Snack Break! Healthy, Energy-Filled Snacks for a Mid-Race Boost

While it is crucial to fuel your body with healthy foods (preferably wholesome carbohydrates) and water before a competition, you may also need to eat something DURING the competition. Specifically addressing winter sports, you may have a few different races one afternoon where you need some sort of energy boost in between. While a hearty lunch immediately preceding a race will most likely leave you tired and sluggish, a small snack is a perfect way to calm your growling stomach and provide sufficient energy. Your snacks should consist of foods that are high in healthy carbohydrates. Most foods contain carbohydrates, but it’s important to recognize which ones are healthier for you. Processed and refined carbohydrates (things like potato chips, white bread, baked goods, etc.) do not have the health benefits that carbohydrates full of fiber have. Foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans are examples of “good”, fibrous, carbohydrates. Instead of causing spikes in blood sugar, our bodies absorb them slowly so that the nutrients are utilized (webmd.com). Below is a list of snacks that would be great to eat between races:

  • Banana
    • Add a dollop of peanut butter if you are extra hungry
  • Raisins
    • A handful of raisons is a quick energy boost if you only have a few moments to spare
  • Nuts
  • Energy bar
    • If you choose to buy them at the grocery store, be sure to READ THE LABELS. Look for a bar that has a short list of ingredients, high carbohydrate count, and not too many calories (<250 calories is optimal).
    • Below are a few simple recipes that make homemade energy bars that are easy to pack for on-the-go race snacks!

No Bake Chewy Granola Bars

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups quick-cooking oats

1 cup ancient-grain cereal blend (such as Cheerios + Ancient Grains)

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup chopped unsalted pistachios

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup chopped pitted dates

Cooking spray

 Preparation

  1. Combine first 6 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl.
  2. Combine peanut butter, honey, and dates in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook 3 minutes or until peanut butter melts, stirring frequently.
  3. Pour peanut butter mixture over oat mixture; stir well to combine. Spread mixture into an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray; press firmly to form a compact, even layer. Place pan in freezer for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer, and cut into 12 bars.

Recipe can be found here:

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/no-bake-chewy-granola-bars

3-Ingredient Energy Bars (Requires a food processor)

Ingredients
1 cup nuts
1 cup dried fruit
1 cup (12-15 whole) pitted dried dates

Preparation

  1. Roast the nuts (optional).Nuts can be used raw or roasted; roasting will add a toasty, nutty depth to the bars. If desired, roast the nuts at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, until fragrant and golden. Allow to cool before using.
  2. Combine the nuts, dried fruit, and dates in a food processor.Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse a few times just to break them up. Separate the dates if they start to clump together.
  3. Process continuously for 30 seconds.By this point, the ingredients should all have broken down into crumb-sized pieces. Scrape the edges of the bowl and beneath the blade to make sure nothing is sticking.
  4. Process continuously until a ball is formed, 1 to 2 minutes.Continue processing for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the ingredients clump together and gather into a ball.
  5. Press into a thick square and chill.Lay a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper on your work surface and dump the dough on top. Press the dough with your hands until it forms a thick square, roughly 8"x8" in size. Wrap and chill for at least an hour or overnight.
  6. Divide into bars.Unwrap the chilled dough and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 8 large bars or 16 small squares, as desired. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap or wax paper.
  7. Store the bars.Store the bars in the fridge for several weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months. The bars can be eaten straight from the fridge or freezer and will be firm, but chewy. Room-temperature bars are perfectly fine to eat and can be kept in a lunch bag or backpack all day, but will be more soft and paste-like.

 

Recipe can be found here:

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-easy-3-ingredient-energy-bars-at-home-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-184306

For more information on good and bad carbohydrates, see here:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/carbohydrates?page=1