Get creative with these natural real-food running snacks for training and racing. They’re a fun, tasty and a naturally effective alternative to gels!
All kinds of dried fruit are very high in energy (calories) and sugar (fructose) so not to be eaten with abandon, but for long runs and races they’re pretty much perfect. Packed with natural energy which will fuel your body and give it a boost (but small enough to carry), dried fruit is nature’s very own sugary snack for hard-working runners. We particularly like dates because they’re easy to chew and big enough that just one packs a punch. Try medjool dates – they’re like fudge!
Frozen Fruit Chunks
Absolutely delicious as a snack for those hot long Summer runs. Simply freeze fruit in chunks and carry with you in a sandwich bag. Melon (particularly watermelon) and pineapple are high in antioxidants and are a natural anti-inflammatory. Grapes and berries are fantastic because you don’t even need to chop them (and they won’t be as messy as they defrost).
Have you ever tried coconut water? It’s becoming more popular in the UK and is now available in health food shops and supermarkets. It is a fantastic thing to drink after a long run or race, because it naturally replenishes minerals and electrolytes lost through sweating. Serve chilled or over ice for a gorgeous refreshing drink which is doing every cell of your body good.
Yes, it looks a bit like baby food, but trust us on this one. Cooked, cooled, pureed fruit is a secret shared between ultrarunners and marathoners. Fruit is high in natural sugars (fructose), a source of carbohydrates which the body puts to good use during endurance sport. Try apples, pears, squashes or anything you like! Cook it, puree it, cool it and then put it in a ziplock/sandwich bag to create your own squeeze gel.
Homemade Nut Butter
This one is a bit more labour-intensive but once you’ve learned to make your own nut butter, you’ll have a skill which will save you serious cash! Pop your raw nuts into a blender and blend, blend, blend until the nut butter forms. It could take up to 8 minutes, so keep going. Push the mixture around inside the blender (turn it off first!) a few times to help the process. Use all sorts of nuts and even seeds: try sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, cashews, almonds – anything you like! The resulting nut butter is a fantastic snack for long runs or races, high in calories and fat but packed with very healthy dietary fat. (Try stuffing one of those medjool dates with homemade nut butter… thank us later!)
What do you like to snack on for long runs or endurance style races? We’d love to hear your own tips.