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.

Grand Tour Financiers, a Luxurious Mini-Cake in Tribute to the Tour de France

Just watching the monumental efforts of the Tour de France participants is enough to work up an appetite. Which is why I wanted to create a fuel recipe that pays tribute to the great nation of France that is hosting the riders as they battle the mountains in the pursuit of a yellow jersey. Likely one of the hardest athletic endeavors imaginable.

Tour-de-France-yellow-jersey

Financiers are traditional light and moist French mini cakes. Its defining ingredients are ground nuts, browned butter and egg whites. A trio that creates a two-bite luxurious cake that is a total taste bud party. Financiers are often formed into small rectangles, but I’m partial to using mini muffin cups to make them easier to transport in a jersey pocket. Small vessels of joy when enjoying the great outdoors.

For a recent ride, I teamed up the financiers with Mini Mediterranean Muffins and Enduro Balls from the pages of ROCKET FUEL for the ultimate exercise snack pack. Now doesn’t that look more tasty than a packaged energy bar?

Financiers2a

With this collection of edible goodness on hand, I’d be ready to challenge Chris Froome up any incline. Well, maybe for the first few pedal strokes.

Bob’s Red Mill is a good source of both almond and hazelnut meal, which are simply ground up whole nuts that also includes their skins, but if you can’t locate this product you can grind nuts in a food processor or high powered blender until powdery. I don’t own a cherry pitter, so I just push the smaller end of a chopstick through the ends of each cherry which will push the pits out.

Grand Tour Cherry Financiers

Financiers1a

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped
2/3 cup almond meal or hazelnut meal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
3 tablespoons honey
12 pitted cherries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium, stirring constantly, until it browns and smells nutty, scrapping up any brown bits on bottom of pan. Be careful not to burn butter.

Stir together nut meal, flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir in egg whites. Stir in butter. Stir in honey.

Divide mixture among 12 mini silicon or greased metal muffin cups. Gently press a cherry into each muffin. Bake for 15 minutes, or until edges begin to brown and tops are set. Let cool for a few minutes before unmolding. Cool completely on a metal rack.

Rocket Fuel provides a bounty of recipes that will give you the quality carbohydrates needed to keep up with the competition. Oats and sweet potatoes, anyone?

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.

Fueling a Grand Tour

Here is an interesting infographic on what it takes to keep team Sky well fed during the Tour de France. Of course, I think there are more than a few recipes in Rocket Fuel that would help get them to the top of alpe d’huez. SIS_Infographic_Final_Infographic_image

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.

Carbs Are Rocket Fuel

I know it’s cool to gang up on carbs these days, but science just doesn’t agree with the anti-carb pop culture.

In the pages of Rocket Fuel, I make a case for why athletes need not shy away from consuming carbohydrates. I know it’s cool to gang up on carbs these days, but science continues to show that carbs are what can help get you to the finish line with energy to spare.

Case in point: In a fascinating 2016 Journal of Applied Physiology study, researchers provided runners with a carb-based meal before a treadmill run to fatigue as well as a trial involving the carb meal and a special compound that restricts the body’s ability to use fat as an energy source during exercise. The subjects ran at the equivalent of 95% of their personal best half-marathon times. The result was that the runners ran equally well in in both trails. The upshot is that at this intensity, an active body much prefers to use carbohydrate as a fuel source as indicated by the fact that even when fat was available it did not result in improved performance compared to when fat-burning was hindered by the researchers.

In a follow up study, cyclists performed time trails after consuming a breakfast containing 2 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight and either a fat blocker or a placebo. The results showed that there was no significant difference in the time to complete the 60 and 90 minute time trials. So, again, even though fat was available as an energy source when no fat blocker was administered it did not alter performance indicating that the body had no real use for fat to generate energy. As along as enough carbs were available that is what the muscles turned to. Performance was hampered in the fat-blocking trial for the 120 minute cycling effort. This suggests that carbohydrate stores in the cyclists started to run out and there was no other viable fuel to turn to. This presents a good argument for fueling with extra carbohydrates in long lasting events.

Despite the internet buzz about the benefits of high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets for endurance sport, these results indicate that a diet high in fat and protein at the expense of carbohydrates will very likely hinder performance during high intensity exercise efforts by impairing the body’s ability to tap into carbohydrate stores as a vital energy source. In short, its carbohydrate availability that is rate limiting for performance with most endurance sports. That is why in a recent review of 61 studies, researchers determined that consuming extra calories from carbohydrates is a surefire way to improve endurance exercise performance.

Rocket Fuel provides a bounty of recipes that will give you the quality carbohydrates needed to keep up with the competition. Oats and sweet potatoes, anyone?

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.

Justin’s Nut Butter Giveaway

I always said I was better at negotiating singletrack than computer stuff. The previous contest for the Justin’s nut butter prize pack to go along with the mini chocolate pancakes was not working properly. So here’s the fix: send us a message at contest@rocketfuelfoods.net with “Justin’s Nut Butter” in the subject line and you’ll be entered into a random draw for ground up nut goodness. Contest ends July 8th.

Justins

Stuffed Chocolate Banana Mini Pancakes

What makes a bicycle ride along quite country roads under bluebird skies even better? When I’ve got some form of mini pancake stuffed in my jersey pocket to keep me well fueled and my taste buds singing like song birds.

In Rocket Fuel, I have a handful of recipes for pancakes in one form or another. Among my favorite are the blini sliders – essentially small pancakes that can be stuffed with all sorts of sweet and savory goodies. And I’m seemingly always experimenting with new flavor profiles for ideal on-the-go fuel. In this version, infusing the bite-sized pancakes with banana and cocoa and then stuffing them with nut butter makes each bite taste like an ultimate treat when working up a sweat. Perfect for bike jerseys, backpacks, or even coolers when enjoying a relaxing day at the beach or park.

My go-to brand for nut butter is Justin’s. They supply truly craveable options for peanut butter, almond butter and a chocolaty hazelnut spread that blows away the option from a certain massive brand.

Justins

Now for the great news. The folks at Justin’s are offering a tasty prize pack for a Rocket Fuel reader. Just e-mail us at contest@rocketfuelfoods.net with “Justin’s Nut Butter” in the subject line and you could end up with a 3 jars of Justin’s nut butter, 3 boxes of nut butter squeeze packs and 1 box of peanut butter cups at your front door. Be sure to, um, spread the news. This contest ends July 8th!

Want more ideas for recipes like this one that can boost your fitness gains? You can find plenty more kitchen creations featuring items like nut butter in the pages of ROCKET FUEL.

Stuffed Chocolate Banana Mini Pancakes

ChocolateBlini1

1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 medium bananas
1/2 cup oat flour or all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil
1/2 cup almond or peanut butter

Place milk, eggs, bananas, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.

Heat butter or oil in a skillet over medium heat. By the tablespoonful, drop batter into pan and heat mini-pancakes until edges begin to darken and curl inwards, 2 to 3 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 34 mini pancakes.

To assemble, slather nut butter on a pancake and then top with a second pancake to form mini-pancake sandwiches. To transport, wrap tightly in a piece of foil or other wrapping of choice such as Abeego.

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.

ROCKET FUEL Recipe: Mediterranean Mini-Muffins

Inhale one of these bite-sized muffins, close your eyes, and imagine you’re cycling in the Italian countryside, running on a white sand Mediterranean beach, or hiking in the towering French Alps. OK, so your workout or race might be more pedestrian, but these mini-muffins offer a welcome respite from sweet, sugary calories. They also deliver a shot of salt for those times when you need to replace some lost sodium.

Enjoy this free recipe from Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports & Adventure by award-winning sports nutritionist Matt Kadey. Rocket Fuel offers 120 delicious, creative, and convenient recipes to power your everday exercise and weekend adventures. Take a look at Rocket Fuel!

Rocket Fuel Recipe Mediterranean Mini-Muffins by Matt Kadey

Dairy-free, Freezer-friendly, Gluten-free, Vegan or Vegetarian
SERVINGS: 12
ACTIVE TIME: 20 min.

You can also make these in standard-sized muffin cups for an anytime snack or even as a dinner side dish served warm with a slick of butter. You’ll need to increase the cooking time by about 5 minutes. You can also up the nutritional ante by using wholegrain flour such as whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour if ease of digestion during exercise is not a concern.

1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup finely ground cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons low-fat milk
1/3 cup olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon (optional)
2 ounces finely chopped feta cheese (about ½ cup)
½ cup drained and finely chopped roasted red bell peppers
1/3 cup pitted, finely chopped Kalamata olives

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, thyme, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, oil, and lemon zest, if using. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix gently until flour is incorporated Fold in feta, red peppers, and olives.

Divide among 24 greased or paper-lined mini-muffin cups and bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out mostly clean. Let cool for a few minutes before unmolding and cooling completely on metal racks. Keep chilled for up to 5 days and transport in small zip-top bags.

Game Changers: Use 1-to-1 gluten-free flour blend instead of all-purpose flour + Make these dairy-free with nondairy milk and no feta + Try grapeseed oil or canola oil instead of olive oil + Use chopped sun-dried tomatoes instead of roasted peppers

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.

Abeego Food Wraps

The pages of ROCKET FUEL are chock-full of portable recipes that can fuel a multitude of active pursuits. Just one problem: you need a reliable way to transport your grub. Actually, that’s not really a concern as Abeego has your back.

abeego3flats_LRG

In my book, I’m quick to praise this forward-thinking company for providing a stellar solution to reusable food wraps. After all, who wants to return from a full day in the saddle or hike in the mountains with a pile of plastic wrap or wad of aluminum foil that will likely just end up being pitched. Not such an eco-friendly ending to a workout.

The true beauty of these wraps is that the hemp and cotton fabric that is coated in beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil making them malleable at room temperature. That allows the wraps to snuggly and effortlessly form around your DIY mini pancakes and bars such as these ROCKET FUEL Mango Lime Bars. Plastic wrap? Not so much.

MangoLimeBars1

The small wraps are perfect for portable fuel options like bars and waffle bites. I’ll employ the medium sized flats for things like crepe rolls or road trip sandwiches. And then I make use of the large wraps for covering large pieces of cut fruits and vegetables like watermelon and cabbage for covering containers full of meal leftovers. The pages of ROCKET FUEL contain a recipe for this Espresso Fruit Log that is a tasty pre-workout energy source. I give instructions for forming it in plastic wrap to be stashed in the freezer, but recently discovered that the large Abeego flat works even better and allows for a little more enviro-dogoodery. Trust me, the recipe taste better than it looks.

FigLog1

Clean-up is a breeze. Simply give the wraps a light scrub and let dry over a dish rack. Soon they will be ready to go for another one of life’s adventure.

You can learn about the plethora of other amazing uses for Abeego in your kitchen here.

And if you become lost in the woods with no rescue in sight, I’ve been told that you can sacrifice an Abeego as they make for great fire starters.

For a bounty of recipes that can put Abeego to good use, order your copy of ROCKET FUEL and get ready to take your workouts up a gastronomic notch.

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.

Recover Better: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Smoothie

Now is the time of year when our local market is overflowing with rhubarb. Which means I have been happily spending time in the kitchen rustling up batches of strawberry rhubarb crisp. Without question, one of my most cherished spring desserts.

So the other evening when I was digging into a generous serving, it got me to thinking: How can I turn this spring delight into something that would work as post-workout fuel? After all, I am always happy to hop off the bike and enjoy a taste of dessert as a means to rewarding a workout well done. That’s when it dawned on me that all the ingredients in crisp – sweet-tart fruit, crunchy nuts, oats and warming spices – can mingle to create an appetite-inducing smoothie. Sure, rhubarb may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think smoothie, but it adds bright flavor along with a dose of recovery promoting nutrients like vitamin C. Each sip of this crisp inspired smoothie has everything spent muscles need to recover better: carbs, protein, healthy fats, liquid and antioxidants. Now when I am craving strawberry rhubarb crisp, I may very well think about whipping it good.

Want more smoothie inspiration? ROCKET FUEL is your source for some tasty and nutritious blender creations that can help you up your game one sip at a time.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Smoothie

RhubarbCrispSmoothie1a

1 cup milk of choice
1/2 stalk rhubarb, chopped
1 scoop plain or vanilla protein powder
3 tablespoons oats
2 tablespoons walnuts or almonds
2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup frozen strawberries

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

Which Is Better? Real Food vs. Packaged Sports Nutrition Products

Real Food Can Fuel Your Exercise & Adventures As Well As Pre-Packaged Sports Nutrition Products

While the day of the prepackaged gel and bar hasn’t yet come and gone, and likely won’t ever disappear, there is a broad movement in sports nutrition toward once again embracing real food. More people are becoming aware of the potential benefits of ditching some of the store-bought stuff for made-with-love forms of performance nutrition that keep them naturally fit.

sports foods vs. real food

It Works

In my book ROCKET FUEL, I share a little of the science that supports the use of food you find in bulk bins and produce aisles to bolster endurance and strength to the same degree (if not more!) than the stuff created by the white coats in their labs.

Case in point: A Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition study found that raisins were just as effective as carbohydrate-based energy chews at keeping runners’ endurance levels up. That’s why you’ll find these little nuggets of energy in one of my homemade Energy Shots (Rocket Fuel p. 137). Heck, even a lowbrow bowl of cereal and milk has been found to be great recovery fuel.

Nutrition Upgrade

Even if you’re not taking your nutrition seriously, it’s likely much of your competition is. This fact alone can be enough to ensure that they leave you playing catch-up. You can train until your legs fall off, but if you don’t have your nutrition on point, your fitness gains during training are going to be subpar and it’s likely you’ll have a tough race.

I often trumpet that one of the most important benefits of giving your pots and pans a workout by making your own edible energy is that it’s another opportunity to take in a wider variety of the vital nutrients that an active body requires to perform its best and yield quicker training results.

Keeping It Real

Flip over a packaged sports nutrition product and you’ll likely wish you majored in food chemistry. Although items on the market increasingly rely on healthy ingredients that even your grandma would recognize, the norm is still to pack them full of a minefield of mystery items, including food colorings, emulsifiers, “natural flavors,” fractionated oils (what?), and artificial sweeteners. I don’t know about you, but soy protein nuggets and carnauba wax are not something I have in my pantry or necessarily want to put in my body on a regular basis. Funny how these products can still be labeled “natural.”

Troublemakers

For better or worse, an increasing number of athletes are steering clear of certain items such as lactose and gluten. In certain cases, this is a must in response to conditions such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease. Crafting your own fuel affords you better control over sidestepping possible food allergens or ingredients that simply don’t fit into the dietary lifestyle you have embraced.

In Good Taste

Relying heavily on packaged energy-food products can lead to a serious case of palate fatigue. After all, there are only so many cloyingly sweet gels and cat food–like meat bars you can stomach before you want to tap out. Also, the same tastes and textures seem to be pumped out again and again, which can get old quick. Really, another peanut butter and chocolate bar? An underappreciated benefit of homemade fuel is that it can promote better fueling by making you actually want to eat the stuff—and leave your workouts seeming a little more gourmet.

Rocket Fuel Recipe Sweet Potato Tots by Matt Kadey

Variety Is the Spice of Life

When you make your own performance fuel, you can have fun experimenting with all sorts of exciting and innovative ingredients to create flavors and textures. That’s why I spent countless hours in the kitchen creating the recipes for ROCKET FUEL that not only provide useful calories but also push the boundaries of what athletes are accustomed to eating when on the move or in need of recovery sustenance. Fueling your active lifestyle can be so much more than smoothies and bars.

Save Cash

Walk into any bike, running, or outdoor-gear shop and you’ll inevitably be greeted by displays of so-called sports nutrition products promising to boost your game. However, their convenience comes with a price tag. Although the occasional use won’t break the bank, when you consider that each gel can set you back a couple bucks and some bars ring in at a hefty $4, relying solely on store-bought packaged energy foods can put a serious dent in your gear or race budget. Making your own fitness fuel can leave you more wiggle room for race entry fees or that bucket list bike trip to the Alps.

Eat Better Overall

A strange thing happens when people decide to take the time to craft their own performance fuel. All of the sudden, they start to get excited about cooking again and increasingly trade in trips to the drive-thru for old-fashioned home cooking. Maybe a little inspiration is all you need to avoid settling for a frozen packaged burrito come the dinner bell!

Taste the Reward

Having an arsenal of go-to fuel recipes can have the positive side effect of encouraging you to exercise with greater frequency. After all, enjoying delicious fuel only really works if you also keep active. I will happily work up a sweat if I can take a bite out of some Salted Quinoa Almond Fudge Cups (p. 225) afterward or bring along a bagful of Sushi Rolls (p. 134).

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.