • 2 tablespoons - 40 g of honey (molasses, maple syrup, agave syrup)
  • ½ teaspoon - 3 g of salt
  • a pinch of pepper (not necessary, it’s up to your taste)
  • 1 cup - 230 ml of orange, lemon or lime juice. You can use just the orange juice with a dash of lemon or lime, as well as other kinds of fruit such as pineapple. Bottled natural juices are another option, ideally with no added sugar.

Preparation:

In a large pitcher or bowl (more than one liter capacity) add water, orange, lemon or lime juice, honey, salt and pepper, and mix it all using a blender until the honey is well integrated. Taste it and add more honey, salt or pepper for a sweet or savory touch. As long as the total amount is maintained, you can add water or juice to modify the flavor.

Once everything is mixed and to your liking, pour the mixture into two 500ml cycling water bottles and put them in the fridge if you are not going to use them immediately. Consume within 2-3 days.

Nutrition information:

By using honey and orange juice you’ll get 236 calories for the two bottles: 59.74 g of carbohydrates of which 54.74 g are sugars. 1.83 g of protein, 0.48 g of fat, 23 mg of potassium and 1181 mg of sodium. These amounts vary according to the amount of fruit juice and sweetener used.

Energy Gel

Ingredients to make approximately 250 grams of energy gel:

  • 4 pitted dates, approximately 40 g (you can also use grapes or prunes)
  • ½ cup - 170 g of honey (molasses, maple syrup, agave syrup)
  • juice from 1 lemon or lime (approximately 40 g of juice)
  • a pinch of salt

Preparation:

Soak the 4 dates (or grapes or prunes) for a couple of hours. If you want them to soften faster, you can soak them in hot water for 20-30 minutes. Once they’re soft, drain them well and add them to a pitcher along with honey, lemon or lime juice and salt. Whisk the whole mixture until it has the consistency of a smooth, slightly liquid puree. If it’s too thick, slowly add some water (watch out no to make it too liquid). 

Once the mash is ready, there are several options for carrying it in your jersey pockets:

  • Reusable snack bags for children. The same as the ones we find in supermarkets but in this case reusable. They come in different sizes and designs. Some models come with a funnel to help you pour the energy gel or mash into the bag.
  • Soft flasks. Soft and flexible bottles in smaller sizes of around 160-170 ml. 
  • The complete DIY option requires a food sealer and 150-170ml sealing bags. Once the energy gel is inside the bag, make a small cut in one corner (be careful not to cut the sealed area) to open it easily later on.

In any of the three options, we recommend placing the bag in a cup to easily pour the energy gel from the pitcher or with a spoon. A small funnel makes the process easier.

 You can experiment with the formula and replace the juice with coffee if you want a caffeine boost. Add other ingredients such as bananas, olive or coconut oil, cocoa powder, peanut butter. It's fun to try and experiment with different flavors and textures.

Nutrition information:

By using dates, honey and lemon juice for each 125 g energy gel you’ll get 311 calories: 86 g of carbohydrates of which 82 are sugars, 1 g of protein, 0 g of fat, 411 mg of potassium and 163 mg of sodium.

Energy bars

Ingredients to make 8-10 energy bars:

  • 1 and ¼ cup - 200 g dried figs, prunes or dates.
  • 1 cup - 125 g of raw or roasted unsalted nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, etc.)
  • ½ cup - 50 g of oat flakes
  • ¼ cup - 50 g of dark chocolate (optional)
  • a pinch of salt

Preparation:

First chop or crush the nuts as finely as you like. Set them aside. Put 200 grams of dried figs, prunes or dates in the blender or food processor. You can mix different nuts or use just one kind. You can also choose dried apricots or raisins. Add oat flakes and salt. Mash to a paste. If you see that the dough is too dry you can slowly stir in water until the consistency is soft, like plasticine. Add the nuts that you had set aside and grate the chocolate on top. Mix everything with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are perfectly combined.

Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll it out with a rolling pin to the thickness of about 3 centimeters. You can also put the dough in a tupper or a baking dish covered with baking paper, and use a piece of plastic wrap to stretch it with your hands.

Put the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Take it out and cut the energy bars to your liking. Wrap each bar in aluminum foil or cling film and store them in a tupper in the refrigerator. 

Nutrition information:

The amount of nutrients depends on the nuts, fruit or chocolate you use. With nuts, dried figs and 85% cocoa dark chocolate, each 40-gram bar has 185 calories: 18 g of carbohydrates of which 13 are sugars, 4 g of protein, 10 g of fat, 765 mg of potassium and 218 mg of sodium.


You can see that the 3 recipes are very simple, require similar ingredients and very little preparation, you don't even have to start a stove. Only the energy gels need bags to carry them in the jersey but they will help you save money and, above all, generate less waste from packaging. Besides, if you have children you can also use the bags for their purees or fruit smoothies.

In future posts we are going to share more recipes and nutritional tips for cyclists with you. Stay tuned!

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