This month we’re focusing on feeding the cool kids who do insane amounts of exercise, like run the Two Oceans Marathon or cycle around the Cape Peninsula.
But even if you’re not as crazy as them, it’s always good to know what to feed your body when living an active lifestyle.
This easy snack recipe will help pick you up after an intense training session. It’s important to eat enough protein to build up the muscles that have been used during exercise. Nitrogen found in protein and by upping your protein intake after a workout, you’ll create a positive nitrogen balance which results in muscle gain and repair. These home-made protein bars are packed with power and are ridiculously easy to make.
After work out sweet spot: make sure you eat within 30 minutes to get the most out of the workout and remember to drink plenty of water after you workout to replace the fluids lost during exercise.
Homemade Peanut Butter Protein Bars
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cost per portion: R3.50
- 3 small apples, peeled and cored
- 125ml water
- 90ml crunchy peanut butter
- 125ml golden syrup
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 5ml vanilla essence
- 440ml quick cooking oats
- 30ml protein powder (Or meal replacement powder)
- Pinch salt
Equipment: Saucepan, sieve, baking tray (20cm x 15cm)
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
2. Prepare your baking tray by greasing the bottom and sides.
3. Cut the apple into pieces and place in the saucepan with the water, simmer until soft.
4. Push the apple through the sieve to make apple puree, set aside.
5. Mix the oats, a pinch of salt and protein powder in a bowl.
6. In a separate bowl, combine the egg white, 30ml apple puree, syrup and peanut butter. Stir until blended.
7. Stir liquids into dry ingredients until blended. The consistency will be thick similar to cookie dough.
8. Spread the dough evenly in your baking tray.
9. Bake until edges are crisp and browned – approximately 15-20 minutes.
10. Cut into 10 bars and store in airtight container or freeze.
Top tip: for a moister bar, add more apple puree.
Extra yum: drizzle with melted carob or dark chocolate for a little something extra.
Carbohydrates – love ‘em or hate them, they are necessary when getting ready for long-distance exercise. Carbohydrates are little energy banks - the sugar in carbohydrates is converted to Glycogen which is released during exercise. Once your glycogen stores run dry, energy levels drop and you’ll get tired quickly. If you are enduring a marathon, epic run or cross-country cycle – remember to start carbo-loading a day or two in advance – carbohydrates take at least two hours to digest.
Long distance or endurance training primarily requires healthy fats, however carbohydrates are essential to the digestion and efficiency of fats used for energy. It takes your body longer to breakdown fats, so carbohydrates assist in the fat burning cycle and provide your body with energy while it digests. If you have no carbohydrates stored up, your body will start using any available proteins for energy, and this often results in muscle loss.
Here are some top tips when it comes to carbo-loading:
Pasta is great for carbo-loading but because of the high GI will not keep you as full for as long. The solution is to convert your pasta into a low GI food. Here’s how:
1. Cook pasta as per packet instructions.
2. Once cooked, run under cold water until completely cooled.
3. Reheat by pouring clean, boiling water over the pasta or heating in the microwave.
The Glycaemic Index gives us an indication of how quickly starchy foods raise the sugar levels in our blood. The higher the GI, the quicker the sugars are released into your blood stream and prompt the production of Insulin which converts the sugars to energy. The problem with high GI foods is that the faster that this process occurs, the more likely your body is to convert the energy to fat. It also means that in an hour or so you’ll experience a sugar low and feel rather yucky about yourself.
When carbo-loading, it’s a great idea to top your pasta with healthy fats and lean proteins – both will help lower the GI of your meal. Healthy fats include mono and poly-unsaturated fats high in Omega 3 and Omega 6.
Omega 3: fish, seeds, walnuts, canola oil, soya beans, eggs
Omega 6: Sunflower oil, Grapeseed oil, sesames, margarine, salad dressing, mayonnaise
Poly-unsaturated fats: nuts (macadamia, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews), olives, peanut butter, avocado.
Lean protein: chicken breasts, ostrich, tuna, salmon, turkey
Stay away from processed foods, high fats and too much fibre
High fats: fried food, burgers, bacon and fast food. The fat digests slowly and will make you feel heavy and bloated.
Fibre: food high in fibre can cause cramps before a race therefore limit the amount of fibre you eat. Be careful of eating too much whole-grain foods, beans, prunes or broccoli.
So, there you have it – the fuel you need to go, go, go!