In looking for the perfect energy food for long rides I have tried a number of foods.
(I was going to take a picture of all the different energy foods I have tried but our home is out of stock of most items, either because of pilferage from snack-ers or the item is perishable.
I started out as a casual mountain biker and took whatever was in the house. I didn't need that quick pick me up kick from food. Then as I got into road racing I needed something so I tried the commercial gu and energy bars . They work pretty well but are expensive and not available here. I use them but only when left behind from some first world-ers visiting.
As a substitute I got into honey. I put it in the water bottles or take a shot out of the gu dispensing tube. It works well but sometimes is not appealing taste wise and there is no roughage. It does work as well as energy gu. The good stuff doesn't last as long as one would expect as it is seen as medicinal in our house.
Bananas are about as good as a energy food as one can use but they need care in carrying, they go bad from bruising and heat, and often in early morning they are out of stock in our house. You can't buy for a whole week.
I have used snickers bars. They are delicious and full of energy but a pricey (about a dollar in Arusha). They also don't keep well at home as they get raided by chocolate addicts. A bigger problem is they don't do well in high temperatures on rides.
I sometimes make a trail mix of some (or all) of the following: raisins, sultans, dried fruit, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds. It is pretty good tasting and as energy. Pilferage is a factor both at home and on rides. Highly popular among mountain bikers I ride with. Other downside is it doesn't have a quick sugar fix as much as some other stuff.
I really like milk, and recovers me well after rides. Biggest drawback is it can clog up the respiratory system if you are riding slightly hard.
I was never a big date eater. One day about two years ago I bought some of these date cakes. The seeds are removed and they are pressed in a dense cake and come in packages like the one above. After a few weeks I began to like them.
There are no calorie values on this package but dates are intense calories, natural sugar, and keep forever. That means if i buy 4 packages I am likely to always find them available in our house as I get ready at 5am. I might even find them still in the bag. Dates are less likely to be pilfered at home, although it does happen. They don't melt during a ride.
On the downside they are a somewhat messy to eat but I can deal with that. It is not readily available out side big towns meaning I can not buy as I go.
This package is 500grams (+/-20) and costs $1.40e shop.
It is great to live in a country who trades and deal with everyone. So the fact it is a product of Iran is a non issue for us. This brand happens to be from there but they come from all over the middle east.