With the price of gym or workout related snacks increasing and our wallets tightening, BakingBar has joined forces again with expert fitness trainer, Peter Wilson, to bring you a nutritious, energy-packed snack to devour before your workout.
The idea of a pre-workout meal or snack is to stabilize your blood sugar levels during exercise, therefore reducing the risk of hypoglycaemia (or low blood sugar levels). It will also stave off hunger, as well as aid in avoiding discomfort such as a stitch or cramps providing the portion is small enough. The pre-workout bars Baking Bar produced are the perfect size for this. However, the pre-workout foods will not actually fuel your workout as there just isn’t enough time to convert the foods into stored glycogen. Remember, what you eat today fuels you tomorrow!
The ingredients we needed for this pre workout bar had to be low GI, loaded with antioxidants and contain a fast acting protein. There are some fats in the peanut butter and the coconut but these should be kept to a minimum. Fats will slow the digestion rate of the protein and carbs.
- Oats: oats are a low GI carbohydrate which will produce a gentle rise in blood sugar, not a large spike associated with refined, high GI foods. This means that the blood sugar levels will remain almost constant instead of peaking and then crashing.
- Bananas: as well as bananas being an easily digestible fruit providing low GI carbohydrates, they are loaded with the electrolyte called potassium. This means that potassium dissolves in water and it carries an electrical charge. This is vital for muscle function, especially during exercise. This makes them brilliant in keeping away cramp especially if you are sweating heavily.
- Peanut butter: peanut butter is one ingredient that should be taken in moderation, especially if you are trying to lose weight as it has a high caloric count. However, there are a number of benefits. Although high in “good fats”, peanut butter also contains potassium like bananas. Maintaining a healthy electrolyte balance is essential, especially during exercise for muscle function. It is also loaded with vitamins and minerals like: phosphorus, zinc, folate, niacin and vitamin E. It also comes with muscle building protein. Not only will this help repair your body but protein has been proven to help keep you fuller for long.
- Whey Protein: whey protein, derived from cow’s milk is a fast acting, easily absorbed form of protein. When you exercise your body gets damaged, especially from resistance training. This is why you feel sore for a few days. Including the protein minimises this damage. It will allow your body to repair quicker, leaving you more energised for your next workout and in the long run this will maximise your results. (In this recipe, whey protein is optional)
- Goji berries: originally from china and used in Chinese medicine, goji berries are an excellent source of antioxidants. They help to fight free radicals, helping to keep the body safe from degenerative diseases such as cancer. The carotenoids are effective in maintaining good eyesight, they protect the liver and kidneys are well as increase the immune system (which can be suppressed by exercise). Their high ORAC rating is responsible in keeping the skin healthy and reducing the aging process and they help to produce HGH (Human growth hormone). Prefect for anyone wanting a little lean weight from their exercise plan.
- Manuka honey: This form of honey is a Superfood from New Zealand. It is anti-everything in the best possible way: antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antifungal. It can be included in as much baking as you want. Different from other honeys, Manuka contains a second natural compound that keeps it stable even when cooked, meaning you maintain all the health benefits. Always try and get the pot with the highest UMF number. (Aim for over 10)
- Cinnamon: cinnamon, one of the oldest know spices is a real gem when it comes to health. It is beneficial to everyone, especially Type 2 diabetics as it helps to normalise blood sugar levels. It does this by helping you respond to the effects of insulin. One of my favourite reasons for using cinnamon is that by only smelling it, you can improve your brain activity! Studies have shown that the smell of cinnamon can improve cognitive function. As well as these benefits, its tastes amazing.
Now lets get baking!!
- 210g Oats
- 35g Desiccated Coconut
- 3tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 2tbsp Smooth or Chunky Natural Peanut Butter
- 3 Egg Whites
- 3 Mashed Bananas
- 3tbsp Manuka Honey
- 80ml Low Fat Milk
- 50g Goji Berries / Cranberries
- 2tbsp PRO HD (can be purchased from Jst-Nutrition) Protein Powder (Optional)
- 1tsp Vanilla Extract
- Preheat oven to 170c.
- In a large bowl stir together the oats, cinnamon, peanut butter and protein powder (optional).
- Stir in the peanut butter and continue to stir until a granola-like consistency is obtained.
- Using an electric mixer beat in the egg whites, mashed banana (a potato masher or ricer works brilliantly for mashing the banana).
- Beat in the honey and add half of the milk.
- Continue to beat together slowly adding a little more milk at a time until all ingredients are combined into a batter.
- Mix in the goji berries or cranberries. You can even use a mixture of both!
- Using a cupcake baking tray lightly grease using a light oil spray or baking spray.
- Spoon a heaped tablespoon of the mixture into each cupcake compartment, the mixture won’t really rise while cooking.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 mins. Allow to cool slightly before turning out.
- These are best wrapped in pairs in cellophane wrap for easy of convenience to grab on your way to the gym. You can store them in an airtight container for 2-3 days. The recipe makes around 9-10 bites.