As someone training for endurance sports, you’ve just completed a hard session, and know that it’s important to eat or drink something within 20-30 minutes in order to start the process of glycogen replenishment and muscle recovery. You know that you need to consume both carbohydrates and protein in order to do this. You aren’t in a position to make yourself a meal or snack from scratch, but you are reluctant to keep spending so much money on the various recovery drinks and bars which are available to buy. After all, you need to recover after training sessions on most days of the week, and sometimes more than once.
I have a solution for you: make your own recovery bars. It is cheaper than buying them and you also know exactly what ingredients they contain.
I’ve provided an easy recipe below that I’ve developed to support my own recovery on days when I need a snack before having a meal about two hours later. I suggest making the bars on your rest day and then freezing them wrapped in foil, taking them out to defrost before you start your training session or when you leave home in the morning.
Recovery Bar Recipe (Makes 6 bars)
Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus c two hours to chill (or 30 mins in freezer).
60g cashew nuts
20g whey protein powder (or a non-dairy alternative like soya or hemp)
25g ground flaxseed
50g porridge oats
25g xylitol (alternative to sugar; you could also use Stevia or sugar, or exclude altogether)
2 tbsp cashew nut butter (or good quality peanut butter)
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil (solid at room temperature)
25g dark chocolate chips or raw cacao chips
1. Process the cashew nuts in a food processor or high speed blender until ground to a fine powder.
2. Add the dates, protein powder, xylitol, ground flaxseed, nut butter and oats. Process until the mixture starts to stick together.
3. Melt the coconut oil until liquid.
4. Remove mixture from processor and place in a bowl. Add the chocolate or cacao chips. Pour in the melted coconut oil and use a wooden spoon or your hands to create sticky dough.
5. Press the mixture into a baking tray linked with baking paper. Chill in the fridge for two hours before cutting into bars (or place in the freezer for 30 minutes). You can also leave the bars to chill overnight.
6. Wrap bars in foil and store in the fridge until you need them. They should keep for up to a week. The bars can also be kept in a freezer (maximum 1 month). Defrost before eating.
Nutritional Information (per bar)
– of which 13.7g are sugars
– of which 4g are saturated
Notes on ingredients
– Cashew nuts provide protein, healthy fats, and minerals such as magnesium.
– Flaxseeds provide omega 3 essential fats and fibre
– Whey protein powder is high in branch chain amino acids and easily absorbed
– Dates provide a natural source of sugar for quick energy replenishment
– Oats provide a source of slower release carbohydrate for sustained energy
– Coconut oil provides another source of energy.
– Dark chocolate provides polyphenols, a type of anti-oxidant to help quench the damaging free radicals generated by exercise
Jo Scott-Dalgleish BSc (Hons) is a BANT Registered Nutritionist, writing and giving talks about nutrition for endurance sport. Based in London, she also works as a Registered Nutritional Therapist, conducting one–to–one consultations with triathletes, distance runners and cyclists to help them eat well, be healthy and perform better through the creation of an individual nutritional plan. To learn more about these consultations, please visit www.nutritionforendurancesports.co.uk