Here are nine everyday items you can find in any supermarket to fuel your mountain bike ride and recovery.
Almost entirely made of sugar, red frogs and other jelly-type sweets will act in a similar way to gels but taste a lot better than most! The only difference here is that gels will often contain a mix of fructose and glucose to help with absorption and tolerance. As frogs are only made with glucose, you won’t be able to eat as much carbohydrate from them as you would with a gel - counteract this by mixing up the types of foods you’re eating and drinking.
This one requires a little preparation but making rice “bars” is an excellent option for the jersey pocket. You can make them sweet or savoury to give your taste buds a break on a long ride, and often recipes are gluten free for those who need it. Flavours like bacon and egg, chocolate or blueberry are popular options. The best recipe is from Allen Lim of Skratch Labs, a professional cycling team coach and chef (just search for his rice cake recipe online).
If you don’t tolerate sports drinks well then coconut water may be an alternative option for you. Be aware though that it’s lower in carbohydrate and sodium so it may take a little playing with to see if it works for you. After a ride, coconut water can be a good option for rehydration with a less sweet flavour than other sports drinks.
Very similar to sports drinks, your traditional rehydration sachet like Hydralyte will work just as well. They usually also have less added flavours which is why they don’t taste as good, but if you can manage them, go for it.
Make your own sports drink
There are lots of different recipes available for making your own sports drink. They will be made of some form of carbohydrate (like fruit juice, sugar, maple syrup), fluid and salt and are a simple and cost-effective way to mix up your sports nutrition arsenal. You’ll just need to try a variety to find a recipe that works for you.
Studies have shown chocolate milk to be a really good recovery food. The liquid, in combination with electrolytes like sodium and potassium, help to replace fluids lost during your ride and the mix of carbohydrate and protein is perfect for replenishing energy stores and mending damaged muscles. Other great recovery options include a bowl of cereal, a sandwich with some sort of protein or some eggs on toast with some extra water for fluids.