It’s 10 AM and your stomach is growling . . . or 4 PM and you know you can’t make it through your workout without something to hold you over . . . or 8 PM and you feel so hungry it’s like you didn’t eat dinner. Ok, I’m always hungry. Especially not surprising this week, as I ran 75 miles in altitude over 7 days! <– Pretty impressive :) Curbing my snack attacks is not an easy task. And as a running addict and health conscious foodie, I’m very wary of exactly what fuel I’m putting into my body. Over the years, I’ve developed a palate for real food (i.e. I can identify all the ingredients). Simultaneously, I began to feel real food really worked for my body and gave me the energy to perform my best, whether it be at my job, on my run, or in class. It can be tricky to find snacks that are not packed with processed ingredients, preservatives, and added sugars. Moreover, even the “sports bars” can have a ton of calories and added sugar. There are plenty of companies popping up that have developed really good bars, made from real food. However, they tend to be expensive. And as I’ve already mentioned, my measly budget won’t allow for those kinds of things. So, I have been experimenting with making my own!
Here’s some of my favorite snack making ingredients:
Why I like them: Dates have the highest sugar content by % of weight of all fruit. Dates rank 60, compared to banana at 18, an orange at 10, and a strawberry at 6. Dates are great when you need an instant boost of energy (e.g. pre-workout or afternoon snack). Dates are also high in Potassium and Fiber.
Nuts and Nut Butter
Why I like them: Nuts are high in fat, but the good kind! They are also highly caloric, which gives you sustained energy to keep you full and energized. Perfect for getting you through your workout or the rest of your workday.
Why I like them: Potassium!!! I guess any athlete develops a fond relationship with bananas. Potassium can help with cramping muscles and is a great pre-run food. Bananas have a starch to sugar ratio of 1:20 when green and 1:25 when freckled, as bananas get sweeter as they ripen. This ratio is a great balance of sugar (instant energy) and starch (more sustained carb energy). They won’t make an appearance in these recipes, but they make a great pre-run snack.
Why I like them: They are great source of whole grain Carbohydrate. Read more about my love of oatmeal here.
Why I like it: Molasses is very nutrient dense. It is high in Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, and Calcium. It also adds a perfect amount of sweetener to my snacks.
Trail Mix Bites
makes about 5 bites, can easily be doubled or tripled. I like these for a pre or post run snack, or crumbled in my cereal
1/2 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup raw almonds
6 dried apricots
1-2 T natural peanut butter (to bind)
water (as needed to bind but I would recommend not adding more than 1/2 teaspoon)
1 t coconut flakes
Blend pecans, almonds, dates, and apricots in a food processor or blender until just chopped. Add coconut, peanut butter, and water as needed, and mold into balls. Fridge for an hour to set. You can also sub any dried fruit or nut if these don’t tickle your taste buds.
I meant to snap a picture of these, but I ate them all before that happened. Too good! :)
Molasses Pecan Bars
Makes four large bars. Can easily been made into smaller bars if desired. These are Mammoth altitude training size :)
1/2 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup oats
1 T molasses
1 T agave
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
water (as needed)
Blend pecans, almonds, and dates in a food processor or blender until just chopped. Add oats, molasses, agave, and peanut butter and mix until just combined. Pulse in food processor, adding water (start with 1/8 t and move up slowly) until mixture starts to stick to sides of the processor/blender. It should be sticky, but not mushy. Add just enough water so the mixture holds together. Take 1/4 of the mixture and place onto a piece of parchment paper. Mold the mix into a bar shape, fold up the sides and place in fridge to set for one hour. Enjoy on the go or before a workout!
I love the parchment paper because it makes for portable, individually wrapped snacks. And if you don’t finish it all you can simply wrap it back up and save it for later!
What is your favorite way to snack?