Recipes for Athletes: 5 Energy-Boosting Vegan Recovery Snacks Made With Dates

When training for a long distance endurance event, such as a marathon, Ironman or century ride, part of your training will include runs, rides or swims that will deplete the glycogen (sugar) your muscles have stored. The key to bouncing back quickly after these energy-sapping sessions is to replenish those spent glycogen stores by consuming carbohydrates as soon as you can stomach the fuel. Post-workout, high-glycemic carbs provide the quickest way to replace the sugar your muscles need to prep for your next training session.

A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology had two groups of cyclists ride hard until they depleted their glycogen stores (about 2 hours at 75 percent effort) twice over two weeks. One group was given low-glycemic foods immediately after the workout and then four, eight and 21 hours post-exercise, and the other group was given high-glycemic foods at the same intervals. Blood samples and muscle biopsies revealed that the high-glycemic carbs group had the most rapid increase in muscle glycogen in the 24-hour post-workout period.

You're probably familiar with this study and this study, which tout chocolate milk as an ideal recovery aid. But, if you're lactose-intolerant, vegan, don't enjoy the taste of this sweet beverage or simply want more variety in your post-workout meal plan, these date-filled, fiber-rich recipes can help.

Dates have a high glycemic load, a measurement that takes into account both the amount of carbs in a food and how those carbs impact blood sugar levels. A food's glycemic load is determined by multiplying its glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrates it contains. When combined with a little protein and some extra carbs, dates can provide a satisfying snack that will restock your energy stores so you can be ready to tackle your next workout.

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