running Fuel Katie Carsky
There are many different gels, chews, and other snacks on the market, but a lot of the options that we already have in our homes go overlooked. How about going back to the basics? Many of the snacks that you have in your kitchen can be brought out onto the race course or used as simple pre-workout and post-workout snacks to save a few bucks and provide you with the energy that you need. A great place to start is with real, whole foods, such as bananas, apple sauce, or raisins. Bananas may not seem like the most convenient snack on the move, but they can be transported in slices or even mashed in plastic sandwich bags. Another portable fruit snack is applesauce. You can drink a cup of applesauce similar to the way in which you may drink a gel packet during a run. A third fruit option is dried fruit, such as raisins, dried mango, or sundried cranberries. These options are all high in sugar and carbs to give you a quick burst of calories to fuel your run. What about sodium though? A salty snack like pretzels is easy to run with, and they will supply you with refined carbs and sodium to replenish both energy and salt. On a hot day, replacing sodium that you lose in sweat is important in order to keep your electrolytes in balance, particularly during a long run. Unfortunately, pretzels don’t have much to offer as far as vitamins, but they are a great option for a sensitive stomach. Looking for something with a bit more flavor? Granola bars or even fig bars tend to be tasty and relatively easy to digest. Carb-based bars are better than nut-based bars during a run, as carbs should be prioritized over fats for quick energy. A classic at-home food option that is great for long runs is PB&J quarters. The peanut butter slows absorption for lasting energy, but the jelly provides quick sugar for immediate energy. This two-fold energy release is great for longer races, and slices of PB&J can be easily stored and carried. 10
Finally, we should look at some options that may not be the most nutritious, but they are definitely tasty and easy to digest. Gummy bears, jelly beans, and marshmallows, like other candies, are made up of simple sugars that will most likely go down easily. Fueling does not just mean eating during a race, though. What you eat before and after is just as important. The options mentioned above are mainly carbs, but you should consider adding a bit of protein to whatever you eat before or after a workout. A classic example is chocolate milk, which provides protein through milk and carbs through chocolate syrup. Fats are also a good addition to pre-run and post-run snacks. Nuts and nut butters (which also provide protein), avocados, and fat-containing dairy products are all great options to supply fats. In combination with carbohydrates, such as bread or oatmeal, and protein, such as eggs or beans, there are plenty of options for any palette.
PEANUT BUTTER CRANBERRY BARS ½ cup peanut butter ¼ cup honey 1 egg ½ tsp baking soda ½ tsp salt 1 cup flour (white or wheat) ½ cup rolled oats ¼ cup dried fruit (raisins or cranberries) ½ cup chopped nuts (almonds or walnuts) Blend all ingredients and spread in a greased pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Makes 10-12 bars.
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