Cheapest nonperishable training food per gram of carbohydrate?

Does anyone know what are cheapest nonperishable carbohydrates for eating on the trainer or on the bike, in terms of money per gram of carbohydrate?

Obviously staples like bananas, rice, bread, honey, syrup, oatmeal, and so on would be the cheapest, but they aren’t necessarily something that keeps particularly well or is well-suited for consumption on the trainer or bike.

I did the math on dates and dried figs from Amazon, drink powder, two brands of bars, and gels from Wiggle, and boxed energy cookies from the local drug store.

It turns out that the drink mix (slightly discounted) was bar far the cheapest, at only 90 cents per 100 g. The dates were the second cheaper, but were two or three times more expensive. Figs and cookies were three to for times higher. The gels, which were slightly discounted, were slightly more expensive than figs and cookies. The bars, which were heavily discounted, somehow managed to be up to twice as expensive as the gels.

…maybe I should just buy bananas and more drink powder.

Note to anyone thinking about buying dates; get seeded Medjool dates. Medjool is the biggest cultivar and is fairly soft, sweet, and moist. Unseeded dates are a pain.

Bulk maltodextrin powder may be cheaper? Can currently get in the UK at £7.88 for 5kg, I think that is 16p per 100g. It dissolves easily in water and for my last few rides I just had that with a bit of sea salt, nice faint sweetness.


I’m with you on the sea salt - I also have a dash of Ribena (blackcurrant) for a bit more flavour.

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Probably plain sugar.

More practical and fun are jelly sweets.


…not going to eat pure sucrose…

Where I am, Haribo is roughly the same price per grams carbohydrate as figs. Slightly more expensive than dates.

I keep a bulk box of generic/no-brand granola bars next to trainer, cheap, pretty tasty, and they last forever.

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Probably the absolute cheapest is discounted holiday candies right after the holiday. They basically give away jelly beans after easter, candy corn after halloween, etc. Not to say it’s the most efficient or best option, but they are crazy cheap and you can buy in bulk if you get to the shop at the right time


I dunno, the Skratch Labs mix is very popular (I really like it) and the first ingredient is sugar. It also contains dextrose but cane i.e. table sugar is the main ingredient.

Skratch Mix is definitely not cheap, not affordable for me anymore in the quantities I’d use. But I have found the Skratch blog/books great for learning and getting confident executing a DIY approach like what you’re going for, I would recommend those.

Getting a basic rice cooker really opens up the use of rice as bike food, I’d recommend that too. Again not cheap to start with but a worthwhile small investment and makes it simple to use huge bags of rice which really are cheap.


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Skratch mix is absurdly expensive for what it is. It would need to be less than half the MSRP for me to even consider it.


…why am I not going to literally pour granulated sugar straight into my mouth?

Didn’t think you need to be told to add water.

Each to their own. :+1:t2:


How many of those do you have to eat to get 100 g of carbs, and how much do those bars cost?
How does it compare in unit price to other sources?

It has already been established that liquid carbs are the cheapest. I was mostly discussing solid food.


Has to be bulk maltodextrin. Ridiculously cheap.

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Just saw you were looking for solids. Rice or potatoes maybe?

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before and after, sure, but not during… well, except for convenience store rice balls.

Why not? Pros eat rice and potatoes during rides. Allen Lim (of Skratch) has entire cookbooks on it. He used to feed Garmin/Radio Shack rice balls and boiled potatoes back in the day.

Bulk Maltodextrin + Fructose is super cheap. Rice cakes are another super inexpensive option as well.


Too lazy to do it for indoor training and the prevalence of vending machines and convenience stores here makes it largely unnecessary for long rides.