Pre-run fuel: Banana-Oat Snack Bars

Eating the right kind (and amount!) of food before a run is important because it will fuel your body to perform its best. But getting nutrition wrong can slow you down by upsetting your stomach or leaving you running on empty.

Enter this light treat packed with carbs and flavor that will get you through your workout without bogging your down.

These dairy- and egg-free banana oat bars make an ideal pre-run fuel because they are carbohydrate and nutrient dense, which makes them easy to digest for quick-burning energy. Plus, they’re tasty, easy to make and hold up well to variation. Feel free to add extra tasty bits like chocolate chips, nut butter, etc.

Here’s how to make ‘em:

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup dates or other dried fruit, chopped
  • 1.5 cup brown crispy rice cereal
  • 1.5 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut (or other) oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • *Optional: 2 tablespoons hydrated chia seeds. (Add 3 Tbsp water to dry chia seeds in a separate cup. Soak for a few minutes until they’re thick and gloopy)
  • *Optional: walnuts, chocolate chips, raisins, etc.
  • *Optional topping (pictured): A handful of shredded coconut topping

banana oat bar on a plate


Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Soak chia seeds, if using (see notes below).
  • Combine all ingredients except for the coconut topping (although it’s also great mixed in!). Press mixture into a greased 8x8 baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with coconut.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Let the pan cool for a few minutes, cut into squares and eat!

Store any uneaten bars in the fridge, and eat within a week.

Note: It’s important to soak the chia seeds for this recipe. Chia absorbs more than 10 times its weight in liquid. Failure to adequately soak the seeds may result in gastrointestinal distress (not ideal before a run). But, on the bright side, properly-soaked chia adds fiber, omega-3 fatty acids (which help fight inflammation), calcium and can aid in hydration and digestion in addition to other health benefits.

By Kate Schwartz. Schwartz has been running competitively for 20 years, and she currently runs with the Asheville Running Collective. She lives in Asheville, NC, with her husband, Alex, and their cat, Clementine.

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