If you’re training for hours day in and day out, it’s natural to feel like you just want a break from all of that sweetness. This is known as taste fatigue and can be extremely counterproductive to your performance, particularly if you’re relying heavily on your nutrition to get you through.
This is why it’s important to substitute some of the sweet options for savoury ones, particularly when going for longer rides or races. If you’re not quite sure how and when it’s best to take these, have a look at our videos on training and race-day performance for some super-easy and quick tips!
When to use wholefoods vs sports foods:
Although whole foods are a great option, they can cause havoc to your training or racing if used at the wrong time. The main reason for this is that they need a lot more digesting than what you will need for sports drinks, gels or chews. As such, it is best to avoid wholefoods when the intensity of the session (or race) is higher – e.g. if doing repeat efforts, time trials or hill climbs.
What are the things you want to look for in a good portable?
Nutrition wise, you want a snack option that contains primarily carbohydrate. This will then be complemented with smaller amounts of proteins and fats depending on the recipe. This is why you will often find portable snacks based on higher carb options such as rice, oats, syrups and dried fruits.
Beyond that though, it needs to be moist enough that you are able to chew and swallow the snack without struggling to breathe. There is nothing worse than trying to eat something on the bike that is too dry and leaves you fighting for oxygen and doing a dry cough!
The snack needs to be a convenient size to fit in pockets/bags, while also being easily opened and eaten. This all comes down to packaging! Options that work well are small sandwich bags or baking paper. Having options in bite-sized pieces can also be super handy.
Some savoury portables to break up all that sweet!
These can be dry, so leave these for slower aerobic sessions where you know you can access water easily. They are carbohydrate-based with a good dose of salt too.
These are so easy to make with a basic dough. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, fill with a filling of choice (combos like vegemite and cheese or pizza sauce and cheese work well!), slice into scrolls and bake!
Peanut Butter or Vegemite Sandwich or wrap:
A really easy option that requires very little prep. Trim the crusts off any sandwiches to make intake even easier.
One portable that is brilliant on long rides, runs or ultra-endurance events is the humble potato!
- After boiling until tender (with skin on), gently peel off the skin while still warm.
- Immediately then roll in some olive oil and grated cheese (plus extra salt if you wanted) and allow to cool (cheese should crust over).
- Wrap individually in foil and place in the fridge until you are ready to go!
Savoury Bread Pudding:
Bread pudding can be made sweet or savoury depending on your preference. Simply chop bread into small chunks, place into greased muffin tins and top with a combination of milk, eggs, cheese and bacon (or make a sweeter option with berries and maple syrup). They only need to then bake for 15mins and you have lovely bite-sized portables wrapped ready to go!
Savoury Rice Cakes:
These are a great idea when you’re simply getting tired of sweet options. Use a mix of boiled rice, bacon, eggs, soy sauce and sugar to form carbohydrate and gluten-free bars for an easy snack on the bike or run.
Ham vegetable frittata
Getting the Balance Right
Overall, there is a real place for wholefoods in both training and racing if used appropriately and with the right timing. As tolerance of these foods can be reduced at higher intensities though, this is where more commercially available sports foods can really come into their own for performance. For longer, more aerobic sessions, whole foods are a perfect addition that we really encourage for many reasons – so when you next have time for some kitchen creations, make some batches of portables, freeze in snack-sized portions and make your training nutrition really easy to manage as you build your base into the coming triathlon season.