Nutrition for hot days

I did a long mountain bike ride last weekend on an unseasonably warm day (95 F / 35 C, no shade) and found both my Clif Bars and Gu gels to be very unappealing towards the end of the ride. Both of those are normally fine for cooler rides.

Anyone have any suggestions for snacks that are still appealing after a few hours in the heat? Hydration isn’t a problem. (I was surprised to see some other riders with only a single bottle though. That wouldn’t get me very far.)

People’s palettes can definitely shift in warmer weather…it realy requires some experimentation to see what works for you. Sometimes it is a flavor thing, other times it is a consistency thing.

re: flavors, some that taste great when cooler taste like dog poop when warm. I can’t stand chocolate flavored gels when they are warm but can down fruitier flavors just fine when warm. Others have the reverse.

as for consistency, I really prefer thinner gels, especially when warmer. Look into the Untapped maple syrups as an option or the PowerBar gels, both of which have a very thin consistency.

If you don’t already add some sort of mix to your water, I recommend that as an easy way to get calories on a hot day. I like the Skratch Labs hydration mix since it’s pretty mild and very tolerable, but it’s sugar content isn’t meant to replace food entirely. They also make a “superfuel” mix that is meant to replace food entirely when you can’t stomach eating food for big days out. I haven’t tried that though.

In terms of food, I’m a big fan of Welch’s Fruit Snacks. Much cheaper than “sport food.” Less packaging for the amount of food if you get the big package. Easy to eat and has a great (alarming really) sugar content. Looking at the nutritional label made me never want to give it to children, but it’s great if you want calories on a big ride.

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I usually go for lightly flavored sweet things. and some salty things as I’ll really crave that later in the ride. Some favorites:

Skratch Labs in the bottle, I like Strawberry Lemonade.

Lemon poppyseed bobo oat bar

Rice krispy treat

Oatmeal cream pie from local bakery (softens up in the sun and is very delicious)

gummy bears


salt & vinegar chips

Peanut butter m&m’s (pretty salty)

My wife is a fan of the pineapple Gu gel.

Eating is one of my favorite parts of a long bike ride!

I live in a climate where, during summer, a mild day is 32 deg Celsius. We often ride in temps above 36, and it makes nutrition a challenge.

As other folks have mentioned, “liquid nutrition” has become my go-to…it seems to both quench my thirst (using well-insulated bottles) and provides some easy and accessible calories.

Additionally, I have started experiencing with making my own nutritional suppliments…as you mentioned, the appeal of certain gels and/or bars are almost non-existent when temps are high. To get beyond this, I’ve started making bars from scratch. In doing so, I know they will be palatable and it gives me space to test out what works/doesn’t work over time. It’s definitely trial and error, but I’ve found this approach to be pretty successful for my own subjective needs :slight_smile:

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I often pack a half a PB&J sandwich on longer rides in the summer for a bit of variety. Also rice bars are easy to make and can be made sweet or savory as desired.

I quite like savory flavours, they seem to survive heat better.

Peanut butter stuff is always palatable regardless of temperature. But that could just be me loving pb!

Gummi bears, ginger biscuits, flapjack, and dried fruit are my go-tos. But then I’m an unfussy eater at the best of times, and get ravenous after 3+ hrs on the bike. The only thing I don’t like is when bananas go mulchy after being in a hot back pocket for a few hours.

OT: I’ve always wondered if Domane owners ever stick a few ice cubes in their down tube compartment for precisely this eventuality :slight_smile:

I’m not sure which Gu gels you’re carrying, but there’s a difference between their regular energy gels and their “Roctane” with more electrolytes. I’m reminded of a particular hydrating sports drink that pretty much says: “drink until it tastes salty.” In other words, pack salty snacks, or at least electrolyte replacement snacks/drinks, since that’s what your body is craving.

Thanks for all these suggestions! Fruity flavors do sound more appealing, so I’ll experiment with some of those. I think I should start talking electrolyte drinks as well. I was fine with pretzels, once I got past the initial explosion of dryness in my mouth. :grinning:

I like the idea of homemade bars and heels but I don’t think I go through enough to finish a batch promptly.

I discovered peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets recently.

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