first off let's get down to the science; you want carbs, some easily digested protein, salt and maybe some rapidly digested fat. You don't want frankenfoods, artificial sweetners, processed fats and excessive fructose - that knocks about half of the commerical bars avaliable out of the frame.
here are some ideas;
peanut butter sandwiches with: bannana, pureed pumpkin and raisins (and honey and cinnamon), applesauce, just pb honey and cinnamon, pb and nutella pb banana and nutella, all of the above with almond butter.
baked sweet potato with almond/ peanut butter and honey and cinnamon (do you see a theme here?)
bean burritos - great at the top of a climb in the cold
and my latest greatest invention; savory bread pudding;
4 cups bread (i used a mix of hawaain and old bagels)
2 cups coconut milk (MCTs)
1/2 cup hard sheeps cheese or parmesan
some chopped up ham , raisins and sea salt
heat the milk with the bread until it's all soaked up, mix in the rest of the goodies and bake at 350 'murican degrees or 180 euro degrees until set. sprinkle with crystal salt and honey, devour! i promise that if you make these once you will thank me forever.
i'm also a big fan of liquorice and ginger sweets (yup i'm living up to national stereotypes here and plugging allsorts) as i feel they help to settle my stomach.
In the bottles i am a massive coconut water junkie, but i also like green tea with honey when it is cold. and maybe even some kombucha.
and post ride, you can't beat a tomato juice, and a big bowl of Greek yogurt, blueberries honey and granola. or a taco and a beer!
with all that said, there are still times when i'll hit a shop and grab a snickers or a payday and a juice or even a fizzy drink if i need the sugar boost but it's about moderation. i like to take real food, good food and if i need sugary crap, well in California it's never far away! It makes pleasant change to stocking up on syrups and inflammatory fats in sports branded wrappers and thinking i am helping my body go faster.
I was going to include a pic of a mid ride sweet poato but it looks like a passing dog left it!