Food! One of my favourite things to talk about, think about, organise, re-organise… you get the picture. There are so many different types of food out there aimed specifically at people on the move, but there are also plenty of whole foods that make great snacks for anyone out there on a long training run, doing a race, or spending a day out hiking. I’m a keen hiker and currently training towards ultra marathons, let’s talk about some of the foods I’ve been getting on really well with during my hikes and my steadily increasing long runs.
Food is personal
Firstly, I want to talk about food as an individual choice. Every person is different and prefers different things, so what works for one, might be no good for another. The only way you can really find out exactly what really hits the spot for you when your up on Bleaklow being blasted by the wind, or what keeps your stomach steady in the last few kilometres of a long run, is by trying things. You can end up craving some weird stuff when your exerting your body, so don’t be afraid to try strange combinations. It might be just what you need.
Where do we start! There are tons of options if you like ‘real’ foods, during a run, race or hike. My personal favourites are as follows.
Nuts and seeds: Walnuts and pumpkin seeds are my go to. I either nom a couple of walnuts and a small handful of seeds before a run, or I pop them in a pocket on my hydraiton vest to eat en route. Get some fats and protien in for long term energy and muscle repair.
Dried fruit: Little pouches bursting with energy. Super portable and they go down easy. Dates can be paired with pecans or little lumps of chocolate for a bit more taste and texture variation, figs are a decent calcium source, dried mango is easy to carry and chew on while you run or hike. Lots of options and lots to try. Mix and match.
Trail mix: I like nuts and seeds, I like dried fruit, why not just put them together? A great option for hiking as it’s easy to pick at or just funnel into your mouth in one go, whatever works for you. A little tricker for running but good if you’re going a long way and need to stop or walk at any point.
From solid food to the very unsolid. There are so many gels available it gets a bit overwhelming knowing where to start. Personally, I currently just run with the SiS isotonic gels because they’re often on offer at the local supermarket, so they’re inexpensive, they’re easy for me to buy and I happen to get on well with them. The consistency of them is nice so they go down without a worry. I take one in the latter half of a long training run to make sure I’ve got that final boost for the last kilometres.
While the standard version of Soreen malt loaf is not vegan, the other flavours available in their mini lunch box loaves range, are vegan! The apple mini loaves and the banana mini loaves are officially vegan. The strawberry ones don’t specifically state that they’re vegan but I have stared at the ingredients list so many times now and can’t find anything on there that would make them not vegan.
Easy to pack, tasty and a good burst of energy, these Soreen mini loaves have been a wonderful hiking companion. I often eat one in the last part of a hike to give me that extra bit of energy for the final push or in the early half of a long run to keep the carb supply up.
Another area with many options. These are generally quite pricey for what you get, but they’re a nice treat on a long hike or run.
Bounce protein balls: I only grab these when they’re on offer as they are one of the more expensive versions of this snack type. Bounce do three vegan friendly versions of their protein balls and my personal favourite is the almond spirulina one.
More ball: The cheapest energy ball I’ve found so far, the Holland and Barrett own brand more ball is becoming a regular feature in my bag for day hikes or long runs. Holland and Barrett can be found in a number of countries across the world and they are very common in the UK. They are all vegan friendly and my favourite one so far has been the tumeric spice.
Deliciously Ella energy ball: Another pricey option, although they come with a little reccomendation to find her recipe and make them yourself, which is lovely. These balls only have four ingredients so they are some good natural food and really tasty to boot. I like them as a treat on a high mileage day and am keen to try making them myself.
Granola bars, raw pressed bars, fruit bars, there are many to pick from. I have a couple that I like to use depending on what texture I feel like having.
Nakd bars: These little beasties come in a variety of flavours and are really compact and portable. Ideal for any on the move activity. I often have one as a pre-lunch snack while hiking and I always have one in the my hydration vest as a back up if I find myself really flagging on a long run. They are raw pressed fruit and nut bars with a small number of ingredients. The salted caramel bar is my Nakd bar of choice.
Trek bars: A solid favourite among many hikers. Easy to get down and a great option for a hiking or long run snack. A flapjack style bar (the British definition of flapjack not the US definition), the Trek bars don’t crumble up too easily, so they work well if you have to carry them for a good while before eating them. My favourite option is the salted caramel bar (I really like salted caramel).
Deliciously Ella: Adding to the range of tasty items Deliciously Ella produces, their baked oat bars are fab! A perfect consistency with just the right amount of chewyness. Full of flavour and good stuff, these are a great on a hike or long run.
There you have it! A selection of the things I currently enjoy eating while I’m out and about and on the move. As my long runs get longer and as I do more hikes, I’m sure I’ll discover new foods that work well for supplying me with that energy I need to keep trucking up those hills!
Thank you for reading! Be sure to check in for weekly training updates and hike write ups.
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