Fuel your ride as nature intended
Many big-name products are little more than overpriced sugar bombs bulked out with cheap, processed fillers. Homemade energy is the way to go.
Homemade energy drink
Make your own cranberry, maple and star anise sports drink.
Plenty of energy drinks come chock full of artificial colours, flavours and preservatives, so making your own is an easy way to cut out the crap, and you’ll save money too. This maple syrup-based energy drink provides sugars that are easily absorbed by your muscles as well as electrolytes to replace those you sweat out.
Ingredients (makes eight portions):
750ml cranberry juice (100% juice)
3ml (1/2tsp) salt
30ml (2tbsp) maple syrup
1 star anise
Mix together all the ingredients and leave to infuse in the fridge for 15 minutes.
0 g protein
0 g fat
30 g carbohydrates
DIY energy bar
Nothing beats an energy bar when fatigue starts to take its toll and the legs turn to lead.
The solution? Make your own. A homemade energy bar wins on all counts: it’s tastier, healthier, fresher and a whole lot cheaper. Forget those overhyped fructose/glucose ratios, dried fruit and honey will provide all the sugar your muscles need, while nothing beats plain old oats for a sustained energy release.
Add nuts and seeds for crunchiness, bind the mix with an egg or two for added protein and you’ve got all bases covered… if you can make them last until your ride, that is.
Flapjack-style mega seeds monster bar
A flapjack-style energy bar will provide you with a perfect mix of long and short chain carbohydrates to give you a sustained energy boost. Here’s our very own kitchen creation:
- 100g coconut oil
- 100g honey
- 200g oats
- 150g finely chopped dates
- 50g crushed, toasted almonds
- 45g cranberries
- 40g pumpkin seeds
- 25g flax seeds
- Melt the oil and honey together in a saucepan.
- Stir in the rest of the ingredients and mix together thoroughly.
- Transfer mixture to an 8in lined baking tray and press down until firm.
- Transfer to preheated oven and bake at 150°C for 25 minutes.
- Let the mix cool then cut into slices.
For the ultimate in simplicity, make a raw energy bar using this formula: 1/3 dates (Medjool dates work best), 1/3 dried fruit, 1/3 nuts/seeds. Mix thoroughly in a food processor, press firmly into a baking tray, refrigerate and cut into slices.
The key ingredients
Almonds: Rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, and also contain heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats.
Coconut Oil: Contains medium chain fats that are rapidly converted into energy, much like carbs.
Cranberries: Contain anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and vitamin C so are ideal for offsetting exercise-induced muscle damage.
Dates: Their stickiness helps bind the other ingredients while their simple sugars give you an immediate performance boost.
Flax Seeds: Flax seeds are a great source of the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which protects blood vessels from inflammatory damage.
Honey has a lower glycaemic index than refined sugar, meaning it raises blood glucose more slowly making it perfect for an energy bar.
Oats: There’s a reason porridge is a classic cycling breakfast: oats are the perfect slow-release fuel for your ride.
Pumpkin Seeds: High zinc content is good news for avoiding infections after a hard ride as this mineral is crucial to healthy immune function.