Tasty & Homemade: 3 Recipes to Fuel Your Run!
Try as they might, all the research and developers and advertising gurus can’t make a product that satisfies everyone’s needs. Most health conscience people have spent a portion of their grocery store time on a quest for a product that seemingly doesn’t exist. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a granola bar with a certain amount of protein while maintaining certain sugar levels or an energy chew that doesn’t get stuck in your teeth for the next mile and half of your run after you eat it. Often we’re left feeling as though we are settling or worse, having to pay an insane amount for what can seem like basic ingredients hyped by gimmicky marketing to justify the hit to the wallet.
Then there are some times when doing it yourself is the better idea. That way you can get what you want and control what and how much you get of what you need. Even if you aren’t a Top Chef, or anywhere close, covering your fuel needs for a run can be pretty basic especially if you are willing to start with a good base recipe and build for your needs, tastes and lifestyle as it ebbs and flows.
Making a batch of quick grab-and-go nutrient dense granola bars is a no-brainer as an aid for a workout. As an alternative, cook this just a few minutes less or break it up to add to smoothies, Greek yogurt or eat it entirely on its own with or without milk. This recipe is also perfect to keep on hand around for your whole household. Customizing this recipe for personal preferences and making allergy sensitive switches can be done at the drop of a hat.
High Energy Granola Bars or Granola
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup chopped, sliced or whole nuts (almonds and walnuts are always a great choice)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup honey or agave
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla or almond extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cup of dried fruit (Craisins, raisins, apricots, plums, apples, mangos, etc. Stick with one or add three!)
One or all of optional ingredients, and many more to taste, can be added. Just be aware more honey or agave may need to be added to ensure the bars stick together.
- ½ cup nut butter (peanut, almond, etc.)
- ½ cup unsweetened dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup wheat germ or flax
Add brown sugar, butter, vanilla and honey in a small pan and bring to a boil while stirring over medium heat. Cook for one minute.
Add the warm mixture to oats, nuts and salt already in a mixing bowl. At this point add dried fruit to mixing bowl and any optional ingredients and stir well.
Place mixture in a brownie pan for bars (be sure to press down well with a spatula) or spread on a cookies sheet for loose granola.
Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
If cutting into bars, place in fridge to entirely cool. To store, place in an airtight container.
Of all the daunting tasks in the kitchen, the energy gel seems to rank up there at the top. It’s sticky, the consistency seems tough to replicate and even the good stuff doesn’t taste fantastic. Thankfully, it sounds worse than it is and like most other items made in your kitchen, it can be customized once you get the sodium, sugar and potassium (from the molasses) covered with the base ingredients.
Natural Energy Gel
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon molasses, sorghum or brown rice syrup*
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt (preferable, but table salt will work)
- 1/8 cup coffee or cocoa powder (optional)
*Note: Using brown rice syrup instead of molasses or sorghum will yield a thicker gel.
Whisk all ingredients together. If you are making a large batch, use an electric hand mixer instead.
The total yield will be a little over 4 ounces which works out to be roughly 4 regular sized energy gels. You can store the entire batch in a plastic squeeze bottle for easy dispensing.
A dime a dozen these days, energy drinks come in powders, tablets and already mixed bottles ready for consumption. Yet many people still have’t found one that they like. For something a little smoother and with none of the artificial dye or ingredients, try making your own.
Coconut Citrus Cooler
- 3 cups coconut water (Coconut water with pineapple works well too.)
- 1 cup water or aloe water
- ½ cup lime or lemon juice (ideally fresh squeezed, bottled juice will leave an after taste)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons honey
Put all ingredients into a bottle or other container and shake to combine. Keep refrigerated and use within a week.
Making your own fuel not only saves money, but it can help target your training by knowing exactly what is going into your body and allow you to make changes easily. Making your own gels, chews, bars and drinks is also both easy and fast. So make a lap through the kitchen and see what you can whip up!