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.
No-Bake Nutty Brownies With a Kick1 of 6
1 cup walnuts
1 cup unsalted almonds
1 to 1 1/2 cups pitted dates
1 cup cooked black beans
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon finely ground coffee or espresso
pinch sea salt
powdered sugar for dusting, optional
1. Grind walnuts and almonds in a food processor until they resemble cornmeal. Remove and set aside.
2. Grind dates in the food processor until they are cut into small bits. Add cocoa powder, black beans, coffee and salt and pulse until combined. Add nuts back into food processor and blitz until a dough consistency is achieved. If mixture falls apart when squeezed with your hand, add more dates and process.
3. Line a cake pan with parchment paper. Smooth dough into the pan, flattening the mixture into the pan with your hands. Sprinkle top of brownies with powdered sugar, if desired.
4. Chill in refrigerator until set, at least 1 hour. Store in an airtight container for 2 weeks in the fridge or freeze for up to 2 months.
Date "Milk"shake2 of 6
1/2 cup pitted dates, finely chopped
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup coconut milk ice cream (this vanilla bean frozen dessert works well)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Process the dates and coconut milk in a blender until smooth. Add ice cream and nutmeg and blend on low speed until well combined.
Couscous With Dates, Raisins and Cashews3 of 6
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small shallot, finely minced
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat couscous
1/2 cup toasted cashews or almonds
1/2 cup pitted, chopped dates
1/4 cup golden raisins
1. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, warm olive oil. Add shallots and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add stock, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.
2. Turn off heat. Stir in couscous, put a lid on the pot, and set aside for 10 minutes.
3. Fluff couscous with a fork. Stir in nuts, dates and raisins.
Raw Fruit Crumble4 of 6
2 small ripe peaches, pears, apples or 2 cups mixed berries
1/3 cup pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup pitted dates
pinch sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Dice the fruit (leave berries whole) and place into the bottom of a bowl.
2. In a food processor, pulse nuts until broken into small chunks. Add dates, salt and cinnamon and process until the mixture is crumbly and sticking together.
3. Sprinkle crumble mixture on top of fruit.
Orange Date Muffins5 of 6
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup canola or coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pitted chopped dates
1 cup pecans, walnuts or almonds, chopped (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick baking spray, or line with paper cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Add dates and nuts, if using, and stir to combine.
3. Fill muffins tins 3/4 full and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.