How to make energy bites to fuel your runs

Even when you consume energy chews, gels and sports drinks, your long run may leave you dragging in the final miles. ‘On runs over 14 miles, carb-only fuel can leave runners hungry. Protein and fat take longer to digest, so adding them to the mix delivers more sustained energy to prevent crashing,’ says Anne Mauney, a dietitian and marathon runner. She adds that fat and protein can cause mid-run gut distress, so it’s best to test alternate fuels on shorter runs first. Energy bites are made with nuts, dried fruit and flavour enhancers such as cocoa powder and shredded coconut. ‘It’s hard to mess these up,’ says Mauney. Blend your ingredients in a food processor, roll into balls and store in the fridge for your next run. If you can’t stomach fat or protein midrun, snack on these for recovery. 

1/ All about that base

Aim for one 
to one-and-a-half parts nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts or a mixture) to one part dried fruit (dates, raisins, apricots and cranberries supply a hit of quick-burning carbs; tart cherries contain inflammation-reducing anthocyanin compounds). This ratio ensures you don’t go too heavy on fat or fibre, which can weigh you down.

2/ The flavour factor

Add other ingredients 
to taste. Try desiccated coconut, oats, dried goji berries or blueberries, and hemp, chia or sesame seeds. Use protein powders or nut butters for your post-run energy bites.

3/ Sugar 'n' spice

Enhance the taste further with maple syrup or honey, both of which supply sugar for a quick energy jolt. Also try vanilla extract, cocoa powder, citrus zest
 or spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric). Finally, instant espresso powder gives 
a caffeine boost.

4/ Pump up the crunch

Fold in your favourite texture boosters, such as cacao nibs or Nature's Path's crispy brown-rice cereal 
– a fan favourite because it’s easy on the stomach.

5/ Pass the salt

You don’t have to go overboard: just a few shakes will give your body the sodium it needs to replenish the electrolytes 
lost through sweat. To avoid squishing, pack your bites into a ziplock bag and store in your fuel belt.