Should You Eat Rice Krispies Treats Before a Workout?

Rice Krispies Treats contain simple carbohydrates, which are an optimal source of pre-workout fuel.

Need a boost before you start your exercise routine? Leave it to TikTok to recommend your next pre-workout snack. Users on the app are eating a Rice Krispies Treat before getting their sweat on.

Here's the gist: Caroline Klinger, MS, RD, a sports dietitian who dueted the original TikTok, said cereal in general is a great source of exercise fuel—the simple carbohydrates hit the bloodstream fast, providing an instant energy boost for a workout.

Because not everyone can tolerate milk, Klinger suggested a Rice Krispies Treat as a better option than a bowl of cereal.

In this case, TikTokers may actually be right—but like every trend or claim, this one too comes with some caveats. Here's what you need to know about fueling up with a Rice Krispies Treat before a workout.

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Rice Krispies Treat as Pre-Workout Fuel

The short answer: A Rice Krispies Treat definitely can be workout fuel. Simple carbohydrates—like low-fiber, non-whole-grain waffles and cereals—are indeed the best source of quick energy before a workout.

Carbs are an efficient way to fuel the body. They allow energy to go straight to the bloodstream without getting sidetracked too much in the digestive tract.

On top of providing quick energy for exercise, Rice Krispies Treats are convenient—they're shelf-stable (so they won't go bad fast), and they're easy to stick in a purse or gym bag.

When To Eat a Rice Krispies Treat for a Workout

It's best to eat a Rice Krispies Treat if you're someone who does a high-intensity cardio or strength workout, but not necessarily if you're someone who's going to take a casual bike ride or walk around the block. You can eat the Rice Krispies Treat up to two hours before your workout.

If your workout is less than an hour long, you don't need to eat beforehand. Pre-workout snacks are best for people who are doing long, high-intensity workouts. For that type of workout, you should eat 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates for every hour of exercise.

Added Sugar in Rice Krispies Treats

One potential concern about eating Rice Krispies Treats is that they contain a lot of high-fructose corn syrup, a form of added sugar derived from corn. Eating too much added sugar can lead to health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

If you're going to eat a Rice Krispie Treat as your pre-workout snack, keep in mind that less than 10% of your daily calories should be added sugar. If you need 2,000 calories every day, you should try to eat no more than 200 calories in added sugar.

The pre-packaged, snack-sized Rice Krispies Treats contain 90 calories and 9 grams of added sugar. Alternatively, you can make your own Rice Krispies Treats and determine how much sugar to add.

Alternative Pre-Workout Snacks

If you aren't too keen about eating a Rice Krispies Treat before your workout—or you want to avoid the added sugar—there are other snacks you can eat that provide similar benefits, with less added sugar.

Healthy carbohydrates provide you with the energy you need to maximize your workout. Aim for carbs that are easily digestible so that you don't feel tired during your workout. Some options may include:

  • Melons, like honeydew or cantaloupe
  • Non-whole-grain or non-wheat crackers with smooth peanut butter
  • Well-ripened banana (1 small or 1/2 large banana)
  • Yogurt without granola

No matter what snack you choose, make sure to drink plenty of water as well.

Pre-Workout Snacks to Avoid

You may think a whole food, like raw veggies, would be a better option than a processed bar. However, in this case, it's best to avoid fiber. It sits in the stomach for a long time, which can make it difficult to work out if you feel full, bloated, or have to go to the bathroom.

You may also want to avoid saturated fats and protein which can digest slowly and require more energy to digest. For a workout, you need more energy to go to your muscles than your digestive system.

A Quick Review

A pre-workout snack is a good idea for a long, vigorous workout. Even though Rice Krispie Treats contain added sugar, they also contain carbohydrates that can provide you with the energy you need for your workout.

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  2. American Heart Association. Carbohydrates.

  3. Jeukendrup A. A step towards personalized sports nutrition: carbohydrate intake during exerciseSports Med. 2014;44(S1):25-33. doi:10.1007/s40279-014-0148-z

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Know your limits for added sugars.

  5. Smartlabel. Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats Original Bars.

  6. American Cancer Society. Low-fiber foods.

  7. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Timing your pre- and post-workout nutrition.

  8. MedlinePlus. Dietary fiber.

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