Recipe: Strawberry Chia Pudding

Smoothies will continue to be one of my go-to recovery options, but sometimes after a hard ride battling the winds that are a frequent foe here in the Ontario countryside I crave something that feels a little more substantial. Enter this guise of chia pudding. The lofty amounts of soluble fiber in chia forms a gel when mixed with liquid, which is easily exploited to make spoonable nourishment with a tapioca-like texture.

The strawberries provide recovery sugars and antioxidants, yogurt gives your weary muscles some much needed protein, chia seeds offer up essential omega fatty acids and a range of must-have minerals, and chocolate is just awesome. And there is no reason why this pudding can’t serve as a make-ahead breakfast option. Topping options include sliced fresh strawberries, chopped nuts like pistachios, coconut flakes, and even crunchy granola. If desired, raspberries can replace strawberries and you can stir in dark chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate.

By far, my favorite jars for making chia pudding as well as any overnight oat recipes are the Ball 16 ounce wide mouth glass jars. The large opening makes it easy to add in all the necessary ingredients and they have plenty of room for digging around with your spoon.

Look for more chia seed pudding recipes to fuel your adventures in the pages of ROCKET FUEL.

Strawberry Chia Pudding

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2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries
3/4 cup milk or plain non-dairy milk
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup chia seeds
1 ounce chopped dark chocolate

Place strawberries, milk, yogurt, honey or maple syrup, vanilla and a pinch of salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Divide among 2 jars. Add half of the chia seeds and chocolate to each jar, seal shut and shake. Chill for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

Rocket Fuel by Matt Kadey

In Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports & Adventure, award-winning dietitian Matt Kadey offers up 120 delicious, creative, and convenient real-food recipes to power your everyday exercise and weekend adventures.

Rocket Fuel is available now in bookstores, outdoors stores, and online from these online retailers:
MattKadey.com
VeloPress
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
local booksellers
Chapters/Indigo and MEC.ca in Canada

Food photography by Aaron Colussi.

Vietnam Gastronomy

This winter, my girlfriend and I had the pleasure of riding our bikes between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. When you combine the fetching scenery, well-meaning denizens, exceptional backroads, incredible value and, of course, tasty eats, what you end up with is a very rewarding pedal power experience indeed.

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From these cycle touring trips, I always like to glean culinary inspiration that I can import back home. Take for example the Loatian inspired Coconut Rice Cakes and the Fruit and Grain Drink borrowed from Chile that you can find in the pages of ROCKET FUEL. So I thought I would put together a visual potluck of some of the best foods that we used to fuel our Vietnamese two wheeled adventure.

You can read my trip journal from our 1,700 mile journey through Vietnam here.

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Of course, no ride through Vietnam is complete without a daily Banh Mi habit. We most often opted for the egg and pickled veg variety. Will have to adapt this to a jersey pocket version.

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Com Ga – a tasty mashup of yellow rice, grilled chicken, herbs and chili sauce. As spotted in Hoi An.

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Kem Flan – A Vietnamese flan doused in coffee syrup. Worth the plane ticket alone.

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We started most days with a comforting and nourishing bowl of noodle soup, a.k.a. pho.

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These sugar sesame bars ended up being our Vietnam rocket fuel.

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Nothing is better in the midst of a steamy ride that a combo of sweet iced coffee (cafe sua da) and iced green tea.

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Mi Quang – A stunningly delicious bowl of thick noodles, quail eggs, pork, herbs and nuts. All for less than a buck for a hearty serving.

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Vietnam produces most of the world’s supply of Dragon Fruit. They were worth carrying the extra weight.

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Shrimp dumplings (White Rose) are a satisfying street food snack in Hoi An.

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A big day on the saddle deserves an even bigger rice cake.

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Dalat pizza – rice wrappers grilled till crispy and adorned with all sorts of toppings. Perfect for a cyclists lion sized appetite.

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After climbing for a couple hours this display on the way to Dalat is a welcome sight.

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Move over pho! Bun Bo Hue might just be the best soup in Vietnam.

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Are fried silk worms Paleo?

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Jackfruit chips are something we need more of in North America.

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Ok, smelly durian is not the most practical addition to a cyclists fuel arsenal.

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Hey Tabi, are you going to share some of that coconut water?

SongCau1a

Yes, fresh squeezed cane juice is better than Gatorade.

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These buns were tasty but not sure if that color is natural.

Rocket Fuel by Matt Kadey

In Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports & Adventure, award-winning dietitian Matt Kadey offers up 120 delicious, creative, and convenient real-food recipes to power your everyday exercise and weekend adventures.

Rocket Fuel is available now in bookstores, outdoors stores, and online from these online retailers:
MattKadey.com
VeloPress
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
local booksellers
Chapters/Indigo and MEC.ca in Canada

Food photography by Aaron Colussi.

Packages of Energy

Most people assume that since I’m the author of Rocket Fuel which is a book dedicated to making your own exercise fuel that I have a serious hate-on for packaged energy foods. That’s not the case. It’s just that I believe a well fueled athlete should rely on a combination of what comes out of their own kitchen and what comes from a store. And truth be told, there are better options than ever when someone is looking for convenience food to help them keep up the pace. That’s why I thought it would be a good idea to pass along some of my favorite packaged energy foods that pair perfectly with some DIY fuel when I’m on the saddle for the long haul.

PackagedRideFuel1

KIND Pressed Bars

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One of the newest additions to the line-up of KIND bars are a standout. Athletes who crave simplicity will appreciate that the soft and chewy Pressed bars have a pared down ingredient list that contain little more than fruit and veggies. Don’t worry, they don’t taste like a salad in bar form. There is plenty of natural sweetness from the fruit to make them, well, sweet on the palate. During exercise, I appreciate that they contain a high percentage of carbohydrates to better fuel a workout and lessen the risk of tummy troubles. For instance, the Apricot Pear Carrot Beet bar (yes, that is essentially the extent of the ingredients) gets 95% of its calories from carbohydrates. Compare this to the 44% carbs found in the KIND Almond & Coconut (one of their many nut-based bars) and you see why the Pressed bars can be a better choice for a jersey pocket. Not to mention no risk of melted chocolate coating. I’m happy to give KIND kudos for raising the bar on portable fuel.

Untapped Maple Waffle

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Want to slay mid-workout hunger? These portable waffles hit the spot – no waffle maker required. But let’s be honest here, the real reason I’m happy to trumpet these Dutch-style stroopwafels is that they are sweetened with maple syrup. My eastern Canada upbringing has trained my palate to think of maple syrup as its own food group. The primary form of carbohydrate in maple syrup is sucrose, which is a combo of glucose and fructose. Research has shown that sucrose is a reliable exogenous fuel source during endurance exercise and can elevate performance during long bouts of activity.

If your outing involves stopping at a coffee shop along route, try plunking a Untapped waffle in your espresso – a scene that seems almost criminal not to Instagram. Full disclosure: I often enjoy a waffle topped with a smear of nut butter as a pre-ride snack. The brand also offers up a coffee infused waffle (brilliant!) and maple syrup packets for a more natural gel-like shot of energy.

Made in Nature Figgy Pops

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If you believe social media, balls are the new energy bars. So it was only a matter of time before companies started packaging up balls for sale on store shelves. Among the burgeoning number of offerings, I’m loving the Figgypops from Made in Nature. Available in appetizing flavors ranging from Tart Cherry Fig to the chocolaty Choco Crunch, these great balls of energy are dried fruit based (from the name, you can hazard a guess they contain dried figs) meaning they contain plenty of natural sugary energy. A serving of the balls gleans about 65% of its energy from carbohydrates so they can help keep you going strong to the finish line. When I don’t have any homemade energy balls on hand, I’ll simply place a handful of Figgy Pops in a zip-top bag and slide them into my jersey pocket for when I’m in need of a quick roadside nosh. I’ve had my eye on Made in Nature for several years now as they have several inventive whole food based products. The Ancient Grains Supersides can make any post-workout meal better.

Sun-Maid Raisin Packs

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Sometimes it’s a good idea to call upon Mother Nature to keep your legs moving forward. A recent study found in the pages of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition showed that budget-friendly raisins were just as effective as sport chews at improving endurance performance during an 80-minute run at 75% V02max followed by a 5K time trial. This makes sense when you consider that the parched grapes are 100% carbohydrate energy consisting of a combination of glucose and fructose. Studies show that ingesting two different simple carbs (i.e. glucose and fructose) during exercise is more effective at boosting performance than taking in just one form of simple carbohydrate. Based on this data, I’m a proponent of slipping a box of Sun-Maid raisins into a jersey pocket or gym bag for times when you’re in need of a natural energy boost. In Rocket Fuel, I even have a recipe for a DIY raisin energy shot that will give any commercial gel some stiff competition.

Rocket Fuel by Matt KadeyIn Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports & Adventure, award-winning dietitian Matt Kadey offers up 120 delicious, creative, and convenient real-food recipes to power your everyday exercise and weekend adventures.

Rocket Fuel is available now in bookstores, outdoors stores, and online from these online retailers:
MattKadey.com
VeloPress
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
local booksellers
Chapters/Indigo and MEC.ca in Canada

Food photography by Aaron Colussi.

Recipe: Tart Cherry Cheesecake Wrap

A major inspiration for writing ROCKET FUEL (other than fame and fortune!) was the emergence of research showing that certain foods you can source from supermarkets and bulk bins can do just as good of a job at boosting exercise performance and recovery as engineered sports nutrition products. Case in point: deliciously sweet-tart Montmorency cherries. It turns out their abundance of antioxidants can help athletes get more out of their workouts.

A study in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that cyclist who consumed a Montmorency tart cherry concentrate for 8 days prior to a 109-minute cycling trial experienced signs of accelerated recovery such as less inflammation and muscle pain. An important perk for those who regularly train hard. A separate study in the journal Nutrients discovered that regular consumption of Montmorency tart cherries can improve measures of recovery such as muscular pain and agility in those involved in sprint style sports such as soccer.

This makes Montmorency tart cherries a powerful addition to any diet geared towards achieving peak performance. For this reason, I’m always looking for ways to sneak more into my eating plan. Dried tart cherries are a great addition to a bowl of yogurt or oatmeal. They also find a way into many of my trail mix combos and DIY energy bars. Tart cherry juice can be enjoyed straight up after a spirited workout or used as a liquid base for post-training smoothies. Or try wrapping up this bundle of recovery nutrition after your next sweat fest. Creamy, crunchy and sweet at once, these craveable wraps provide a double cherry wallop to show your weary muscles some love. The dried Montmorency tart cherry topping is equally good strewn over yogurt or ice-cream. If using Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate, mix 2 tablespoons with 1 cup water, which is roughly the equivalent of 1 cup of pure tart cherry juice.

Want to find out how Montmorency tart cherries can improve your fitness gains? The kind folks at Choosecherries.com would like to award a ROCKET FUEL reader with some tart cherry goodness to try this recipe or any of the other tart cherry infused recipes found in the pages of ROCKET FUEL. Just e-mail us at contest@rocketfuelfoods.net with “Montmorency tart cherries” in the subject line to enter. This contest closes January 12th!

Cherry Cheesecake Wraps

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Serves 4

1 cup Montmorency tart cherry juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
2 teaspoons grated orange or lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
4 small whole-grain wraps
1/2 cup cream cheese
4 tablespoons chopped almonds

Place cherry juice, honey, dried cherries, cinnamon, ginger, orange or lemon zest and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove dried cherries from pan and set aside. Raise heat to high and boil, uncovered, for 3 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by about half and syrupy. Stir cherries and almond extract if using back into liquid.

To assemble wraps, spread about 2 tablespoons cream cheese on a wrap and then top with cherry mixture and almonds. Roll and eat.

Rocket Fuel by Matt KadeyIn Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports & Adventure, award-winning dietitian Matt Kadey offers up 120 delicious, creative, and convenient real-food recipes to power your everyday exercise and weekend adventures.

Rocket Fuel is available now in bookstores, outdoors stores, and online from these online retailers:
MattKadey.com
VeloPress
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
local booksellers
Chapters/Indigo and MEC.ca in Canada

Food photography by Aaron Colussi.

Seasonal Smoothies

No matter the type of workout, I always crave a smoothie afterwards. There is just something about sucking back a deliciously thick drink to help feel recharged. But like other parts of a meal plan, smoothies can also follow the seasons. With that said, I present two seasonal smoothies that make the post-workout period as tasty as ever. Yes, cabbage does rock in a smoothie!

You can find more creative blender creations in the pages of my new cookbook ROCKET FUEL.

Apple Crisp Smoothie

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Serves 1

1 cup milk of choice
1 scoop plain or vanilla protein powder
1 apple, cored and quartered
2-3 dried pitted dates
2 tablespoons oats
2 tablespoons walnuts
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 small frozen banana, chopped

Place all of the ingredients in a blender container and blend until smooth. The longer you let the blender work the smoother the drink will be.

Blueberry Cabbage Smoothie

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Serves 1

1 cup milk of choice
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup chopped red cabbage
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 frozen chopped banana
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Place all of the ingredients in a blender container and blend until smooth.

Rocket Fuel by Matt KadeyIn Rocket Fuel, award-winning dietitian Matt Kadey offers up delicious, creative, and convenient real-food recipes to power your everyday exercise and weekend adventures. Rocket Fuel is now available in bookstores, outdoors stores, and online. Order today from the author Matt KadeyVeloPressAmazon, Barnes & Noble, local booksellers, and Chapters/Indigo.

Food photography by Aaron Colussi.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Sausage Waffle Bites

My chest freezer is stuffed with so many different flours you’d think that I was working in a test kitchen for Martha Stewart. No, instead I just love the different flavor nuances and nutritional perks that everything from spelt flour to teff flour to rye flour lends to pancakes, muffins,  cookies, and of course DIY fuel.

I recently got my hands on one of the newest products on the market – Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Flour. It’s basically a caveman worthy blend of almond flour, arrowroot starch, organic coconut flour and tapioca flour. An easy path to grain-free baked goods.

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I’m definitely not a member of the paleo crowd (love my oatmeal too much!), but I appreciate the nutritional benefits of this newfangled flour blend which includes higher amounts of protein and fiber than many other types of flour like whole wheat. I’ve been using almond flour for some time now as its nutty flavor adds toothsome appeal to items like these waffle bites.

Made with sweet potato, maple syrup and sausage, these have an enticing sweet and savory personality that can make it easy to leave the packaged energy bars at home. Not as big as your typical waffle, they are easily wrapped up and taken along with you when luxuriating in outdoor pursuits. I’m also eating them as a pre-workout nibble. Heck, heat a few up, douse in maple syrup and call it breakfast.

These worked out great with the Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour, but you can also another type of flour depending on what you may have on hand. With that said, the kind folks at BRM are offering up the chance to win a bag of their new paleo flour. Just email us at contest@rocketfuelfoods.net with “Paleo Flour” in the subject line to enter. This contest closes December 7th!

Sweet Potato Sausage Waffle Bites

 sweetpotatowaffle

1 cup peeled and cubed sweet potato

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup BRM Paleo Baking Flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger powder

1/2 pound cooked sausage, finely chopped

Place sweet potato cubes and 1 tablespoon water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in plastic to allow for venting. Microwave on high for 6 minutes, or until potato is fork tender. You can also steam the sweet potato in a steamer basket on a stovetop.

Place eggs, milk, maple syrup and cooked sweet potato in a blender container and blend until smooth. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger powder. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and combine gently. Fold in sausage. Let batter rest 15 minutes so the flour can soak up some of the liquid.

Grease a waffle iron and heat according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place 2 heaping tablespoons batter for each waffle into the waffle iron and cook until set, about 2 minutes. Place cooked waffles on a metal rack to cool. Repeat with remaining batter. You should get about 12 small waffles.

Rocket Fuel by Matt KadeyIn Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports & Adventure, award-winning dietitian Matt Kadey offers up 120 delicious, creative, and convenient real-food recipes to power your everyday exercise and weekend adventures.

Rocket Fuel is available now in bookstores, outdoors stores, and online from these online retailers:
MattKadey.com
VeloPress
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
local booksellers
Chapters/Indigo and MEC.ca in Canada

Food photography by Aaron Colussi.

Pumpkin Fuel Recipes

Pumpkin Mania 

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In the food world, October can only mean one thing—pumpkin flavored everything is back, for better or worse. And while pumpkin spiced latte’s, which are often sugar bombs, may come to mind, the natural sweetness of the iconic squash can be used to enrich a range of homemade fuel options. With that said, here is a quartet of pumpkin inspired recipes that are sure to help you keep up the pace during any fall adventure. As an added bonus, I’m providing a simple method for homemade pumpkin puree so you can shelve the cans for a while and instead make use of inexpensive pie pumpkins at markets. And don’t forget that pumpkin is laced with beta-carotene, an item that can be converted in the body to vitamin A to ramp up immunity. Good gourd, indeed!

Mini Pumpkin Pancakes

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Consider taking these along on a long fall bike ride or other outing with some maple syrup for a fun breakfast on-the-go. They are also excellent when two pancakes are pressed against cream cheese or nut butter for mini sandwich fuel. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can simply use one or more warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons butter or coconut oil

Place eggs, milk, pumpkin, yogurt, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla and salt in a blender container and blend until smooth. Blend in flour.

Heat butter or oil in a skillet over medium heat. By the heaping spoonful, drop batter into pan and heat mini-pancakes until edges begin to darken and curl inwards, about 2 minutes. Flip over and cook for 2 minutes more. Let prepared pancakes cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more butter or oil to pan as needed. You will end up with about 26 mini pancakes.

Pumpkin Chocolate Mini Muffins

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Pull out these little pumpkin morsels to share during a group exercise outing and you’ll be an instant hero. They are also great when a snack attack strikes. If desired, you can replace the chopped chocolate with about 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk egg and then stir in pumpkin, yogurt or sour cream, milk, maple syrup, sugar and coconut oil. Add wet ingredients to dry and gently mix together. Fold in chocolate.

Divide batter among 24 mini muffin cups and bake for 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out nearly clean. Let cool for a few minutes before unmolding and cool further on a metal rack.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Smoothie

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This healthier version of a fall classic is an ideal drink for recharging after a spirited workout. I’ll brew up a bit of coffee before a workout and then let it cool while working up a sweat so it’s ready when I am. You can replace the brewed coffee with another 1/2 cup milk and blend in 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder.

1/2 brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
1/2 cup almond milk or other milk of choice
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons almond butter
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 frozen banana, chopped

Place all of the ingredients in a blender container and blend until smooth.

 Pumpkin Recovery Ice Cream

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Just the thought of spooning up this creamy “instant” ice cream is all the motivation I need to hop on the saddle. It’s also a great dessert option. I like to add some crunchy toppings for textural contrast and this can range from chopped nuts to cacao nibs to granola to coconut flakes. A sprinkling of dried cranberries is great, too. If desired, replacing the protein powder with some thick Greek yogurt would likely work in this recipe. Try to plan ahead and place your serving bowl in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before making the ice cream – a cold bowl will keep the mixture from melting too quickly.

1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup plain or vanilla protein powder
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (omit if using vanilla protein powder)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Place banana in a food processor. Turn the machine on and let it run until banana is reduced to the size of small pebbles. At first, the bananas will just bounce around and make a lot of noise before beginning to take on a smooth consistency. Scrape down sides of bowl and add pumpkin, protein powder, maple syrup and cinnamon to container. Continue blending just until the point where the mixture is creamy.

DIY Pumpkin Puree

To make your own pumpkin mash, cut a pie pumpkin in half and scrape out seeds and strings with a spoon or ice cream scooper. Slice the cleaned pumpkin into chunks, lightly brush flesh with oil and place flesh side down on a baking dish. Bake at 375ºF for 40 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the skins and flesh is very tender. Scrape off the flesh from the skin into a food processor and whiz until smooth. Extra puree can be frozen for up to 6 months.

For more pumpkin inspired recipes that can rev up your workouts pick up a copy of the delicious cookbook, ROCKET FUEL.

Rocket Fuel by Matt KadeyIn Rocket Fuel, award-winning dietitian Matt Kadey offers up delicious, creative, and convenient real-food recipes to power your everyday exercise and weekend adventures. Rocket Fuel will be available this April in bookstores, outdoors stores, and online. Preorder today from VeloPress, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, local booksellers, and Chapters/Indigo.

Food photography by Aaron Colussi.

Red Velvet Energy Balls

The research keeps on piling up showing that beets are indeed a vegetable athletes should be eating more often. For example, a new study suggests that adding beets to your post-workout nutrition plan could aid in recovery by lowering muscle pain following exercise. Other investigations have found that naturally occurring nitrates in beets can improve the efficiency that working muscles use oxygen thereby leading to better endurance.

Exercise boosting powers aside, I’ve always had a major fondness for beets. It’s likely their engrained sweetness that wins me over. Which means I’m always looking for ways to work them into functional fuel for active bodies. That’s where these great balls of energy come in. They have just the right amount of sweetness without tasting too, well, beety. They are sure to become a regular part of my fueling routine, and I hope yours too.

You can find more beet infused recipes to ramp up you workouts in the page of ROCKET FUEL.

Red Velvet Energy Balls

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1/2 pound beet (about 1 medium-large), peeled and chopped
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
1/3 cup dried coconut
2 tablespoons honey
Zest of 1 medium orange
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Place beets in a microwave safe dish, add 1 tablespoon water, cover and microwave on High for 4 minutes. Stir, and continue microwaving until beets are fork tender, about 4 to 5 minutes more.

Place oats and walnuts in a food processor container and process until pulverized. Add beets, dates, hemp seeds, honey, orange zest, cinnamon and a couple pinches salt. Blend until mixture sticks together. Pulse in mini chocolate chips if using.

Roll mixture into 1-inch balls. You should get about 20 balls. Place in refrigerator to chill and firm up. They will be quite moist when first rolled.

Rocket Fuel by Matt KadeyIn Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports & Adventure, award-winning dietitian Matt Kadey offers up 120 delicious, creative, and convenient real-food recipes to power your everyday exercise and weekend adventures.

Rocket Fuel is available now in bookstores, outdoors stores, and online from these online retailers:
MattKadey.com
VeloPress
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
local booksellers
Chapters/Indigo and MEC.ca in Canada

Food photography by Aaron Colussi.

Real Food Rocket Fuel

It’s no secret that the pages of ROCKET FUEL are filled with encouragement to turn to foods that you would find in the supermarket and bulk stores as a method of fueling your active lifestyle. Which is why I am always mining the research looking for more proof that sports nutrition can be so much more than gels, chews and neon sports drinks. So it’s my pleasure to present three items that can give you some Olympic power.

Tart Cherry Juice

If you’re an athlete or even weekend warrior, it’s a good idea to see red. British researchers provide football (soccer) players with 30 milliliters of Montmorency tart cherry juice mixed with 100 milliliters of water twice per day – once in the morning and once in the evening – or a placebo drink. It was discovered that drinking tart cherry juice lead to a decrease in a key marker of inflammation associated with exercise, helped the athletes maintain greater functional muscle performance and also brought about a decrease self-reported post-workout muscle soreness. In other words, making Montmorency tart cherry juice part of your nutrition program could help you recover better and perform to a higher standard during subsequent workouts.

Sardines

Here’s a good reason why you shouldn’t shun the canned fish aisle of the supermarket. Scientists at Baylor University in Waco, Texas showed that consuming high amounts of fish oil may help lessen delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) following resistance training. Fish oil contains the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which may work on a cellular level to limit the stress in the body that brings about post-exercise muscle owies. The study provided participants with a fish oil supplement, but you can also obtain high amounts of omega-3 fats by eating fatty fish like sardines, mackerel, salmon, herring and rainbow trout more often. As a bonus, these swimmers are rich in protein for better muscle recovery and growth.

Milk

After a sweaty, hard workout consider reaching for moo juice. A new British Journal of Nutrition study discovered that milk can help restore your fluid levels after a spirited exercise session. In the study, active men took part in exercise designed to bring about dehydration and then followed this up by consuming milk, a carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drink or water. It turned out that milk did the best job at promoting whole-body net fluid balance, or in other words restoring hydration status. It seems that the fluid in milk works synergistically with its nutrients to promote better rehydration. Previous research has demonstrated that chocolate milk contains a dynamic duo of carbs and protein to kick start better post-training muscle recovery.

Learn how to use these and other power foods to reach new exercise heights in the pages of ROCKET FUEL.

Rocket Fuel by Matt Kadey

In Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports & Adventure, award-winning dietitian Matt Kadey offers up 120 delicious, creative, and convenient real-food recipes to power your everyday exercise and weekend adventures.

Rocket Fuel is available now in bookstores, outdoors stores, and online from these online retailers:
MattKadey.com
VeloPress
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
local booksellers
Chapters/Indigo and MEC.ca in Canada

Food photography by Aaron Colussi.

Recipe: Mango Lime Energy Shot (Plus Contest!)

Many athletes turn to sticky gels when in need of a quick hit of sugary energy. I’ll admit that I used to rely heavily on these products until I discovered how easy it is to make my own concentrated sugar rush using dried fruit.

That’s why I included a few recipes in ROCKET FUEL that require little more than soaking some dried fruit like raisins or apricots and then blending with a few flavorings. The combination of glucose and fructose present in dried fruit increases carbohydrate absorption rates during exercise, while the added water not found in packaged gels encourages better digestion and hydration.

Since the release of the book, I’m still experimenting with different dried fruits to keep my long rides a lot more energized and tasty. This energy shot featuring dried mango has become one of my favorite things to bring along when I’m on the saddle for the long haul. A little reminder of some past tropical rides in locations like Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Often, I add a touch of salt to my energy shots to help replace what is lost in sweat. But I recently discovered a great new electrolyte product produced by EnduroPacks. It’s essentially a spray bottle filled with liquid electrolytes like sodium, magnesium and potassium. No sugar calories, no lab created colors or mystery flavors. I like to squirt it into my water bottles when I’m not interested in adding calories to my liquid but feel like there is a need for a little boost of electrolytes. And it’s also a great product to elevate DIY energy shots like this mango lime version.

Spray1

Want to try some for yourself?

The generous folks at EnduroPacks are offering a chance to win a electrolyte spray bottle to test out. Just e-mail us at contest@rocketfuelfoods.net with “EnduroPacks” in the subject line to enter. This contest ends August 13th!

Mango Lime Energy Shot

MangoGel1a 

1/3 cup chopped dried mango

2/3 cup boiled water

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon lime zest

1/8 teaspoon salt or about 10 pumps of EnduroPacks electrolyte spray

Place mango and boiled water in a blender container and let soak for 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and blend until as smooth as possible. Let cool and then transfer to one large gel flask or two smaller ones. This can be made a day or two in advance if kept chilled.

During exercise, divide into two servings or suck back the whole thing if you need a big energy boost.

Rocket Fuel by Matt KadeyIn Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports & Adventure, award-winning dietitian Matt Kadey offers up 120 delicious, creative, and convenient real-food recipes to power your everyday exercise and weekend adventures.

Rocket Fuel is available now in bookstores, outdoors stores, and online from these online retailers:
MattKadey.com
VeloPress
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
local booksellers
Chapters/Indigo and MEC.ca in Canada

Food photography by Aaron Colussi.