- TikTok users are eating Rice Krispies Treats for an added boost of energy before a workout.
- Experts say these snacks can actually work to give you the carbohydrates you need to be energized during exercise.
- While this habit isn’t necessarily bad for you, there are more nutritious snacks you can turn to before exercising.
If you often find that one minute you are exercising and enjoying your workout, and the next minute you run out of steam, you may not be fueling your body with the right nutrients pre-workout.
TikTok users seem to have found the perfect pre-workout snack that is low-cost, easy to eat, and delicious.
People on the app are turning to Rice Krispies Treats, saying the sugary snack gives them extra energy to get through a strenuous session.
But are these sweet treats really a solution to avoiding a workout energy slump, or is it simply a passing TikTok trend?
What Should You Eat Before a Workout?
What you eat before you work out can be just as important as your workout itself if you want the best results.
In fact, the timing of your snack along with which macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) you are eating may play a role in:
- Enhancing recovery
- Helping support tissue repair
- Enhance muscle protein synthesis
- Improve mood states following high-volume or intense exercise
Carbohydrates are used as energy by the body. And while your body does have carbohydrate stores, also known as glycogen, they are limited.
Supplying your body with carbohydrates, especially for longer bouts of exercise where glycogen stores are depleted, is key.
While complex carbs that contain fiber are generally recommended for an overall healthy diet, in the case of pre-workout fuel, simple carbs may offer more of a benefit because they enter the bloodstream faster.
Specifically, research recommends you eat 1 to 4 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight in the hours before any exercise that will last more than an hour. So, for a 130-pound person, that would mean eating between 59 and 236 grams of carbohydrates.
Simple carbs include white bread, bananas, and of course, rice and marshmallows. And eating them two to three hours before a workout appears to be your best bet for optimal performance.
Which Macros Are In Rice Krispie Treats?
One pre-made classic Rice Krispies Treat contains 90 calories and a mix of macros:
- 17 grams of carbohydrates
- 2 grams of fat
- Less than 1 gram of protein
The carbs found in these treats are notable because they are the “quickly digestible” kind.
While typically, 8 grams of added sugar and no fiber makes for a treat that is not the wisest choice, in the case of fueling a workout, these features can actually be a positive.
What This Means For You
If you need a quick snack before a workout as an energy boost, Rice Krispies Treats will likely get the job done. But when possible, experts advise turning toward more nutritious options.
Are Rice Krispies Treats a Good Pre-Workout Choice?
Surprisingly enough, Rice Krispies Treats aren’t all bad.
“If you’re coming up on an intense workout session and haven’t eaten in a few hours, a Rice Krispie Treat actually isn’t a bad idea,” Chrissy Carroll, MPH, RD, a registered dietician and USAT Level I triathlon coach, tells Verywell. “The combination of toasted rice cereal and sugar provides a small amount of easily digestible carbs that can give you the extra boost of energy you need right before a tough workout.”
Specifically, the treat can offer some benefits if you’re planning a demanding workout.
“Because it’s low fiber, it can decrease the chance of stomach upset during high-intensity training,” Carroll adds. “Generally, in your diet, you want to get enough fiber, but it’s good to avoid high fiber foods immediately before a sweat sesh.”
However, leaning on these treats does come with some caveats.
Because they lack fiber, these treats can elevate blood sugars rather quickly. So if you have a condition like diabetes, this may not be the snack for you.
Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CPT, a nutrition expert and author, cautions that “anyone who experiences insulin resistance should speak directly with a dietitian trained in sports and their particular health condition to ensure they have the proper pre-workout snack that works for their needs.”
Carroll also adds that “because there’s not much nutritional value in a treat, it’s probably not ideal to use daily, though there are certainly worse vices, especially considering one treat contains 8 grams of added sugar—which is less than many granola bars.”
Instead, Carroll suggests that people “consider swapping the treat with other easily digestible carb-rich foods that contain more nutrients—like toast with a little peanut butter and sliced banana, or a bowl of cereal with low-fat milk.”
Overall, experts say you should turn to it as a last resort, rather than making it a habit.
“[Rice Krispies Treats] should be reserved for a last-minute snack grab before higher intensity or long training sessions,” Carroll says. “If you’re just hitting the gym for a quick hop on the elliptical or plan to go for a casual bike ride with friends, there’s no need to grab that little blue package—unless you just want one for nostalgia’s sake, of course.”