As the endurance athlete knows, eating well is everything. When you’re hitting rugged trails or banging out race-pace fast laps on the track, you’re burning off calories, sweating out sodium and forcing those muscles to undergo changes to make them stronger and more efficient. To take on high mileage means you have to eat properly– not just to fuel your next challenge, but also to recover from it.
Jennifer Sygo, a Toronto-based sports nutritionist who works with the Canadian track team has given us a good rule of thumb when it comes to eating before the sweat session. “You want to eat enough to be energized but not so much to feel heavy or have digestion problems,” she says.
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There are loads of on-the-go foods for busy runners to achieve exactly that. Whether you need a little mid-morning boost, need something at the ready to ward off the late-run slump or you must stash something in the bag for after the race, we have loads of nutritious options created with the avid runner in mind. On-the-go portable foods are key if you live an active lifestyle. Energize yourself with one of the below options. (Click the links to find out more or get a hold of the recipes.)
These rice balls pictured above are a top portable food recommendation from Sygo. The recipe is created by food blogger and elite Canadian athlete Kim Doerksen. Rice balls have become a staple in the endurance sports world because they are easy to pack and they can be used as an alternative to sports gels. The gooey texture makes them easy to gulp down in an instant. Made with soy sauce, these will replace lost sodium.
CLIF Nut Butter Filled energy bars
CLIF has become a household name in the endurance sports community and for good reason. Their new Nut Butter Filled energy bars and soft and chewy in the inside and come in the yummiest flavours. (Chocolate and peanut butter were made for each other!) If you’re not a peanut person, they also come with almond and hazelnut filling. Oh, and note that they’re made in Canada with organic ingredients. Getting to the technical side of things though, the brand recommends these guys for before or during a lower intensity physical activity. Why the nut butter? Beyond the taste, these ingredients were included in the recipe because they slow the release of carbohydrates to the working muscles to give sustained energy. That means that ideally, a runner can keep at it for longer.
Good ol’ granola. This one is a trail pack classic. When you’re out exploring nature this summer, hunger pangs needs not disrupt your outdoors time. Eliminate distracting growling stomachs by reaching for your old favourite that you know you’ll love. The cinnamon pecan flavour in our recipe adds a fun twist but runners can rest assured knowing that this one won’t cause any commotion in your tummy as you run.
CLIF BLOKS energy chews
You’ve heard it time and time again: when you run, you lose sodium. These energy chews by CLIF pack in twice the amount of sodium for you body’s electrolyte needs. Each BLOK is 30 calories and 33mg of sodium. As it comes in a long wand-like package, the cubes are easy to access when you’re on the move too. Also: they taste great. Raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced a horrible-tasting gel that put a damper on a run or race. Well, we can tell you that the new salted watermelon flavour that CLIF has come out with tastes good enough to satisfy even the toughest of critics out there.
Protein energy bars
It tastes like a dessert and it’s also good for you. Success. Make these on a weekend and wrap them separately for a great on-the-go option to tuck into the gym bag for after your morning run. Highly organized run-commuters also have reason to love this one. Make the recipe once, bring them to the office and you’re good for the week.
Popping one of these into your mouth following a workout is a wise move. For people who don’t love dates, this is likely to become a go-to. Plus, it’s made with three ingredients that most runners just love: peanut butter, chia and flax. Healthy recovery foods that taste this heavenly are here to stay.