Best endurance foods (and 3 snack recipes)

Best endurance foods (and 3 snack recipes)

Long burn power foods

Getting the most out of your day and the best out of your diet is about choosing the right foods for the right job. If you’ve started training to walk, run, sprint, or take on your first marathon, you’re going to need to upgrade from white bread sandwiches.

What type foods provide the best source of long-term energy?

Complex carbohydrates, and carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index rating.

Complex carbs: Complex carbs are long chains of sugar molecules that provide additional minerals, nutrients and fibre. Simple carbs lack these benefits.

Glycaemic index: The glycaemic index gives an indication of how long carbs take to be broken down and released as sugar (energy) in the bloodstream. A higher index rating means the breakdown process and release is quick, with a lower one breaking down slowly and releasing energy over time.

Why are complex carbs and low GI foods good for endurance?

You may have noticed that your late-afternoon biscuit picks you up for mere moments before letting you crash to the floor. That’s because they’re high GI, and have scarce or no additional value outside their sugar content.

Having food in your system that is slowly breaking down, releasing sugar, and providing you with healthy nutrients is going to supply you with energy as you need it.

When should I eat them?

Pre-exercise: Consuming snacks or meals that are low GI and made up of complex carbs within two to four hours of your exercise can have a positive impact on your performance and endurance.

Post-exercise: To aid recovery, you’ll want to go for high GI, complex carbs snack like a banana or other fruit.

The best complex carb and low GI foods

Steel Cut Oats     
Sweet Potato     


Brown rice


Wheat pasta     


Low GI and complex carb snacks

complex carb snacks

Banana, raisin, almond and oatmeal slice

What you’ll need:

Ratio: 1 cup of oats per 1 large banana

  • 3 x large, ripe bananas
  • 3 x cup of steel cut oats
  • 1/4 cup of chopped raisins
  • ¼ cup of crushed almonds
  • 1 tbs honey


  • Preheat your oven to 180°C (or 160 for fan-forced)
  • Grease your baking try or pan (we recommend using olive oil)
  • Smoosh your bananas until they’re smooth
  • Mix in oats, raisins, almonds and honey until well combined
  • Spread evenly over your baking tray or pan
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes (colour should be golden brown)
  • Take out, leave to cool, and cut into slices for serving

Slice is a handy snack, easy to devour on the way out from work to the gym, pitch or track. Be warned: this is a dangerous ‘oh just one more piece’ kind of slice. Try to resist!

Sweet potato and mushroom mess with kale

Sweet potato and mushroom mess with kale

What you’ll need:

  • 1 x medium sweet potato
  • 300g x common mushrooms
  • 1 x bunch of kale
  • 2 x large eggs
  • ½ x lemon
  • Paprika
  • Pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 180°C
  • Chop your sweet potato into cubes
  • Halve your mushrooms
  • Chop kale into bite-sized pieces
  • Brush sweet potato cubes with olive oil, spread evenly over a baking tray, and place in oven for 20-30 minutes
  • Scramble eggs with generous helping of paprika and cook in a skillet on a medium heat
  • When eggs are finished, pour into a bowl
  • Using the same skillet, throw in kale and mushrooms, drizzling them with olive oil. Turn down to low heat, and cook until soft and tender
  • When sweet potato cubes, mushrooms and kale are finished, pour the scrambled egg bowl
  • Mix gently, squeeze in lemon juice, and sprinkle with pepper

More of a morning runner? Easy to heat up and quick to eat, this mess will give you the energy and warmth you need to face even the briskest of dawns.

Apricot and quinoa protein balls

Apricot and quinoa protein balls

What you’ll need:

  • ¾ cup of quinoa flakes
  • ¾ cup of almond meal
  • ½ cup of dried apricots
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp of honey


  • Dice the dried apricots
  • Throw the diced apricots and all other ingredients into a blender until combined
  • Roll the mixture into balls
  • Leave to set in fridge or freezer

Perfect for leaving in the work fridge, and a far cheaper and healthier substitute to anything you’ll find in the vending machine. If you can find it in you, these are a great shareable.

All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies.  For full terms, click here.

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