Allergen-Free Fuel for Runners: Top 5 Recipes
Food allergies can pose a big challenge when it comes to adequate fueling for runners, particularly those who are endurance athletes needing to carry energy sources with them for long training runs or races. In 2017, the top 8 foods that cause 90% of allergic reactions are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (cashews, walnuts, etc.), fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. Five out of the 8 ingredients tend to be in typical energy bars marketed to runners. It can be difficult to find products that are certified gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, and dairy-free. If you’re sensitive to more than one food, it can be especially tough to find a snack on the go that is running-friendly.
Luckily, a growing number of bloggers are sharing their successes with do-it-yourself running fuel sources. Going homemade instead of grabbing an energy bar, gel, or electrolyte beverage has many benefits. For one, your own homemade treats are guaranteed to be 100% allergen free, so you can focus on your run without worrying about potential cross-contamination. Homemade options are also free of additives like preservatives which are unhealthy to consume.
In our culture of processed, instant food options, “you are what you eat” is true now more than ever, and it pays to provide your body with performance-boosting smart choices. Do-it-yourself fueling enables you to modify recipes and pack nutrient-dense options in with an additional boost of protein powder, glucose source, or high calorie option, depending on your anticipated fueling needs while exercising. The recipes can be simple and freezer friendly, and with practice you’ll find that they don’t add a lot of time to your workout or race prep. And, when done right, you will probably end up saving money in the process!
If that hasn’t convinced you to try making your own energy sources, keep reading… The following mouth-watering recipes will be sure to have you running for the kitchen!
5 Recipes for Home-made Running Fuel
1. No-Bake Oatmeal Protein Energy Ball
*can be made gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, egg-free
These are one of my favorite running snack alternatives to store-bought energy bars. I have to be careful or I will snack on them all day long! The beauty of this recipe is that it contains many options and modifications. If you can’t do peanuts, you can try almond butter instead of peanut butter. If you can’t do all nuts, opt for sunflower butter. If you’re dairy-free, try a different liquid – even water works! If you can’t do oats, you can experiment with rice puffs or hemp seeds. They are delicious as is, or you can adorn them with a sprinkle of shredded coconut or flax seeds, or perhaps a drizzle of honey! Freezer storage eliminates any stickiness and they thaw quickly to be ready when needed.
Ingredients: gluten-free rolled oats, liquid (water, milk, coconut milk, almond milk, etc.), vanilla whey protein powder, natural peanut butter (or other nut butter, sunflower butter), agave or honey, vanilla extract
Optional additions: cinnamon, chia seeds, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, raisins, dried cranberries
2. Coconut pancakes
*gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free
**Note: some people consider coconut a tree nut
I make these into mini-pancakes for pre-, during and post-runs. Add your favorite nut butter or sunflower butter on top, or consider adding bananas or blueberries to the batter. Quick and easy to make, and kids love them!
Ingredients: coconut flour, baking soda, coconut milk or water, coconut oil, eggs, honey or agave, vanilla extract
Optional additions: bananas, cinnamon, chocolate chips, blueberries
Link to recipe: http://blog.paleohacks.com/coconut-flour-pancakes/
3. Fruit Endurance Gel Blocks
*contains corn (pectin)
*gluten-free, dairy- free, soy-free, nut-free, egg-free
My favorite and best-tolerated trail marathon snack has always been shot blocks. I had my doubts about this recipe living up to my standards, but I was pleasantly surprised (and these are great without any sugar added!) These blocks stay gelled at room temperature and even on warmer days outside.
Ingredients: organic fruit juice, liquid pectin, honey or agave, sea salt, lemon juice, sugar (or stevia, coconut sugar, or other alternative)
4. Homemade Chia Seed Energy Gel
*gluten-free, dairy-free, so- free, nut-free, egg-free
Chia seeds, when combined with liquid, form a gel-like consistency similar to your store-bought energy gels. They’re mild in flavor and create a wonderful hydrating base that slides down nice and easy. But what’s better is that they are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals – a cheaper and healthier option to buying gels. They also contain fiber, so test these before race day (but most people find that the small quantity in this recipe does not affect them).
Ingredients: chia seeds, water, salt, maple syrup
Flavoring options: juice from an orange or lemon, brewed coffee, coconut milk, ginger root, etc. – get creative!
5. Natural Home-Made Electrolyte Drink
*gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, egg-free
**Note: some people consider coconut a tree nut
There’s no denying that the sugar and preservative-laden commercial athletic beverages like Gatorade and Powerade are simply not the best option out there for rehydration. Chocolate milk has been shown to be far superior for a recovery drink. But when it comes to staying hydrated during your run, consider coconut water. Coconut water contains more potassium and sodium than sports drinks, and it’s even been used for electrolyte replenishment with soldiers and similar to IV fluids used in hospitals. Coconut water is great alone, or you can consider adding other ingredients in the recipe below. (If you can’t do coconut, there are plenty of other liquid base options).
Ingredients: liquid base (coconut water, herbal tea, water, BAI drink), salt, calcium magnesium powder
Flavoring options: ginger, herbs, juice, honey, stevia
Link to recipe: https://wellnessmama.com/2575/natural-sports-drink/