As someone with a genuine gluten intolerance, I find it difficult to find suitable products to both provide fuel before a ride and during. The vast majority of energy bars contain wheat in some form or other, so they are out for me. While the gluten-free movement is gaining momentum, it is only the minority of manufacturers that avoid wheat.
So far, gluten free energy bars either taste bad, are expensive or difficult to get hold of. Sometimes all three. If I’m feeling lazy, I use Trek bars as they are gluten free and contain a decent mix of protein and carbohydrate. They are also available in the supermarket. When I’m not feeling lazy, I make my own.
I have two favourite recipes. One chocolate and the other apricot and cashew. I picked them up from the internet somewhere, so neither is my own creation. Both are easy to make, simple to prepare and store well. If you get the consistency right, they won’t fill your jersey pockets with crumbs either.
Chocolate cashew and almond energy bars
300g fresh dates, pitted and chopped
280g raw Cashew nuts
60g raw almonds
75g cocoa powder
40g shredded coconut
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. water
Add the dates, cashews, almonds, cocoa powder and a pinch of salt into a food processor and blitz until the mixture is well chopped. If you can’t find fresh dates, use dried ones and soak them in water for an hour or two.
Add the coconut, mix and then add the vanilla extract and a bit of water. Blitz again and add water gradually until everything is bound together like dough.
Put the mixture into a lined baking tray and press flat. Let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours until set and then cut to size. Alternatively, you can roll them into bitesize balls for easy eating on the bike.
They will last around a week in the fridge and can be frozen. Wrap them up in a kitchen towel or something so they don’t leak colour onto your jersey too!
Optional: You can also add whey protein powder for an extra kick. Just add more water to counteract the extra dry ingredient.
Apricot and cashew energy bars
160g dried apricots
60g raw cashews
75g shredded unsweetened coconut
50g rolled oats
2 tablespoons syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
Blitz the cashews, then add the apricots and blitz again. Then add everything else along with a pinch of salt and blitz until everything is combined into a moist dough-like consistency.
Press into a lined baking tray and freeze for an hour. Then cut into the size you need. That’s it!
You can swap hemp seeds for sunflower seeds, apricots for other dried fruit and play with this recipe as you see fit. Considering how easy it is to do, there’s no reason not to try it.
These will last up to a month in the fridge too or you can keep them in the freezer.
I use both of these recipes depending on my mood or what I have in the cupboard. Both are simple, cheap and easy to manage making them perfect ride food. Add in the fact they don’t contain any extra sugar, mystery ingredients and aren’t processed, there’s no reason not to love them!