For those with Celiac disease, those sensitive to gluten, or those choosing a gluten-free lifestyle, finding easy-to-digest mid-run fuel for your long runs can be tough. Mid-run fuel needs to have highly accessible carbs, be easy to eat & run (literally), and not make you feel sick.
Check out my favorite gluten-free running fuel options here and please comment with your own!
Gluten Free Running Fuel
Fortunately, many of the marketed gels for mid-run fuel are gluten free. They are typically maltodextrin, glucose, or fructose based for quick absorption. Check the label or email the company for a list of their gluten-free options.
- GU gels (vegan, maltodextrin and fructose to utilize multiple digestion pathways)
- Honey Stinger gels (honey based)
- Huma gels (vegan, chia seed based)
Pros: Easy to pack, easy to eat, caffeinated options
Cons: Need water to wash it down, concentration of sugar or type of sugar can upset stomachs, wrapper wasteful (although GU has a 15 serving package with a reusable single-serve container)
Many of the available sports drinks are also gluten-free
- Gatorade, powerade, other grocery-store available drinks
- Skratch mix (vegan, caffeine options, popular for sensitive stomachs)
- Tailwind mix (vegan, glucose and sucrose, caffeine options, popular for sensitive stomachs and endurance racers)
Pros: Easy to consume on the run
Cons: Weighty in liquid form, can be difficult to carry enough calories, may require mixing, sloshy stomach if water/calories ratio is large
Gluten Free Pretzels
Traditional pretzels are wheat based, but the GF versions are not lacking! I like Snyder’s of Hanover Gluten Free Mini Pretzels. Approximately 21 mini-pretzels will give you 21 g of carbs, 100 calories.
Pros: Good for upset stomachs, good for stomachs that upset on sugars, salted!, can’t tell the difference between GF and wheat-based pretzels, don’t crush as easily as GF crackers
Cons: Must be stored carefully (or handed to you by crew) or you’ll be eating dust, not as quickly absorbed as liquid based or sugar based fuel
Don’t miss out on some whole food options. Raisins and dates are probably easiest to carry and eat, but people like to get creative. Ultra runners have been known to run holding and eating a baked potato (keeps your hands warm, too).
- Grapes (difficult to pack)
- Bananas (difficult to pack, but could be handed to you, biodegradable wrapper)
- Honey (packets, sticks, or carry the bottle)
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