I have found 3 foods that really fit my racing and training routine. They have become my go to foods. These are budget friendly and they seem to really work for me.
1. Prerace - Ritz Crackers are what I eat before and during long races and training runs. I started out Delano 12 hour with PowerGels which I like for the consistency of texture, but the latter half I satisfied myself with a few crackers washed down with Gatorade. Gels seem to make me feel like I am slowing down. On the other hand Ritz seem to settle my stomach. I usually eat about 8 to 10 crackers 30 minutes before long runs and races. The downside is you need to slow down to eat them because you might aspirate the crumbs. ( I have done this) When I walk through aid stations I am usually able to eat them.
2. During and after - Gatorade works well when I dilute it. About half and half. I use it at the end of workouts and races as part of my recovery regiment. Gatorade and Ritz crackers got me through the 50 miles I ran at Delano. In warm weather I freeze the bottles for use after the run.
3. Recovery - I have been on the chocolate milk train for a long time. I used to make my own, but I now buy the boxed kind. It has a long shelf life and can be kept at room temperature. Usually less then a dollar for a box or a little more for the organic stuff. I like the 2% or more fat content. I usually freeze the carton and let it thaw during the run.
I realize that everybody is different and different things work for every runner, but these seem to work for me. They are easily accessible and inexpensive which help because I run on a tight budget.