Cycling Snacks: The 10 Best Snacks for a Long Bike RidePublished on 06/19/2023 · 5 min readCycling Expert Kayla Yuengling breaks down 10 *wheelie* good snacks for your next bike ride to stay strong and healthy.
Photo by Kayla Yuengling
Keeping up with your nutrition is vital for any sport. Especially cycling! Nutrition dictates a lot when riding from emotions to how well you perform that day in the saddle. That said, you sadly can’t have a full course meal during your ride. To make up for that depressing loss, we can eat snacks!
Full disclosure: I’m talking about snacks that might be in your pantry or others that are easy to cook. Gels and Isotonic Drink mixes didn’t make the list.
10. Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is underrated. It’s a protein-packed snack that offers fat and salts and gives you a little energy boost on your ride! It got us through the Stone Age, so why not through our ride? Jerky travels well and comes in a lot of flavors. You can even make your own beef jerky if you’re motivated enough. Don’t eat too much or your tummy will hurt!
Thin, crunchy slices of deep-fried potatoes come in many shapes and flavors! Chips (aka potato chips) are a great snack that can save your life on the bike. They've saved mine plenty of times. Fatty, Salty, Cheesy, Spicy—so many tastes to choose from! Every time you go out on a bike ride, carry a different flavor of chips along!
8. Granola Bars
Granola bars make great quick and efficient snacks that are easy to eat throughout your ride. Not to mention they give your tummy that happy sense of being full! With so many brands to choose from, it’s impossible to have a favorite bar.
I’m fond of Kind (Caramel Almond & Sea Salt), Sunbelt Bakery (Banana), Larabar (Pecan Pie or Pumpkin Pie), and Cascadian Farm (White Chocolate Chip). What about you? If you’re unhappy with your store brand granola bars, make your own! A really easy and yummy recipe from Allrecipes, Easy Granola Bars Recipe | Allrecipes. The sky’s the limit for options.
7. Mini Baked Potatoes
On long rides, I love to eat homemade mini baked potatoes. I like to use tri-colored potatoes because I think they taste better. But any mini-potatoes will work. I cut them in half, add them to a bowl, and sprinkle them with either olive or coconut oil. Add a pinch of flaky salt and bake them until lightly golden.
Remember to make them lightly golden—not crispy—so they don’t get soggy in your jersey pocket or bar bag. Once out of the oven, return them to the bowl for a second dash of oil and salt. Tada! You have exquisite and satisfying potatoes to eat on your next ride!
Throughout time, cyclists around the world have used bananas as a natural and convenient raw source of carbohydrates and potassium. It’s not only delicious and comes in its own convenient carrying case, it’s chocked full of natural remedies to help avoid and cure cramping both off and on the bike!
Never underestimate the power of PB&Js! Sandwiches help a lot on a ride, especially a long one. The bread contains carbohydrates. And whatever you add to your sandwich provides some type of proteins and fats. Together, it gives you plenty of energy to burn while riding!
4. Nut Mix
Nuts are a natural source of energy. If animals rely on them for fuel, why can’t we? There’s a cornucopia of nut mixes out there, you can’t go wrong! Packed with salts, fats, and protein, they give you what you need on a ride. Save some for any furry friends you encounter along the way!
3. Apple Sauce
I know what you’re thinking. What? Ew? No way? But how? Well, let me tell you about GoGo Squeez. It’s the best applesauce in an easy-to-carry pouch. Other brands make them as well, but GoGo Squeez offers other fruit flavors besides apple! They’ll get you through your ride, giving you a sweet taste and energy at the same time. A key tip: freeze them the night before so they stay cold on your ride!
2. Rice Cakes
Rice cakes are probably the number one snack in every pro cyclist's jersey pocket during training rides and races. They contain high amounts of fast-digesting carbohydrates and various other ingredients to transform them into whatever flavor you desire. A rice cake is technically a full course meal for any cyclist!
You can make them in any flavor you want, but you can also buy them from reputable brands like SkratchLabs which make the Sport Crispy Rice Cake. Their rice cakes aren’t sticky (good for keeping those handlebars clean!), but they are ridiculously delicious rice crispy treats. Find your favorite among three flavors—Chocolate & Mallow, Mallow, and Strawberry & Mallow.
SkratchLabs also publishes recipes on their website so people all over the world can see what they’re cooking up in the kitchen. They have both sweet and savory rice cake recipes along with other treats and meals. I do have to say that I’m not really a savory rice cake person, but to each their own! One of my favorite recipes from them though is their sweet Pumpkin Spice Rice Cakes.
1. Gummy Bears
Yes! We finally made it here. Who doesn’t like gummy bears? They’re a cycling community favorite, and I guarantee other sports communities love them too! They really revive you, especially if you bonk hard. Nothing’s better than enjoying a tiny animal figure in sweet or sour flavors that gives you a fast boost of energy and a carb surge!
That’s all, folks! It’s hard for some people to eat while riding, but it helps your body. You can always stop and eat all your snacks, but the bottom line is that you have to eat! Don’t ignore basic endurance nutrition if you want to avoid unforeseen problems. A common phrase in cycling is, “Eat before you’re hungry and drink before you’re thirsty”.
Don’t wait until you’re hungry or thirsty. Your body won’t turn last-minute fuel into energy quick enough to use it properly. In the end, enjoy your ride and your snacks. Don’t forget the gummy bears!