Chew/gel alternatives


I apologize if this meets a new level of frugality and ignorance but this seems like the place to ask.

I don’t love the texture of gels, but have had no issues with them and have also had no problems with the use of chews or bloks, I’ve also expierimented with all liquid nutrition (infinit) with again no major complaints (aside from cost/availability) What I’m curious about is though is what real food/“not produced for the endurance industry” options others have expierimented with.

While I was eating my kid’s Halloween candy (after they went to bed of course) I noticed that there was some fruit gummies that reminded me a lot of clif bloks. I tried to look up the differences nutritionally and couldn’t find much. Definitely more sodium/electrolytes is the bloks and seem ever so slightly more calorie dense, but is there any other differences I’m not noticing? Something about crushing a box of mike n Ike’s sounds awesome while I (hopefully) fly by the competition (thanks TR!)

I’ve use bars and bananas, etc on training rides and don’t typically have gut problems from anything, but have avoided “real food” options for racing (Olympic/70.3 tris) to avoid my gut doing too much work.

I know nutrition is a polarizing topic, but thought I would throw this out there. I’m going to expieriment with this anyway but wasn’t sure if there was something I would be missing (assuming I stayed on track calorie wise and got my electrolytes through fluids)



I regularly race powered by Jelly Babies :blush:


Dried, pitted dates!
Super tasty, and a healthy source of glucose and electrolytes.
*The right brands dont stick in your jersey either


So. Many. Sweetish. Fish. I go through bags of them every season.


Dried pineapple has worked nicely for me - soft/easy to chew, very sweet, and worth trying to make sure you don’t get any GI upset from it (I’ve been fine the few times I’ve eaten it on fast/long group rides.

I also really like baby food out of the squeeze packets! Much easier to take down than gels as they’re less dense, the only problem is the packages are a fair bit larger. They also taste great!


Baby boiled potatoes. Whole goodness and natural carbs.


I’ve had stomach problems on very long rides in the past, but bloks have always been good to me so I mostly stick with those. If you want something “real”, the classic option of a 1/2 PB&J has always treated me right and I’ve never had problems so long as I’m drinking enough water.


You could try ‘power balls’ -> you basically put:

  • dates
  • figs
  • cranberries
  • nuts
  • almonds
  • raisins
  • honey

in a blender and you mix it all together. You then form small balls and you can put some coconut powder around.


I buy the boxes of sesame snaps from Costco. Each package has 4 individual snaps with about 45 easily digestible calories per snap. You get 36 packages of snaps per box . A box costs $10 CDN at Costco. That’s $0.14 per 90 calories. You open one or two packages and put them loose in a zip lock bag for easy access during the ride.


Maple syrup is very similar to gels. Just buy a little flask, like hammer sells, and fill it up pre ride.


Or just buy some Untapped Maple packets! Also great to take with you when traveling so you don’t have to use that high fructose pancake syrup from the breakfast buffet. :slight_smile:


Or honey. I do honey in the little honey stinger refillable squeeze bottle.




I have no idea if there is a difference in practice, but in theory maple syrup is better than honey since honey is almost entirely fructose, which is metabolised differently than glucose or a disaccharide like cane sugar.

Those little Hammer bottles hold enough maple syrup to equal 300 calories, so three gels.


I actually do the honey stinger product, which is basically enriched honey. But as you said, no idea if it is any better or worse than anything else. It just tastes decent and doesn’t mess with my gut much.


Raisins are great but difficult to eat on the bike.

On last year’s Etape du Tour they had stroopwafels at the aid stations which went down really well.


Fig rolls. Nomnomnom.


Honey Stinger and Untapped make some modified versions of a stroopwafel.


Honey mixed with sea salt in a small squeeze bottle. Only need a tiny dash of salt.


So, I got out of this is use Swedish Fish :grinning: Curious about the original question too, and if the Clif Blocks are just ‘candy’. One of the Ask the Coach podcasts mentioned something about the HoneyStinger gels though, that they combine to different sugar types and are absorbed better, or similar. Not sure about other gels like the Clif Blocks…