The Case for Homemade Fuel


We’re giving away a copy of Matt Kadey’s new book….Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports and Adventure.

Have a look at what Matt has to say about homemade fuel, and be sure to check out his recipe for Granola Bites.  Then leave a comment letting us know what you think about his thoughts and recipe.  Do this before Sunday, August 14….and you’re in to win.

The Case for Homemade Fuel

by Matt Kadey

Rocket Fuel by Matt Kadey

Rocket Fuel by Matt Kadey

If you watch the early parts of a Tour de France stage you will surely see some foil packets containing some sort of treat not created in a laboratory being pulled out of the feedbags. That’s because the best athletes in the world are now recognizing that great performances are best fueled with real food, not just packaged sports nutrition products. In my new cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports + Adventure, I present what I believe a rock-solid case for spending a bit of time in your kitchen to make your own ride fuel. And it’s a lot easier than you think. Here why it’s time to start keeping it real.

Better nutrition: When you’re DIY fuel includes items like nuts, dried fruits and whole grains, it offers up an added opportunity to take in a wider net of essential nutrients that active bodies need to perform their best. So anytime you have the chance to work such nutrient-dense foods into your pre-, during-, and post-workout nibbles consider it an investment to a better overall nutritional status.

Natural selection: In recent years, science is showing that regular foods ranging from raisins to cereal and milk can work just as good at boosting your rides and promoting optimal recovery as can engineered sports nutrition products. After all, Grand Tour athletes did not always have gels and neon sports drinks to get them up and over monumental summits.

Keeping it real: As a dietitian and cyclist, I’ve long committed to making my own pre-, during-, and post-workout snacks as an important step toward more mindful and cleaner eating. I will concede that there is now an increasing number of packaged sport nutrition items on the market that make use of wholesome ingredients, but it’s much easier to fill your body with recognizable ingredients if you also include some fuel from your own kitchen.

Hungry for more: Undeniably, relying too heavily on packaged energy foods can lead to palate fatigue and, in certain cases, serious gut rot. An underappreciated benefit of crafting some homemade performance food is that it can promote better fueling by making you actually want to eat the stuff—and leave your workouts seeming a little more gourmet. That’s why I always pack along some real-food goodies when I’m out for the long haul and make sure that I’ve got some sort of made with love item at home for when I hop off the saddle.

Budget control: The convenience of bars, chews and gels comes with a price tag. Although their use in moderation won’t break the bank, relying very heavily on store-bought packaged energy foods can put a serious dent in your budget for some new carbon. Making some of your own fuel can be a means to saving a bit of cash and still eating better than ever.

All fired up: Having a kitchen full of homemade fuel can have the positive side effect of encouraging you to jump on the bike with greater frequency. For example, I am always happy to work up a sweat instead of punching the computer keys if I’ve got a batch of these granola bites on hand that are ready to rev up a great ride.

This recipe is an excerpt from ROCKET FUEL: Power-Packed Food for Sports and Adventure by Matt Kadey, RD. There is a citation required to republish this recipe. Please see the “ROCKET FUEL required citation.txt” or request it from the book’s publisher VeloPress.

Granola Bites

Rocket Fuel by Matt Kadey

Rocket Fuel by Matt Kadey

Who says granola has to be served from a bowl? These little bundles of nutrients are an on-the-go way to carry your beloved hippie food. You will be perfectly happy getting lost in the woods or stuck on the steepest of inclines if you have these nearby.

Dairy-free, Freezer-friendly, Gluten-free, Vegan or Vegetarian

Servings: 12

Active time: 20 min.

You can also make these in regular-sized muffin cups for a more substantial postworkout nosh or a take-and-go breakfast option. Just increase cooking time by about 5 minutes.

  • 1½ cups quick-cook oats
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or almonds
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup honey or brown rice syrup
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, stir together oats, wheat germ, pecans or almonds, hemp seeds,

cranberries, apricots, coconut, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly beat egg and stir in honey or brown rice syrup and oil. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until everything is moist.

Divide mixture among 24 greased or paper-lined mini-muffin cups and make sure to pack it down tightly to help hold everything together. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Let cool several minutes before unmolding. Chill in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and transport in a small zip-top bag.

Game Changers: Use oats labeled “gluten-free” or replace oats with quinoa flakes, barley flakes, or spelt flakes + Use almond flour or ground flaxseed instead of wheat germ + Stir in sunflower seeds instead of hemp seeds + Swap out cranberries for dried cherries, chopped dried pineapple, or goji berries

Nutrition Data per Serving

  • Calories: 243
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Carbs: 32 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Sodium: 106 mg
Enjoy Your Ride
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3 Responses to “ The Case for Homemade Fuel ”

  1. suba suba on June 11, 2020 at 3:28 am

    Manningham, who went over the michael kors handbags.

  2. Ed on August 14, 2016 at 6:22 am

    These look great. Certainly easy enough and better than all the stuff out there with lots of additives that I can’t pronounce. I can’t wait to try them.

    • Darryl on August 18, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      Hi Ed, looks like you’re the lucky winner of the cookbook. Please send your contact information to [email protected] and we’ll get the book out to you.


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Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.


Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

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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

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