Every runner knows the dilemma of trying to figure out what to eat before a run. Sure, you definitely want something substantial enough to help you power through the miles, and portable so you can eat while you're lacing up your shoes, but opt for a breakfast or snack that's too heavy and you set yourself up for potential cramping mid-way. Something that will help nix this problem in the bud: An oatmeal bars recipe that has the perfect balance of protein, carbs, and fiber.
It's a solution runner, registered dietitian, and Cook, Eat, Run author Charlie Watson, RD, has come to not only rely on, but love eating. After experimenting in the kitchen with different fillings, she's perfected an oatmeal bars recipe made with rolled oats, banana, raspberries, blueberries, and a few more key ingredients.
"The bars' staple ingredient is oats, a sometimes underrated superfood for runners," Watson says. "These complex carbs break down gradually, releasing their energy slowly to help keep your blood glucose levels stable. This is particularly useful for endurance runners, as the carbs will break down to glucose and become available to the body to use throughout your run, rather than all in one burst. They also contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber that enhances the body's immune system, helps stabilize appetite, and may reduce levels of LDL cholesterol."
The fruit Watson uses is purposeful both in terms of taste and function, too. Bananas are a good source of potassium, which helps with muscle recovery, and the berries are full of antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation. "I've used the bananas for a bit of sweetness in these oat bars instead of adding sugars or sweeteners to the mix," Watson adds.
Of course, Watson says pre-run isn't the only time they can be enjoyed. "[They] can be made on the weekend and used throughout the week for a delicious brekkie to eat on the go, during your commute, or even at your desk," she says. "Refuel after a morning workout or prepare for one later in the day with these filling bars."
Oatmeal bars recipe
2 2⁄3 cups rolled oats
1 large banana, thoroughly mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 medium egg, whisked
1 cup milk of your choice
2 Tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup raspberries
1 1/4 cup blueberries
2. Put one cup of the oats into a food processor and process to a flour.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the banana, vanilla extract, egg, milk, and oil until well combined. Stir in the oat flour and the remaining oats, cinnamon and baking powder, before folding in the berries.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the mixture is set. Remove from the oven and let cool in the tin before slicing into 12 bars.
5. Store the remaining bars in the refrigerator and consume within one week. Alternatively, wrap each bar individually and freeze, then defrost overnight as needed.
Watch the video to see how to make Paleo bread, another nutrient-rich breakfast or snack:
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