In part 1, Ilana Katz talked about many of the reasons why you should consider using real food during training and racing. Now she shares ideas about the what and how much! Here are some simple meal ideas to get you started. What have you tried and liked?
Small snacks that are great to give your system a break between all the sports nutrition products can be simple! Here are a few ideas:
A banana is perfect sports nutrition due to low fiber, quick burning carbohydrate, reduced risk of gastrointestinal distress and high in potassium for electrolyte needs. Logistically easy because most races provide bananas at aid stations. And did you know there is a gadget called a banana rack, specially made for bikes for this very reason. Look it up!
A cut up or mashed potato (add salt) and place in mini plastic bags. Great source of bland yet tasty carbs, salt enhances the flavor and supplements the potassium for good electrolyte intake naturally found in potato. Logistically simple as the fit in a bento box or fuel belt (just like gels) if packaged properly.
Try some dried fruit in a trail mix form. Note: if sensitive to GI distress, do not overload on too much fiber. Most dried fruit will have a concentrated source of antioxidants and electrolytes. The trail mix pieces like some seeds, toasted oats, nuts, etc., can balance the fructose from causing stomach issues. Also, small PBJ sandwiches are always a favorite and provide good nutrition for the needs of long races.
As for execution tips, remember that 100 calorie breakdowns can cover every 20 minutes. If that seems too often (an individual preference) then more caloric dense snacks would cover every 45 – 60 minutes.
Supplementing with sports drinks where caloric density may be difficult to logistically get in, is perfectly fine, but the simple rule is not to sacrifice on taste. Choose a drink that you enjoy as taste is one of the most important traits when it comes to a decent fuel source.