When I first got back into running, I didn’t eat before I ran. I was worried about stomach upset during my run or just feeling weighed down. But, as I began running longer distances I realized that I needed some fuel in my body or I would feel miserable the rest of the day. Your body also needs protein to assist in rebuilding muscle post-run. Protein helps to repair muscle damage and diminishes the effects of cortisol on your muscles. Cortisol is a hormone released by your body that breaks down muscle. Taken with carbohydrates, protein also helps to replenish your glycogen stores so you don’t get that feeling of “hitting a brick wall.”
Some proteins or protein rich snacks that I really enjoy and have found ‘sit well’ with my stomach are:
- Protein Shakes – if I mix the powder with water, it sits better pre-run than if I mix it with milk. If I’m doing a shake post-run I will mix with milk.
- Toast with Peanut Butter – I tend to eat this more pre-run, especially if it’s an early morning race and I don’t have much time
- Peanut Butter Protein Balls – OMG love these things, I eat them anytime of day and I share my recipe down below
- Jiff Chocolate Peanut Butter Powder – a friend of mine got me on to this; it’s a powder that you can to practically anything….shakes, smoothies, pancakes, oatmeal, you name it! It’s an added boost of protein with less fat than actual peanut butter
Those are just a few of the protein snacks I like to eat before and after my runs. If you couldn’t already tell……I have an affinity for peanut butter!!! 🙂 I love that stuff!!
Today I’m going to share with you my recipe for Peanut Butter Protein Balls. There are so many different variations of these online. Seriously, just google protein balls and you will come up with hundreds of results. I will tell you that I play with my recipe here and there and don’t always follow it to a “T”. I, personally, am not the biggest fan of honey, so I use it sparingly in my ‘batches of balls’, lol. 🙂 Just make sure that you put some honey in, because it and the peanut butter are the ‘glue’ that keep the balls together.
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 cup dry oatmeal
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup flaxseed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbls chia seeds
- Mix the dry ingredients first – chia seeds, oatmeal, flax seed & chocolate chips
- Add in the ‘wet’ ingredients – honey, peanut butter & vanilla
- Mix well, you want to make sure that all the dry ingredients get incorporated into the wet, if not, it will make it much more difficult to make your balls later on
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a half hour to an hour to cool and stiffen.
- Take the mixture out of the fridge and roll into small balls. I prefer to use one of my measuring spoons (usually a Tablespoon) to scoop. I have a friend that uses a melon-baller, another great idea!
- One batch yields about 20 balls, depending on the size you make them. I prefer them to be just small enough to pop into my mouth one at a time. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. I tend to make a double batch every time I make them because between my son and I they go QUICK!! 🙂