“Food is fuel”

I don’t often blog about food. I realize how ironic that sounds, especially considering last week’s blog, so let me clarify.

I often blog about my love of food and how much I eat. I don’t often do reviews, talk about new foods I’ve sampled, or share recipes.

That being said, I have tried a few new things recently so it seems like a good opportunity to pepper in a legit food-related post to my usual ramblings. From pre-run to post-workout to just good-in-general eats, here are three solid options to fuel your body right.


First Runner’s Box was a big winner.

Banza Pasta
As an early Christmas present, my in-laws subscribed me to Runner’s Box, one of those monthly boxes of samples. Among the assortment of goodies, I was particularly psyched about the box of Banza macaroni and cheese. I’d heard of Banza, a new kind of pasta made from chickpeas, equaling more protein and more fiber. For those of you interested in fewer carbs, it checks that box too, and for my Celiac peeps, it’s gluten-free.

It definitely tasted different from regular mac and cheese, but it wasn’t bad-different. It was pretty tasty! Definitely something I’d buy again, and I’d even like to try some of the regular pasta to mix with zucchini noodles and veggies. Especially during race training season, it would be a great option for a carb-rich meal that’s not quite so heavy, and adds in some bonus protein and fiber too.

Sprout Living Protein
Yes, we’re getting into a gray area here – I realize protein powder isn’t exactly food. Hear me out though as to why we’re going to talk about it today.


Hello, old friend. Meet new friend.

For a long time, I’ve been a big fan of Magnum Quattro protein from local nutrition shop, H&I Nutrition. I can drink it with water and use it in recipes. It’s my go-to protein.

Last summer, I was approached by Fargo-based Swanson Health Products to try out some products, free of charge (see, kids – learning how to write pays off). p.s. anyone out there can order from Swanson. It has a ridiculous selection of goodies you can shop online – supplements, protein, bars, tea, and more – that can be shipped anywhere. In addition to some supplements, a new kind of Quest bar, and some peach green tea, I chose to try a new protein: Sprout Living’s Pumpkin Seed protein powder.

I first tried mixing with water as a simple post-lift drink. The result was a major fail. The name is a misnomer; it isn’t powdery, it’s a bit heavy and grainy. Not ideal for drinking and I quickly realized, for baking either.

I thought about how I could still enjoy this flavorful, high-protein option. Then it hit me: oatmeal. Nearly every morning I make a packet of oatmeal, usually adding half a sliced banana. Instead of the banana, I tried mixing in a scoop of Sprout. The result was a major win. It’s delicious and now my regular oatmeal is an even better breakfast because it combines good carbs with a solid punch of protein. Awesome after an early morning lift, run, or just to start the day on a high protein note.

Cliff Blocks
I know, I know, energy blocks totally don’t qualify as food. However, this blog is technically about fueling properly for workouts and during my late summer/early fall half marathon blitz, these became my go-to for energy on an empty stomach.


Not quite food, but good pre-run fuel.

If I’m running a half marathon or longer, I try to get up early enough to eat a little bit and let it settle. Give myself a base so there’s enough in the tank to make it til it’s time for a mid-run energy gel. This summer, I found myself running a lot of half marathons. Long runs were anywhere from about 7-12 miles and being that it was summer, I wanted to get them knocked out as early as possible – sometimes even squeezing them in on a Friday morning before work.

Because of timing and distance, eating pre-run didn’t make sense but I still needed something for an energy boost. I’d tried Karbolyn and various gel or liquidy-food-type options on an empty stomach but none ever sat well with me. On a whim, I tried a Cliff block and it was just right. Perfect amount of energy with no tummy troubles.

Have you tried any new pre-workout, recovery, or just good-in-general supplements or foods lately? Which ones have been great – and which do you recommend we stay away from? Comment or tweet me, @runlikeagirl311.


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