Life doesn’t always seem to accommodate our climbing plans and we can sometimes (or often) find ourselves in situations where it’s too late to have a nice meal but our stomachs are growling and craving that boost of energy.
Ideally, a meal that focuses on complex carbohydrates should be eaten around 3 hours before your session in order to allow ample time for digestion and for your stomach to be relatively empty yet still still satisfied as you begin climbing.
Ha! “Ideally”? Let’s get real!
“Ideally” doesn’t always pan out as planned, or sometimes we just know that our schedule is just not going to accommodate a meal a couple hours before climbing. Meetings, appointments, kids, work, traffic ….. the list of potential disruptions in your day are basically endless.
Knowing a couple super simple, on-the-go snacks that you can eat within 30 minutes of your climbing session can give you that much needed immediate boost of energy. When it comes to immediate energy you want to focus on healthy forms of simple carbohydrates (carbs are your main fuel source), a tad of fast digesting protein (to help keep you satisfied without weighing you down), and little fat (fat takes a long time to digest).
Keeping these points in mind, you can create simple snacks that your body can digest quickly. Fast digesting means:
- you get energized faster, and
- your body can save energy with digestion and put it towards climbing!
Below, I’ve listed some foods that work great as on-the-go snacks that deliver quick energy. You can combine them in any way that your heart desires. But, if you want a couple ideas, I’ve also provided some SUPER EASY and DELICIOUS options for you as well.
- Chia Seeds: they absorb and retain up to 10 times their weight in water, helping to keep you hydrated!
- Fruit: berries, oranges, bananas, grapes, mangos, dates, pineapples (when selecting fruits, choose ones that are low in fiber since fiber slows down digestion and can’t be converted into energy anyway)
- Raw Unpasteurized Honey: gives a good boost of energy while also delivering antioxidants and vitamins
- Plain Yogurt: go for fat free, or as close it as you can get (yogurt is easier on stomach since the lactose proteins in milk have been broken down by beneficial bacteria or yeasts, so even if you find yourself sensitive to lactose you may be able to tolerate yogurt)
- Rice Cakes or Puffed Rice: contains carbs, some protein, is low in fiber and is quickly digested
- Cinnamon: sprinkling on some cinnamon can help to steady your blood glucose levels. Oh! Also, it’s SO yummy!
Berries with Cinnamon
This takes like less than a minute to throw together. How perfect is that? You can whip it up when you’re short for time, or pack it up for later when it’s one of those days that you know you’re going to need a quick fix.
Disclaimer: If you inhale your food like my husband, then beware of the cinnamon as it may hit the back of your throat and result in prolonged coughing.
Rice Cakes with Honey
Another quick and easy one. If you’re planning ahead and packing this as your pre climbing snack then pack the rice cakes and honey separately and assemble it on site. Drizzling the honey on and then packing it for later can make a sticky mess in your container, that will get on your hands, and on everything you touch. Yuk. Plus, the rice cake will get soggy. No bueno.
Banana with Chia Seeds
My gosh! Can it get any easier!? Simplicity in the kitchen is my favourite if you haven’t noticed. There is really no explanation needed here, but for the sake of meticulousness -> Peel. Dip. Enjoy. Repeat.
Getting a little crazy here with a few more ingredients. Feel free to be creative here. It’s just plain organic fat free yogurt, fruit, honey, and puffed rice. Choose a fruit(s) of your liking (remember you can look at the options I listed above) and combine the ingredients in any manner or proportion that pleases you. Layer it like a parfait or mix and mash it all together.
Raspberry Chia Energy Gel
Ok, this one takes an iota of prep. Like, if you’ve got 15 minutes then your all good.
Mix 1/2 cup of water with 1+1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds and let it sit aside or in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, rinse about 1/3 cup of organic raspberries and mash them up and get 1 tablespoon of honey and a pinch of salt (I love pink Himalayan salt).
After about 15 minutes get your chia and water mixture. You’ll notice that it has begun to thicken up like a gel. Don’t be afraid, it’s both cool and delicious!
Thoroughly mix your raspberries, honey and salt into your gel until it looks gloriously red!
Quick Tip: I always like having a supply of chia seed gel handy in my fridge. Sometimes chia seeds mixed with water, sometimes chia seeds mixed with coconut milk (for yummy breakfast parfaits!). I fill a medium sized mason jar with liquid, the medium size usually holds about 2+3/4 cups of liquid, and toss in about 3+1/2 to 4 tablespoons of chia seeds. Mix it well and let it sit until you need it. You can play around with the consistency. More chia seeds = a thicker gel. Having your gel ready will cut down on your prep time and evade any disappointment for those cases when you’re really craving your energy gel but don’t have the time to wait for it to thicken up.