Earlier this week I was asked about what sorts of foods would be appropriate for a person on a gluten-free diet to take on a 100km trek. The person asking had just found out that there would be no suitable foods for them at any of the snack check points or the meal at the end of the trek and was stuck for suggestions of what they could eat other than gluten-free sandwiches. What a challenge! I came up with the following list of gluten free foods which could be suitable for that person to take (or friends to bring to the finish line). It is by no means complete – merely suggestions of food that may be suitable. As with any sport it is always a good idea to try foods first in a non-competitive environment to see that they agree with your system. If you are going to carry perishable foods in an event like a trek – use a cooler bag with an icepack within your pack to keep foods cool.
- Gluten free energy bars (eg Nakd, Franks or make your own Nakd bars: Cocoa Orange, Cocoa Mint or Pecan Pie)
- Fresh fruit -apples/oranges/banana
- Dried fruit – eg dates, sultanas, apricots, banana chips (mix with nuts & seeds)
- Gluten-free flap jacks
- GF biscuits cakes and slices
- Small cans of tuna (ring pull lid)
- Mixed nuts & seeds – eg peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, linseeds
- Peanut butter and celery
- Cheese and gluten-free crackers
- Rice cakes/ rice crackers
- Gluten-free pasta salad
- Rice/Quinoa Salad
- Hard boiled eggs
- Cooked potato (or sweet potato)
- Potato salad
- DIY rice cakes (savoury energy bars) – Try Dr Allen Lim’s savoury rice cakes here
Gels and sports drinks
There are lots of commercial versions and recipes online that may be suitable. Check out these great DIY sports nutrition tips by Aussie Sports Dietitian Alan McCubbin here.
While looking at recipes I came across this one for gluten free energy bars based upon lentils as the key ingredient. I was intrigued because I’ve never eaten a bean-based bar before so thought I would give it a shot with a few adaptations in place. As you can see from my cupboard I have lots of different beans and legumes so it is always fun to experiment with new things to make. I’m not a massive sweet fan so I have reduced the honey content – feel free to add extra sweetness to your taste and preference. Another ingredient I added which I think would have improved the texture is psyllium husk. Psyllium husk is a soluble fibre that turns into a gel when you add water – working as a sticking agent. I’ve used a mixture of green and red lentils but using only one type would work just as well. These bars are gluten-free, wheat free and require no baking other than the initial cooking of the lentils.
- ½ cup green lentils
- ½ cup red lentils
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ½ cup honey
- 1 Tbsp tahini (or sesame seeds)
- 3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2 Tbsp linseeds
- 2 Tbsp psyllium husk
- 3 Tbsp ground almonds
- ¼ cup gluten-free oats (if tolerated)
- 2-3 Tbsp cocoa
- Rinse dried lentils well to remove dirt then cook in a saucepan with 3 cups of fresh water until soft (approximately 30 minutes).
- Put cooked lentils into a large bowl and add all dry ingredients.
- Mix peanut butter, honey and tahini in saucepan and heat until warm and runny.
- Stir peanut butter mixture into lentil mixture and stir well until combined.
- Line a baking try with baking paper and press mixture into tray.
- Refrigerate and cut into pieces when chilled (I made it into 12 pieces).
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Let me know what you think!