Top Runner’s Fuel at Trader Joe’s

FFK Top Runner Fuel from Trader Joes

Here at the Fearless Flying Kitchen, we just love strapping on our sneakers and running for a ridiculously long time. In order to do that though, you need to fuel your your body with enough energy to keep you going. Most runners rely on simple, easily digested carbohydrates to help provide the energy that is needed on long runs. Runners also need to focus on hydration, both from water and also replacing electrolytes (like sodium and potassium) that are lost in sweat, which help with water retention.

Most runners are familiar with the brands of runner’s food, like Stinger, Gu, Gatorade, etc. and while they are definitely a part of our running fuel plan, we sometimes like to think (and eat) outside the box.  However, we went on a mission at Trader Joe’s to find fuel for runs, as well as great foods for pre and post workouts.


Caramel Bites (Stroopwafels)

Caramel Bites from Trader Joe's

These delicious mini-waffles filled with caramel come from Holland. They are very similar to the Honey Stinger Waffle brand products and are easily digestible. We love having these as pre-race fuel, about 15-30 minutes before a long run.


19 Cent Bananas!

IMG_3185

Bananas at Trader Joe’s are a steal! You really can’t beat the price at 19 cents per banana. Granted, most races provide bananas at the finish line, this is a great item to have on hand at home to give your body a boost of potassium.


Scandinavian Swimmers

IMG_3177

One of our favorite treats, both on the road and off. At least when we are running, our bodies are using them immediately. We normally chew on sports beans or gummy bears on long runs when you want something to chew on. This is a great option that doesn’t have artificial colorings or harmful preservatives.


Freeze Dried Bananas

IMG_3176

This is a great, not messy option to bring on the road with you. Lots of sugar, lots of potassium, all quickly absorbed for energy while you are running.


Manzanita Olives

IMG_3172

Who here sweats? WE DO! Normally, if you are running in hot weather, or aren’t adapted to conserve sodium, you will likely loose a lot of sodium in your salty sweat. Sodium is very important for runners because it helps retain water, and loosing too much sodium in sweat can upset the fluid balance in your body. This super salty snack is portable in individual packs, perfect for taking on a hot, trail run.


Trail Mix

IMG_3173

Healthy fats and sugars and protein – Oh my! We love trail mix for a post-run recovery snack. Trail mix has a nice blend of protein, carbohydrate and fat that will help your body rebuild protein and glycogen stores. Trader Joe’s has so many varieties of Trail Mix to suit your taste buds. When we want a basic and healthy mix, we’ll go with theGo Raw Trek Mix. When we want some chocolate in the mix? Tempting Trail Mix (although not the best for transporting). The best part? Individual bags to take on the go!


Date and Nut Bars

IMG_3174

Again with the post run fuel – Very similar nutritionally to trail mix, just blended together into a bar (or, bite) form. This is similar to Lara bars, but with chia seed (Omega 3!)


Beef Jerky

IMG_2759

While this might not seem like the best fuel for runners, I find that at around mile 17, the simple carbohydrate fuel just doesn’t settle well in my stomach. I start to crave savory foods and chewing. Beef Jerky is a great option, because it is salty, tastes savory, and you can chew it for a while (you could even spit it out if you really wanted to, but it is so delicious, why?)


Other important things you’ll find on the aisles of Trader Joe’s

  • Bottled Water – Such a great deal. Comes in a variety of sizes to meet all your hydration needs.
  • Chocolate Milk – My favorite post-run recovery drink. The perfect blend of protein and carbohydrates.
  • Pasta Noodles (Imported from Italy!) – Pasta is a great way to carb-up the night before a big run. It’s always good to choose something with lots of carbs and not a lot of fat, so a pasta with a marinara sauce is preferential to a pizza loaded with cheese and fatty meats or a macaroni and cheese type of meal.
  • Honey Nut O’s – This is my favorite pre-long-run breakfast. It’s the only thing that doesn’t disrupt my tummy. However, everyone is different and tolerates foods differently.

Honey Raisin Oat Bran Muffins

Honey Oat Bran Muffins FFK

 

I love me a good Bran Muffin.

…and we’re not talking the healthy kind! The more the honey and sugar to disguise the bran, the better. It’s for this reason, my bran muffin consumption usually falls in the “special occasion” category.

BUT WHAT IF I WANT THEM ALL THE TIME?!?!

That’s where this recipe comes in. I found a Mimi’s copy-cat recipe on the internet, and made many tweaks to get the nutritional profile to a range that I would feel comfortable with calling this “breakfast” as opposed to “dessert.”

Some of the changes included swapping the regular flour for my favorite 100% White Whole Wheat Flour, swapping out the oil for a mix of melted butter and mashed banana, and drastically changed the glaze entirely (that one was painful).  I also added some extra flavor in the form of vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice.

Is it nearly as decadent as I am use to? No. But is it a whole lot healthier and tasty enough for me to enjoy? Absolutely.

This would pair really nicely with Vanilla Greek Yogurt and Berries for breakfast…and Coffee…Of course.

Honey Oat Bran Ingredients FFK

Honey Raisin Oat Bran Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup 100% White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Oat bran
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 3/4 cup Buttermilk (or milk + 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp Melted Butter
  • 1/2 Mashed Banana
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Raisins
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1 Egg
  • Glaze:
    • 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
    • 2 Tbsp Honey
    • 1 Tbsp Hot Water

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix first five ingredients (the dry ingredients)
  • In a separate bowl, combine the next seven ingredients (the wet ingredients).
  • Create a well in the dry ingredients, and mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated (don’t overwork this).
  • Grease muffin tin (I use the coconut oil spray), and place ~ 1 Tbsp of batter into each section. Should be 1/2-3/4 full.
  • Bake for ~ 20  minutes. While muffins are baking, whisk together all glaze ingredients in a separate bowl
  • Remove while warm and place on a plate. Cover with glaze (about 1/2 tbsp per muffin). Glaze will fall down the top of the muffin and gather at the bottom of the muffin.
  • Best when consumed immediately and piping hot!

The Mean Green Smoothie

The Mean Green Smoothie

I sometimes think that if pizza never existed, smoothies might be my favorite food. They are so versatile and you can easily customize the nutrition profile by adding different fruits, veggies, protein powder, nuts, etc. Lucky for me, my little one loves smoothies too, and asks for them almost as often as she asks for MnMs.

When you are making green smoothies, you can start with picking a green vegetable. This one calls for spinach, but I have also been known to throw some kale if I have some in my fridge. Then I pick some light colored, frozen fruit. I usually have bananas stocked in my freezer, so that is a given. Then I’ll add whatever TJ’s has in stock (they often run out of frozen mango), usually pineapple and mango. You can add other fruit, such as berries, but it turns the beautiful green smoothie into a brown color. Still delicious, but doesn’t really match the name. Then pick a protein, my go-to as of late has been non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt, but also have some Trader Joe’s Whey Protein powder in my pantry for back up. Using the sweetened Greek Yogurt gives a little but more robust flavor to the smoothie, which I like.

For the last month or so, I have been blogging and vlogging for Nutrition Milestones, which is a team of dietitians that provide nutrition services for people going through life changes, such as pregnancy, parenthood, weddings, medical diagnoses, etc. Olive and I recently shared with them our Green Smoothie recipe, take a look!

The Mean Green Smoothie

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups spinach, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt (approx. Just use one small 6 oz container)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Milk of choice or water

Directions:

  1. Put in blender and blend on high until smooth. If you need to think it out more, add additional water or milk.

Acai-less Bowl with Mixed Berries, Flax, Bananas, Hemp Granola and Honey

Acai-less bowl with mixed berries, ground flax seed, bananas, hemp granola and honey.

The Acai Bowl trend has begun to die down, which means cafes and coffee shops around the country feel comfortable with putting this item on their menu. Now, I personally love me a good acai bowl. I feel like I am doing my body a favor with giving it a whopping dose of antioxidants and fiber…and dessert… all at the same time.

Only thing with preventing me from eating Acai Bowls for every meal:  Acai is an exotic fruit from South America, thus making it a little on the pricey side. Most Acai Bowls I come across are easily $6-8. Also, Trader Joes doesn’t sell frozen Acai…or any acai that I know of. Becasue I love saving money any chance I get, I figured, why not try to re-create my beloved acai bowl with ingredients I purchased from Trader Joes in my fridge?

Challenge Accepted

Image

When you deconstruct an acai bowl, you will notice that most of them follow a similar set-up:

  • Sorbet-type texture base of acai and other fruits. Because Trader Joes doesn’t carry Acai, then neither do I! I did happen to have a bag of frozen mixed berries, which would have to do.  One of the great things about Acai is that it is loaded with antioxidants, but fruits like blueberry, strawberry, raspberry and blackberry are also jam packed with antioxidants, so I didn’t feel like I was being cheated nutritionally.  I also added some Organic Low-Fat Vanilla Yogurt (because I had it on hand…and for a little extra protein) and 1% milk (because it was the only thing on hand aside from water that would work as a liquid do blend the fruit. You could use any dairy or non-dairy based beverage. I am sure coconut milk or almond milk would be delicious). I also added half of a banana to make it just a little bit more delicious (save the other half for the top, see below). Blend it all together in a super blender (Vitamix or Blendtec or Ninja-type of blender) until smooth.
  • A crunchy topping. I normally don’t purchase granola because I just don’t think it makes sense to eat as cereal. Normally, you get a half a cup for 200 calories, and who can REALLY eat just a half a cup of granola for breakfast? Not me. If I have a bowl of granola for breakfast I easily have 1.5 cups, which, with milk, coffee, and fruit, my breakfast is easily over half my days worth of calories. BUT I went against what my dietetics compass was saying and bought some delicious hemp granola, for the sake of deliciousness.  I also always have Bob’s Ground Flaxseed in my fridge (because of the fat content), which I use in my pancakes, so I threw a bit of that on top as well, which helps boost the omega 3 content and add a unique flavor.
  • Diced Fruit. Banana (the other half) diced was all I went with this time, but when I have other fruit on hand, I will add that too. In the past I have also topped with blueberries and diced strawberries…pretty much more of what is on the inside.
  • Extra garnishes that make it taste damn good. I used a hint of shredded coconut and a drizzle of honey. You could probably skip this step, but it would take this from a 9.5 to about a 7…definitely worth the extra calories.

I’m not going to tell you this was the most amazing thing I have made in my vitamix (I’ll save that for another post), but it was pretty close. It is definitely refreshing, and delicious, and cheaper than purchasing an acai bowl from the cafe across the street. Because I was able to customize this too, I am willing to bet mine had a better nutrition profile than those heavy handed versions. Granted it might not have quite “as many antioxidants” as a traditional acai bowl, but I am perfectly fine with the amount I am getting.

Acai-less Bowl with Mixed Berries, Flax, Bananas, Hemp Granola and Honey

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • Acai Less BowlHalf Bag of Frozen Berry Medley
  • 1/3 Cup Organic Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1/3 Cup Milk (or Non-Dairy Beverage of your choice)
  • Half Banana

Blend together in your super blender (Vitamix on High) until smooth, like sorbet. Spoon out into a large bowl.

  • 1/4 Cup photo 2 (8)Hemp Plus Granola
  • 1/2 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed
  • Half Banana, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Tbsp Shredded Sweetened Coconut
  • Drizzle of Honey

Assemble remainder of ingredients on top of mixed berry puree in order listed and enjoy.