Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Power Snacks to Go

Power to go: Portable Sunbutter in 1.1 oz  On the Go Snack Packs and 1.5 oz cups.

The best workout you'll ever do is the one that's properly fueled.  If you're like me, however, you might not be able to handle something heavy right before your morning walk, run or bicycle ride.  A protein shake is about all I can down when the sun rises.  I'm a bit more focused on hydration over eating a lot before I exercise.
Once you are out there, it's important to have something a bit more substantial to help you back!  Bonking on a hill or at the gym in the middle of a set or spinning class is a waste.  You're not going to see those substantial muscle and power gains if you have to quit in the middle of the activity.

Save the hearty breakfast for when you get back.
I usually save plans for a hearty breakfast for later in the morning and make my protein shakes with a tablespoon of Natural Sunbutter Organic Sunflower Seed Spread . That's usually good enough for me to do a round trip bicycle ride of just under 10 miles.  Beyond that, I'll need some serious reinforcements so the Sunbutter On the Go Snack Packs and a few graham crackers are super easy to pack.  These store neatly in my rear bicycle trunk and don't need refrigeration.  
Hot Tip:  If I'm riding with cyclists with peanut allergies, I'm ready to share as Sunbutter is peanut & tree nut free.

Walking / Running
GU Peanut Butter Energy Gels in my Dart TLS
If I'm out for a walk, the main thing I want to have along is water so my Mountainsmith Dart TLS has that covered with it's own BPA-Free water bottle.  Since I don't walk as far as I ride, I'm not going to be out that long and only require a power gel for emergencies.  I just got introduced to GU Energy Gels this summer and really like their Peanut Butter and Chocolate Outrage.  They are caffeine free and the Peanut Butter flavor is made with real peanut butter and offers 1 gram of protein.  Both the PB and Chocolate Rage have 100% of your vitamin C and vitamin E requirements satisfied.  The GU's are good!  Not too sweet, they will get you home without calling the sag wagon.

Protein & Omega 3 Fatty Acids
In addition to taking along the ubiquitous packet of tuna, you can now carry along sardines too!  I found these right in the canned fish isle at the supermarket.  Sardines are rich in protein, calcium and omega 3 fatty acids.  All of these nutrients help with muscle strength, inflammation and recovery.  So don't worry about the fishy smell on the road.  The packet is as easy to dispose of as your energy gel pack and work well for times when you don't want something very sweet.  Just remember to bring along some crackers!

Healthy(er) Knockoffs of Old Favorites
Unreal Peanut Butter Cups & Manuka Newtons
Someone told me that if you are really hungry and you don't have too many choices except for candy and chips, get a Snickers Bar.  Now before everyone starts screaming "high fructose corn syrup", I'm talking about an emergency!  Let it be said however that one man survived quite well off of just that, buried in a snow bank during a blizzard.  Picky eaters usually don't survive too long so it's all about choices or lack of too many.

Unreal Peanut Butter Cups
DIY Peanut Butter Cup
These are supposed to be the healthy answer to the old Reese's standby.  The difference is that they contain more natural ingredients and no corn sweetener.  They are not as sweet as the Reese's which is noteworthy and perhaps if you hadn't eaten THE original peanut butter cup, these might be fine. 
I would rather save the mess, (they melted during the photo shoot) and simply spread some Nutella and Sunbutter on a graham cracker and be done with it.

Manuka Newtons by NOW
As the name implies, these are made with New Zealand's Manuka honey (first ingredient) and a Chia seed filling with mixed
fruit concentrates of pear, pineapple, apple and peach. 

We tried the strawberry filled Manuka Newtons which were a little dry but really delicious overall.  These are soft-baked so I wouldn't go running or cycling with them in my jersey's rear pocket.  Manuka Newtons are gluten free have 4 grams of fiber and no trans fats. I really like Fig Newtons but didn't feel let down eating these.  I felt better knowing Manuka Newtons are all natural and loaded with nutritious chia seeds.

The main things you want in an energy snack are: portability, quick & sustained energy, natural ingredients, replenishment of calcium, electrolytes (sodium & sugar), easy to digest, reduction of inflammation.

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