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Fuel for Your Workouts with These Simple Recipes

Woman trail running through the woods

It’s well understood that the miles you log during training can help you reach your running goals or prepare you for race day, but did you know that most of your fitness gains are made during your recovery period? It’s this critical time between training sessions that you need to provide your body the right nutrients, at the right time, in the right amounts, to make the most of your hard efforts.

So, what are the best foods to eat after a run? Carbohydrates to restore depleted glycogen stores, protein to rebuild and repair muscles and micronutrients (electrolytes, vitamins and minerals) to replenish what you lose in sweat.

Consuming quality nutrition will help you make the most of your training and refuel your body for the next workout. Your eating also affects how quickly you recover, which could be the difference between bouncing back for another hard effort or ending your run early.

Try some of these athlete-inspired recipes to better reap the rewards of your training.

Runners stretching before a workout

Carrot Cake Overnight Oats

The benefits: Fuel up before a longer workout with complex carbs (oats) and just enough protein (recovery or protein powder) and healthy fats (flax, nuts, coconut) to keep you satisfied but not stuffed. Plus, it cooks itself while you sleep, so breakfast is ready the minute you wake up.

Pro tip: When you're on the road, take packets of instant oats + recovery drink mix or protein powder for one of the easiest, no-fuss pre-race meals you can make!

Amount

Ingredient

1/3 c.

Rolled oats

1 tbsp.

Flaxseed Meal

1/2 serving

Vanilla recovery drink mix or protein powder

1/4 c.

Carrot, grated

1/8 tsp.

Ginger

1/4 tsp.

Cinnamon

3/4 c.

Almond Milk, unsweetened (or milk of choice)

Optional

Chopped nuts, shredded coconut, maple syrup, fruit

Instructions:

  1. Mix oats, flax meal, protein/recovery powder, ginger and cinnamon together until evenly distributed.
  2. Add grated carrot and almond milk.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Place in a container with a lid and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. Before eating, top with your favorite add-ins (almonds, maple syrup if you want sweetness, fresh fruit, etc.).
Group of people trail running on a ridge

Gluten-Free Peachy Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

The Benefits: A gluten-free breakfast option that delivers complex carbs (quinoa), is easy to digest and tastes great. Plus, it’s warming and satisfying, which makes it an excellent cool-weather choice.

Quinoa packs its own protein punch (8 grams per cup), so the breakfast bowl will keep you feeling fueled throughout the day. The almonds add healthy fat, fiber and the antioxidant vitamin E. Make it ahead and reheat in the morning for an alternative to traditional hot cereals.

Amount

Ingredient

1 cup

Uncooked quinoa

2 cups

Almond milk, unsweetened

¼ tsp

Allspice, ground

1 pinch

Sea salt

1 ½ cups

Sliced fresh or frozen peaches

2 tbsp

Flaxseed, ground

2 tbsp

Chopped almonds

Drizzle

Honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Thoroughly wash and drain uncooked quinoa.
  2. Place quinoa, almond milk, allspice, salt and peaches in a medium saucepan.
  3. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  4. Reduce heat, cover and continue to simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed.
  5. Fluff quinoa with a fork. Divide into four bowls and serve topped with ground flaxseed and chopped nuts. Drizzle with honey, maple syrup or agave nectar, if desired.

Roxanne Vogel is a sports nutritionist at GU Energy Labs. When she's not crafting sports fuels, she's running trails, tackling ultramarathons or summiting the world's tallest mountains.

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