Active Cookbook: DIY Sports Nutrition Products
All-Natural Alternative to Sport Chews and Blocks
Date Balls 1 of 11
- 2 cups raw almonds, pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, plus extra
- 2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cut the balls up into quarters and roll in plastic wrap or place into a resealable bag. Tuck into pockets or fuel belt.
Why You Should Make Your Own Sports Drink
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Commercial sports drinks can be great for hydration, fuel and convenience. However, some contain an array of artificial ingredients, they're expensive, and all the plastic bottles come with environmental repercussions.
The nutritional profile of most commercial sports drinks is approximately 50 calories, 14 grams of carbohydrate and 110 grams of sodium per 8-ounce serving.
The following recipe provides a skeleton for how to develop your own sports drink, leaving room for you to add in your own personal preferences.
How Potassium-Rich Foods Aid Hydration
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Potassium is the predominant positively charged electrolyte in body cells. The flow of potassium and sodium in and out of cells maintains the normal functioning of the heart, brain, kidney and skeletal muscles. Potassium is important for muscle contraction and the rhythm of the heart. The majority of potassium in the body is stored within the cells, so small changes in the concentration of potassium in the bloodstream can have serious health consequences.
The most hydrating potassium rich foods are: cantaloupe and celery. Cantaloupe provides 29 calories and is made up of 89 percent water and is an exceptionally good fruit for supporting energy production through its efficient carbohydrate metabolism and ability to keep the blood sugar stable. Celery is considered to be a powerful electrolyte food. As little as 2 to 3 mineral-rich stalks of celery can replenish an athlete's sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc levels after intense exercise.
Make Your Own Energy Gel
Homebrew Power Goop 4 of 11
- 7 and 1/3 tablespoons of honey
- 3/4 teaspoons of blackstrap molasses
- 1/10 teaspoons (just shy of 1/8 tsp) of table salt
Nutritional content approximates: 25g carbs, 45mg sodium, 35mg potassium with plenty of vitamins and minerals that you wouldn't get with the store-bought stuff.
Real Food Alternatives for Training and Racing
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Frozen grapes are just as sweet as candy. They cool your mouth and they're easy to carry. Freeze small bags of grapes and carry them on your long runs. Another fresh fruit snack: watermelon dipped in salt. The watermelon rehydrates you while the salt replenishes your electrolytes. This is a refreshing and satisfying snack that can immediately boost your energy and help you pick up the pace.
Best Road Food for Endurance Athletes
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Trail mix is a versatile snack that can provide quick energy, help ward off hunger between meals, and answer your cravings for a sweet treat. Like any good road food, it's also easy to transport and eat while en route. The key with trail mix is to have the right proportion of nuts-to-fruit-to-chocolate, and to practice good portion control.
- Choose healthy nuts and seeds that are rich in good fats, protein, fiber and antioxidants. Top choices include almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, soy nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
- Dried fruits can help boost the carbohydrate content of any trail mix in addition to providing additional vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Top choices include cranberries, cherries, mango, apricots, dates, figs and raisins.
Recover With No-Bake Protein Bars
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These homemade protein bars pull out all the stops: they're vegan, soy-free, gluten-free and full of what your body needs post-workout—protein and green superfoods.
The bars are simple to make because there's no baking involved. If you can push the button on your food processor and open your freezer (and we're confident in your abilities), you can make this recipe. Try it out.
Post-Run Recovery Shake
Coconut Smoothie 8 of 11
Protein, carbs, and electrolytes make this an ideal drink to add to your post-run nutrition routine.
- 1 11-ounce container coconut water
- 1 cup cherry juice
- 1 scoop unflavored or vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 cup strawberries, frozen
- 1 banana
Calories: 440; Carbs: 70 g; Protein: 27 g; Fat: 2 g
Portable Post-Workout Protein Snacks
Edamame 9 of 11
You can find bags of single-serve edamame in grocery stores or simply fill a cup of shelled or unshelled pods in a resealable bag. Zap the bags in the microwave for a minute or so, and you'll have a protein-rich, low-calorie snack at the ready. Roasted soy nuts also offer a crunchy, low-maintenance snack when hunger strikes. Just make sure to buy a brand with a clean ingredient list.
Superfood Ancient Grains Help Boost Recovery
Farro Almond Blueberry Granola Bar Recipe 10 of 11
Farro, the Italian name for emmer wheat, has a pleasantly chewy texture and nutty flavor, making it ideal as a stand-in for oats in granola bars, white Arborio rice in risotto, slow-cooking oats in oatmeal, and as the starch in room-temperature pasta salads. A one-cup serving of contains both 8 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein as well as vitamins E and B.
Start with a 3:1 ratio of liquid to grain when cooking farro, but keep in mind that semi-pearled and whole farro may require a little more cooking liquid than pearled farro. Similarly, cook times can vary from 25 minutes for pearled farro to 40 minutes for semi-pearled.
- 1 1/2 cups cooked farro
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
- 3 tablespoons canola oil or coconut oil
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped almonds
- 1 cup dried blueberries