Training fuel can be a tricky bit of magic. Riders need calories, yet can't consume too much or the digestion process will take energy away from the legs and route it back to the stomach. Some riders prefer to eat very little, while others can have steak dinner and walk out the front door for intervals. What's a rider to do?
We've talked with Apex Nutrition's Kelli Jennings and gotten her take on this. She has been specializing in working with endurance athletes and has developed a reputation for using real, available foods as perfect food source for before, during, and after time on the bike. One of her favorites is mixing peanut butter powder, coconut oil, and chia seeds into a paste-like mixture, to be eaten just before a ride, race, or training session.
Peanut butter powder is just what the name implies; it's powdered peanut butter. Removing the liquid (oil) from the peanut butter leaves is virtually fat free, but with all the flavor. Coconut oil is a super food. It doesn't require any internal chemistry before it can be utilized for energy and brings in some healthy fats. Chia seeds add in some protein to keep hunger from coming in quickly. There is some theory that once consumed, the chia takes on a gelatinous consistency that absorbs the body's toxins. Finally, raw organic honey adds in some simple carbs and some great sweet flavor (use raw, organic honey only).
If you like Reese's peanut butter cups, then you'll like this. The flavor is sweet, peanut buttery, and very tasty.
We wanted to make this more portable, and while the mix can be refrigerated and rolled into balls, that requires an extra step in the process. We modified the process to create "pb/chia cups".
We picked up some small, .5 oz silicon cups. Once the ingredients are mixed (it helps to microwave for 20 seconds to melt the honey), we "grease" the cups with a bit of coconut oil. Then, pour the mix into two cups and refrigerate over night. In just a couple of hours, they're solid and firm and can easily be popped out of the cups. If you plan to take them to a race, pack them in a zip lock bag in your cooler near the ice – they can get soft and melt.
For races, we'll eat 1 cup 30 minutes before a race. For a morning training ride, we'll have one as we head out the door since we can use the first 15 minutes as a warm up and not worry too much about digestion time.
PB CHIA CUPS
- 3 tbsp peanut butter powder
- we like the brand "Just Great Stuff" available on Amazon
- 1 tbsp virgin/unprocessed coconut oil
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp raw organic honey
- .5 tbsp water (optional)
- Put these into a bowl and microwave for 10-15 seconds or until the honey melts.
- Stir and pour into the cups greased with a bit of coconut oil.
- Refrigerate over night.
Depending on the brands of ingredients, two .5 oz cups will provide:
More healthy recipes can be found at Apex Nutrition.