Gluten Free, Dairy Free Cyclists


What’s the best pre-race meal for gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar conscious athletes? Also, what’s the best endurance food (on the bike) for same athlete?

Kelli’s Answer:

Hi Shelly, thanks so much for your question!  Here’s some good pre-training, during training, and recovery foods (all gluten-free, dairy-free, and utilizing different sugars appropriately) – pick what you like!  Then, use what works best for you as pre-race – you never want to do anything new on race day… Pre-training (These are great ~30 minutes out assuming you’ve been eating normally earlier in the day.  If training is first thing in the morning, these can be consumed 15-30 minutes out.  If it’s first thing and long or intense, you can combine 2-3 of these choices and eat 30-60 minutes out.):
  1. 4 oz. juice mixed w/ 4-8 ounces water + ½ med small banana (95 calories, 25 gm carbs, 2 gm fiber, 0 gm protein)
  2. 6 oz. juice mixed with 4 oz. water (90 calories, 22 gm carbs, 0 gm fiber, 0 gm protein)
  3. 1 slice gluten-free toast (2 grams fiber or less) +1 tablespoons honey + 8 ounces water (130 calories, 30 gm carbs, 1 gm fiber, 3 gm protein)
  4. ½ LARA bar + 1 Tbsp honey (140-150 calories, 25 gm carbs, 4 gm protein)
  5. 1  Clif C bar + 8 ounces water (130 calories, 23 gm carbs, 4 gm fiber, 3 gm protein) (can look at label of other types of Clif bar as normal ones have oats…depends on how sensitive you are to gluten)
  6. Smoothie made of 2 oz.  yogurt (soy or coconut is fine), ½ small banana, ½ cup frozen berries, ice + water needed for desired consistency (130 calories, 28 gm carbs, 3 gm fiber, 2 gm protein)
  7. ½ organic gluten-free fruit bar or 2 organic fig cookies +  8 oz. water (100-120 calories, 20-30 gm carbs, 1 gm fiber,  1 gm protein)
During Training (per hour): 16-24 oz. sports drink or Kelli’s homebrew + (choose 1)

  1. 1 packet Hammer sports gel, Powerbar Gel, GU Energy Gel or other gels w/ >=25 gm carbs
  2. 1/2 Clif Bar (look at label – some Clif bars are completely gluten/dairy free)
  3. 1 packet Sports Beans
  4. 1 Honey Stinger honey or 5 Honey Stinger Energy Chews (typically contain some whey protein and milk fat, but no casein)
  5. 2 organic gluten-free Fig Newtons
  6. 1/4 cup raisins


16-32 ounces fluid per hour of workout + 1 Tbsp organic virgin coconut oil +

(one of the following):

  1. 12 oz. Chocolate milk made w/ 12 oz. soy milk and 2 Tbsp chocolate syrup (235 calories, 48 gms CHO, 12 gms pro)
  2. ½ Odwalla Power SoyProtein Drinks + 2 Tbsp nuts (265 calories, 24 gm CHO, 14 gm protein)
  3. 1 LARA Bar (220 calories, 23 gm carbs, 7 gm protein)
  4. Smoothie with 4 oz. coconut or soy yogurt, fruit, coconut, or almond milk and 1 scoop whey protein (if acceptable) or pea protein (225 kcals, 23 gms CHO, 15 gms protein)
  5. Sandwich w/ 1 slice gluten-free bread, 1 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 Tbsp honey (240 kcals, 32 gms CHO, 5 gms protein)
  6. Clif Bar (240 kcals, 47 gms CHO, 12 gms pro) (look at label – some Clif bars are completely gluten/dairy free)
  7. 3 scoops Recoverite in 12-18 oz water (255 calories, 48 gm CHO, 0 gm fiber, 15 gm protein)
  8. 1.5 scoops of Endurox R4 Recovery Drink with a 16.9 oz bottled water (200 calories, 39 gm CHO, 10 gm pro)

I hope this helps!

Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to


  • Weiland

    Clif C bars are not certified gluten free as they are made in a facility that also contains wheat. I suspect all Clif bars have this asterisk and if you are indeed gluten sensitive you might want to skip these.

  • Julie

    Watch out how much soy you intake.  2-3 serving a day for several years led me to loss of voice due to thyroid problems.   I now only have it once a week.