You all seem to like bananas. I read lots of posts about people having a small banana before they set off, carrying a banana with them, bananas being just right for topping up energy levels etc etc. All fine and dandy and good well-established nutritional principles.

Only thing is, I loathe bananas. It's not so much the taste, although I don't care for that much, it's the texture. I freely admit that I have a problem with texture of food. I can't abide "slop". For example, mashed potato just makes me gag; rice pudding, no-way; custard, no thanks (especially lumpy), and as for things like tapioca or semolina, pass the bucket.

I do sometimes think that carrying some small "top-up" food might be a good idea, to avoid running-on-empty. Bananas would be ideal but it isn't going to happen. So any other ideas?


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35 Replies

  • How about blending a banana with strawberries and orange juice to make a smoothie to have before your run.

  • Oh No!! Smoothie! Aaagh. Texture issues!!! But thanks for the suggestion. Actually, if I go large on the OJ that might be worth a try.

  • Half a flapjack?? There are plenty of so-called "energy" bars out there. Just be careful on the sugar/fat content. A medium banana is about a 100 calories so you don't want much more than that.

    There are energy "gels" in sports shops; I picked up a mixed fruit one the other day to try out on my next long run, but with your texture issues; not sure if that would set off your gag reflex or not!


  • Hmm. Half a flapjack. That does sound good. Agree about the sugar/fat content. Very not sure about gels!! When my wife's mum was ill in hospital and struggling to drink water they offered her "thickened water". Looked like thin wallpaper paste and about as appealing.

  • Half a bagel with peanut butter - let me guess, the texture of pb makes you barf? :-P

    Flapjacks are good, oat cakes, "nak'd" bars,

    My big sis (8 times marathon runner since taking up running 6 years ago) has experimented for years on what will give her the energy boost she needs without making her throw up, has finally gone back to old fashioned basics and now takes jam sandwiches to take with her for half way round her longer runs (16 miles plus).

  • Yep, peanut butter no good. Surprisingly, cream cheese on a bagel is fine although not much energy in it. Jam sandwiches sound good! Flapjacks, oatcakes etc are coming out a clear winner though.

  • flapjacks are great energy food, and you can add whatever you like to them (obviously not bananas!) Add cranberries, pine nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, almonds...... I confess I try to outweigh the sugar & fat by adding dried fruit & nuts. :-P

  • Thanks arablue. There have been lots of very helpful suggestions, including the ever-popular......Chocolate! But I think flapjacks in some form or another are the favourite, and most likley to be adopted (although not in banana flavour!)

  • Champion cyclist, Roddy Riddell made a suggestion to the local radio presenter who is doing the 5x50 Challenge: cheese and jam sandwiches. Apparently this is a good combination of fats, glucose and carbs. I often have this before cycling - with either cheddar, Edam or Wensleydale and jam or soft cheese and jam - which is like cheesecake!

    If you're looking for something to carry, the 'traditional' quick energy boost is jelly beans. In fact, my running son gave me a couple of packets yesterday, labelled for the local running shop, Run 4 It. He had received these packets in race goodie bags. (He's a vegan and doesn't eat them). Try them out at home before carrying them, as they may not be your cup of tea.

  • I forgot to add, the other food for snacking before, during and after exercise is dried fruit: raisins, cranberries, apricots, bananas(?), dates...

    Ad the hiker's staple, trail mix

    Mix to your own taste.

  • I used the "wiggins" jam sandwiches for a 45 mile ride for Princes Trust last Sunday, but I hadn't heard about the cheese, however, I did pack a few baby bels for the trip, along with bananas, of course. It just seemed like the right combo to me :-)

  • I like the idea of the Wiggins jam sandwiches and baby bels. Would I need to grow the accompanying sideburns? Mind you, that would be a price worth paying if I went as fast as he does.

  • Go for it! (Both trying jam sarnies and Babybel and growing sideburns! Then share a picture! ;-) )

  • May be more than you're ready for!!

  • Raisins or dried cranberries?


  • Hmm, cranberries; that's a good thought. And how could I have forgotten chocolate? Although I tend to save that for a post-run reward!

  • Cheese and jam, eh? That's quite a combination! I like the idea of the soft cheese and jam (aka cheesecake). Think I'll give that a try. Many thanks

  • I am with you on the bananas OldNed...would be so much easier if I could eat them (texture thing for me too)

  • Hi AliB1. I'm so pleased to read this and know it isn't just me!

  • It's definately not you I can't stand the texture either. I'm quite releived that i now know two people who also feel the same. I though tit was just me. I can force them down if i really need to but not if someone near me has a runny nose ergh....

  • Thanks alliec. We should form a movement "Runners against bananas". I can see the banners now! We already have a campaign slogan - Yes, we have no bananas!!

  • Dried banana - no texture problems and it's still banana!

  • you could make your own flapjack and put what you want in. i found a great recipe online for chewy microwave flapjack. i can try and dig it out and post it if anyone wants. i put some extra dried fruit in and some mixed seeds thinking it will be healthier.

    i have read somewhere that you can freeze babanas - (At least i think i have) so maybe that gets round the texture issues?

  • Just a thought and please forgive me if I'm treating you like you are stupid but I have texture issues too. For me it is not so much the semolina stage but the inbetween stage where it is neither one thing or the other. I actually don't like bananas when they've got to a certain stage of ripeness (usually with any sign of brown on the skin) BUT I can handle them when they have only just turned from green to yellow. There is a very small window in which I can eat bananas. Have you experimented with bananas at different stages of ripeness?

  • Hi Pelephant. That's an interesting thought. No, I haven't experimented with them at different stages of ripeness. A just-barely-ripe one might do it. Gotta be careful with these experiments though; if 'Er Indoors gets wind of me experimenting with different textures she'll be force-feeding me mashed potato.

  • I would agree with trying different staged of bananas. I have weird food texture issues as well! I can't stand anything sloppy or mushy (blurgh from thinking about it!) Bananas are not a food of choice however I do eat one before a long run or race and it has to be just ripe. There is a very small window. I'm sure I look like a banana weirdo in Adsa feeling them up before I pick them!

    I do notice the extra stamina when i've had one so it's probably worth it.

  • Thanks MaryAB; I'm so pleased it's not just me with the texture issues. I'm well known for them here!

  • I'd try the dried bananas from health food shops, if you don't mind the taste, they are quite crunchy. Otherwise, as Pelephant said, less ripe bananas might be worth a try. I like them when they are still very slightly green and really firm.

    I used to body build and we always ate a jacket potatoe or, even better, a baked yam for breakfast if we were training late morning. It gives you energy for the day, but leave a good hour or two before heavy exercise. If you run in the evening, would you be able to microwave a yam or potato at lunch time and then have a dried fruit snack a little before your run?

  • Thanks vixiej. There's a bit of a theme emerging here of trying dried fruits, flapjacks, jam sandwiches (with or without cheese) and barely-ripe bananas. I'll have to give 'em a go.

  • I haven't really thought about eating for running yet as I've not really tried to run further than 6K so don't feel the need (I'm working on speed). When I go on long bike rides I find that chocolate covered Brazil nuts do the trick when you are running on vapours, chocolate energy for now and nut energy for later and, they are yummy - also along way from sludgy banana.

  • That sounds good. Anything with chocolate!

  • MMmm, chocolate covered Brazils - scrumptious! Also chocolate covered anything - peanuts, raisins etc. And those yoghurt coated dried fruits or almonds or whatever aren't half bad.

  • Barely ripe bananas - yucky, yucky! I only like them when they're halfway to compost! As for cheese and jam sarnies! (Although my auntie eats cheddar and marmalade on brown bread - I have always thought this was weird) I would think a handful of nuts and raisins would be a good energy boost and easy to eat on the move. Brazil nuts are my absolute favourites with or with out chocolate! :-)

  • As a coda to the banana blog - I think a home made muffin would be just the thing to give you a boost. You can add lots of healthy stuff like fruit or oats (or even a banana ;-) )! I got this book years ago and it now has venerable cookbook status, dog eared and covered with splashes of goodness knows what. Lower in fat and sugar than flapjacks too. :-)

  • mmmm - they look tasty (and deffo better than bananas!!)

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