Cherry Ripe trail bars

I’m a big fan of keeping things simple. I guess it’s one of the things I like about running, it’s pretty straight forward – right, left, repeat. It does get more complicated than that at times, but as a general rule, you don’t need much kit and you can get somewhere without too much hassle. When you are running longer distances, things naturally become a bit more complicated. Where can I get a drink of water, do I need to carry a jacket or a phone or something to eat? Of course, we runners refer to the former as ‘hydration’ and the latter as ‘nutrition’, but it all means the same thing, water and food. There’s a vast array of awesome products on the market that fall under the category of ‘nutrition’ for runners. They come in all shapes and sizes and meet the specific needs of different groups like vegetarians, vegans and paleo people. ‘Nutrition’ is now readily available, you can get Power Bars and all sort of things at Coles or Aldi. Bars generally have a good amount of energy per serve and are easy to carry on your runs. Energy bars though are generally not cheap and you have to check the ingredients. An energy bar packed with ‘carbohydrate fuel’ can easily cost three or four dollars and can contain a load of everyone’s current enemy number 1, sugar. Sugar is so evil right now. They even teach the kids at kindergarten like my son Joshua that unless food has natural sugar, it’s bad. Some kindergartens will even send the evil morning tea home to the negligent parents. I personally think it’s a good message to get to the kids at an early age, but it can create challenges for some parents who are a bit time poor.

I’ve been experimenting with some different bars that would work as good running fuel. The rules for these things are generally straight forward – it has to be easy to make, have good ingredients, be easy to transport and easy to get down when you’re on the go. I find that dates make an excellent base for most of these bars. Dates are tasty, cheap and easy to use and form the basis for Cherry Ripe trail bars.

Cherry Ripe trail bars

Cherry Ripe trail bars

Ingredients – 250gm dates, 125 grams of coconut, 200 grams of glace cherries, 2 tbs cocoa.

Method – blitz the dates in your Thermo or food processor at high speed for about 30 seconds or until they form a paste. Add the coconut and cherries and blitz on pulse a couple of times until they mix in, not too much or the cherries go to mush. Pour it all in a loaf tin lined with paper, push it down flat and bung it in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Cut into slices. Keep them frozen or in the fridge.

As well as being killer trail food, this is an awesome recipe if you have to take something for morning tea to work and haven’t been to the shops or if you are trying to impress a lactose intolerant, gluten-free vegan. You can knock it up in the morning before you go to work in a couple of minutes. To carry them when you run, wrap them in alfoil or put them in a ziplock. Enjoy!

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Choko smoothies

One of the most important lessons I have learned over the last year is that of good post-training nutrition and hydration. It’s critical to get some good carbs and water in during the 45 minute window after your session. I’ve found that since I have improved my diet in this area, I recover better, have less soreness and generally feel better.

I have a few a couple of favourite post-training drinks that I enjoy, chocolate milk being one. Recently though I have started having smoothies because it is coming into summer and I prefer something a bit less milky than my chocky milk.  I also like the extra nutrients and fibre that you can include in your home made smoothies. My sister Nicole sent me an awesome recipe guide for green smoothies that got me started. I like it because it has a lot of options depending on how you are feeling or what you like to include in your drink. Image

Generally, I like to keep things really simple and don’t always find that I have the full range of ingredients for a lot of recipes. We often don’t have spinach for example or leafy greens, mainly because the boys are not super keen on eating them. For this recipe I use ingredients that I always have around. I planted a choko vine a couple of years ago and it is growing happily on my front fence so I always have a supply of nice green leaves. Choko leaves are not usually eaten (or are chokos so much any more). The leaves though are very eatable, high in fibre and full of nutrients. Plus the choko leaves give your smoothie that lovely shade of green that makes the drink look and seem healthy. I make this as soon as I get home from a run and drink it straight away.

Choko smoothie

  • 6 young choko leaves
  • One banana (frozen or from the fridge)
  • One green apple or pear (cold)
  • 250 mls of water.
  • 4 ice cubes.
  • You can add a scoop of protein, a handful of cashews or half a cup of oats want to boost the protein content. This will also give you a slightly thicker consistency in your drink.

Blend on speed 8 in your Thermomix or blender for about a minute. Drink and enjoy.

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I hope you enjoy the drink. Happy trails.