If you follow a consistent approach, a few nutrition principles and keep track of the results, you’ll be well on your way to mid-ride snack perfection.
1. Eat to meet
We only need to eat to meet the demands of the work being done.
As a rule of thumb, unless the start of your ride is very intense or you’ve not eaten in a long time, you won’t need to eat in the first hour of riding. This will also likely mean better training gains.
2. Refuel regularly
After one hour to 90 minutes of riding is when you’ll get a clear benefit from eating. From then, aim to consume a variety of easily digested foods in small portions with water every 15 to 30 minutes.
3. Trial and error
Find out what you like to eat, how much of it (grams of carbohydrate per hour) and how often. Make a mental note of the feeling and result different foods give you until you find what works.
If you’re eating in the first two hours of riding, then simple low fibre, low fat foods are best, like some energy bars, a sports drink or even a gel if you’re working hard.
Once you creep to the three-hour-plus mark then more ‘real food’ can be consumed, such as homemade bars, a ham and cheese sandwich, wraps and the like.