Combine common, easy-to-digest carbohydrates with a small amount of salt to replenish energy and sodium during your workout. Just 1/12 (.5 grams, or just less than half of a 1/4 teaspoon) teaspoon of salt adds 200 milligrams of sodium making these at-home snacks just as effective, if not more so, as the ones you buy at the store. Here are 10 workout foods that may already be in your kitchen.
Dates and Mango Strips1 of 11
Place 4 to 5 large dates or mango strips in a small baggie. Add 1/12-teaspoon salt to make the perfect workout food with 30 grams carbohydrates and 200 milligrams sodium.
Rice2 of 11
Rice is a concentrated source of carbohydrates; just 2/3 cup cooked rice provides 30 grams carbohydrates. Add 1/12-teaspoon salt, smash into tight balls, and take a few with you in a zip top bag. These savory rice balls provide 30 grams carbohydrates and 200 milligrams sodium. As an alternative, you can add 1/2-teaspoon liquid aminos or soy sauce.
Juice and Water3 of 11
This isn't a food, but it's still an easy and refreshing drink option for short training sessions, no more than two hours. Pour 10 to 12 ounces of 100 percent juice or organic lemonade in a bottle, add the same amount of water and 1/8-teaspoon salt. This drink provides 45 grams carbohydrates and up to 300 milligrams sodium.
Note: The fruit juice has quite a bit of fructose, anywhere from a 2:1 to a 1:1 fructose:glucose ratio, which isn't optimal for long sessions, and may even cause stomach issues in some athletes. However, the added salt makes it safe and effective for short training workouts.
Licorice4 of 11
Salted licorice is a great anti-nausea fuel choice. Add 1/12-teaspoon salt to 10 pieces of all-natural licorice for 25 to 30 grams carbohydrates and 200 milligrams sodium per serving.
LARA Bars5 of 11
Photo from LARABAR.com
Remove packaging and add 1/12-teaspoon salt across the length of the bar. Fold bar over itself. Store in a baggie and consume when needed for 23 to 30 grams carbohydrates, 4 to 8 grams protein, and 200 to 250 milligrams sodium.
Sweet Potatoes6 of 11
Just 1 cup of mashed sweet potatoes with 1/12-teaspoon salt will provide 30 grams carbohydrates and 200 milligrams sodium. Place the snack in a small baggie, seal it and, squeeze the mash out like a gel during your workout.
Fruit Strips7 of 11
Cut the strip in half, width-wise. Add 1/12-teaspoon salt and top with the other cut piece to make a fruit strip and salt sandwich that has up to 25 grams carbohydrates and 200 milligrams sodium.
Natural Fig Newtons8 of 11
Add 1/12-teaspoon salt to two Fig Newtons for a workout snack with 20 to 25 grams carbohydrates and 200 milligrams sodium. The only drawback is that these can feel a bit dry in your mouth, so make sure you have fluids handy as well.
Honey9 of 11
This is the original workout food. Add salt and a bit of water to make it a complete training fuel. Place 2 tablespoons honey in a gel flask along with a teaspoon of water—this makes it easy-to-squeeze—and 1/12-teaspoon salt for 30 grams carbohydrates and 200 milligrams sodium with each 2-tablespoon squeeze.
Coconut Water10 of 11
You can consider coconut water liquid workout food because it provides all the same necessary nutrients—carbohydrates, sodium and potassium. Naturally flavored (100 percent fruit juice or fruit puree) varieties provide extra carbohydrates and a great taste. Pour 16 ounces fruit-flavored coconut water such as Vita Coco with peach and mango in your water bottle. Fill to the top with water and add 1/12-teaspoon salt. This provides 30 grams carbohydrates, 290 milligrams sodium and 920 milligrams potassium per bottle.