In our recent podcast on Talk Canicross, we chatted with Food Mentor, Ali Migliorini about her top nutrition tips to fuel your long Canicross runs. If you would like to listen to that episode you can find it here: Talk Canicross
Ali gives her top tips for keeping energised on a long run and you can also find her excellent recipe for Banana and Oatmeal energy bars at the bottom of this post.
Ali Migliorini-Stubbs, Food Mentor @CookSimplyCook:
Canicrossing energy requirements can partly be met by having a balanced diet but you also need a balanced lifestyle too. Aim to combine both dietary and lifestyle choices – this will help you keep your energy levels high throughout your Canicross runs.
1. HYDRATION IS KEY
– it’s an essential part of any runner’s plan. Staying hydrated boosts performance as well as minimises joint pain and injuries. Watch what you drink though – refined sugary drinks can cause tummy upset and inflammation. If in doubt – drink plain/mint + cucumber or berry fruit infused water or coconut water which is naturally low in calories and sugar, yet rich in electrolytes so makes for a perfect alternative. Remember to have trialled everything beforehand in your training sessions. If it helps – keep a Food + Drink Diary to see what’s working for you.
2. GET THE RIGHT BALANCE OF NUTRIENTS
– Consuming good carbs, proteins and fats are essential. A regular runner will need approx 40% carbs, 30% protein
+ 30% fats. Longer distances – up the carbs to 55%, 25% protein + 20% fats. Proteins are always essential for recovery.
3. ENSURE YOU EAT SUFFICIENT CALORIES BUT CHOOSE THE GOOD STUFF
– As a runner there’s a big difference between watching what you eat and not taking on enough fuel. For longer distances you’ll need to up your calorie intake slightly but choose consistent whole foods – Quinoa, brown, red, black rice, wholewheat pastas, oats and a selection of legumes – beans, chickpeas, cannellini, black beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, fruits – especially bananas + mixed berries, veggies, meats, fish and vegan proteins like tempeh and tofu. Fermented
foods especially are a key healthy and functional component in any everyday diet but especially that of a runner. If you can, include as many of the following – kefir, yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh.
4. PREPARE YOUR OWN FOOD AND DRINK IN ADVANCE
– empower yourself by prepping ahead. Knowing exactly what has gone into your fuel will bring both mental and physical appreciation equaling nourishment on many levels which will reflect in your overall performance.
5. CONSUME SNACKS ON LONGER RUNS
– Great natural alternatives – medjool dates loaded with nuts or nut/seed butters, homemade granola bars including a foundation of oats + good honey, cubed cheese, bite-sized hummus wraps, quality dark chocolate, bananas, veggies like cucumber + carrot sticks. Some runners prefer easier-to-digest calories such as energy gels, chews and sports drinks but you need to have road tested these in training. Take heed – yes they provide quick calories for energy but with little follow up for recovery.
6. BE KIND TO YOUR BODIES – REST UP AND SLEEP MORE
– Resting and sleep is when the body is able to recover from a session and top up our energy reserves. Keep moving but drop down the intensity – aim for 7-9 hours of sleep before your longer run. Accompany rest and sleep with nourishing eats and that’ll get your running energy levels soaring!
ALI MIGLIORINI @ Cooksimplycook
BANANA + OATMEAL ENERGY BARS
*GLUTEN FREE / DAIRY FREE / REFINED SUGAR FREE
➢ DATES – Great source of antioxidants *Antioxidants help prevent free radicals from damaging cells. Found in many fruits + vegetables, as well as natural supplements. Fresh or dried, contain many healing antioxidants / can be good for blood sugar balance / have a low glycemic impact / can help reduce blood pressure / contain a brain booster /help maintain bone mass / good fibre.
➢ WALNUTS – Rich in Antioxidants / super plant source of Omega-3s / may decrease inflammation / promote healthy gut / brain food / may reduce some cancer risk / support weight control / help manage Type 2 Diabetes + lower risk / can help lower blood pressure.
➢ OATS – Incredibly nutritious + cheap / rich in antioxidants / contain powerful soluble fibre called Beta-Glucan so great for gut + bowel health / can lower cholesterol levels + protect from damage / can improve blood sugar control / very filling so can assist with losing weight by keeping you fuller for longer.
➢ QUINOA FLAKES – Gluten Free + very nutritious / contain powerful plant compounds / very high in fibre / very high in protein with all the essential Amino Acids / has a low GI which is great for blood sugar.
➢ UNSWEETENED COCONUT FLAKES – high fibre content as well as significant amounts of iron + potassium. Despite being high in saturated fat, coconut is cholesterol-free + low in sodium.
➢ BANANAS – good source of Vitamin C / contain manganese which is good for skin + potassium / good for heart health + blood pressure / aid digestion + assist gut issues / provide natural energy less fats + cholesterol.
➢ CINNAMON/MACA POWDER/RAW CACAO POWDER + NIBS (unground raw cacao) – Cinnamon – loaded with antioxidants / contains anti-inflammatory properties / may cut risk of heart disease / can improve sensitivity to Insulin hormone / lowers blood sugar levels. Maca Powder – stabilise + increase energy + moods levels / reduce blood pressure / help combat sun damage. Raw Cacao + nibs – reduces inflammation, better blood flow, lowers blood pressure +
improves cholesterol + blood sugar levels.
BANANA + OATMEAL ENERGY BARS
Prep Time: 10 mins / Cook Time: 30 mins / Total Time: 40 mins
Yield: 12 small squares
100g pitted dates – medjool dates will be even richer / 100g walnuts, halved / 100g rolled oats OR quinoa flakes for GF version / 50g unsweetened coconut flakes / 2 ripe bananas approx. 200g / 1 tsp ground cinnamon / pinch sea salt.
Optional additions – Raw cacao nibs, goji berries, extra helping of cinnamon or nutmeg, heaped tblspn raw cacao powder for a deeper richer chocolate flavour OR same of maca powder for a richer maltier taste – all natural ingredients that bring more to the party on the nutritional rap sheet.
Ingredients can be adapted to suit tastes but this is a great foundation for a nourishing refined sugar free fix for those sugar monsters out there + can accommodate different food allergy requirements.
THE HOW TO:
★ Preheat oven @ 180°C. Prepare a square 20cm baking tray.
★ Place dates into food processor OR by hand finely chop + place in bowl.
★ To date – add crushed walnuts, oats (or quinoa for GF option), coconut flakes, mashed
bananas, cinnamon + sea salt + any other additional ingredients as above.
★ BLEND or mix well together with a fork to form a mushy mass. This is lovely to eat at this stage
with yoghurt or milk + some berries for a speedy breakfast bowl or pre-post workout. Else to
create the bars – follow the last steps.
★ Pour mixture into baking tray + spread evenly then score squares then place in oven.
★ Bake approx 30 minutes or until edges brown + leave to cool.
★ Cut along scored lines + remove from baking tray. Eat or store in an airtight container. These
will last a good few days(!!!) but will also freeze really well if batch cooking.
FOOD IS MEDICINE