A Healthier Energy Gel “GU”
Move over energy gels—you’ve met your match with chia seeds. Chia seeds are known for their unique ability to form a gel-like substance when mixed with liquid. As stated in my post about the health benefits of chia seeds, they absorb 10x their weight in liquid! Traditionally, Aztecs were said to have consumed beverages made from chia before they went on long endurance runs. The ability to absorb water kept the runners hydrated and the energy gel formed in the stomach slowed the rate of digestion, yielding a steady supply of energy. Not to mention the protein, calcium and other nutrients these tiny seeds pack.
These little gems make the ideal fuel for endurance workouts. Commercially sold energy gels/gu can get pretty pricey. Make your own for a fraction of the cost with all-natural ingredients.
Tart Cherry Chia Energy Gel
This recipe is provided by Ryan Bagget, Registered Dietitian at i.run.on.nutrition.com
Servings: 5 (slightly less than 1/4 cup each)
1/2 cup frozen tart cherries
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp honey
- In a blender or food processor, blend cherries and orange juice. Add in chia seeds and salt. (It will be slightly foamy on top)
- Let chia mixture sit for 5 minutes, then give a good stir. Let sit for another 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.
- Add honey and thoroughly combine (it should be really thick). Pour slightly less than 1/4 cup of gel into 5 individual snack size plastic baggies.
- Freeze until the night before a run. Place in fridge to thaw.
Nutrition info per servings: 104 calories, 2 g fat (0 g sat fat), 1.5 g pro, 24 g carb, potassium 55 mg, sodium 60 mg
Grab a bag of energy gel 30- min before your run, or pack them with you just like you would a traditional energy gel. To consume, poke a whole in the corner of your bag and slurp the energy gel as you run!