As the firstborn, this is my son who I was determined would eat and drink healthfully from birth. Poor thing — he ate my homemade yogurt instead of candy. There was never a box of sugar-coated cereal in the cupboard. He loved zucchini muffins, cookies full of oats, and gingersnaps. Raisins or fresh fruit were a common snack. His mother-controlled low-sugar snacking, which he thought was normal, came to an end when he started school. Suddenly, his world opened up with visits to homes of his friends, snacks at school, birthday parties and sleepovers. But, I’m quite sure his first five years of life that were filled with fresh fruit, yogurt, oats, raisins and whole wheat built a strong foundation for the long-distance running he would finally challenge himself with years later.
I’ve been at the Fargo Marathon the last few years as a bystander, catching the excitement as I moved with my family from one spot on the route to another, cheering on both sons and a daughter-in-law as they ran by. It’s so much fun.
I’ll be missing all the running and rocking in Fargo on Saturday. I’ll miss Dan’s little grin at the end of his run that, without words, says “I did it. No sweat.”
I’ll be in Detroit Lakes listening to a presentation by Sarah Susanka. But, I’ll be packing a bag of Rockin’ Energy Bites that will go to Fargo with my husband, who will have to do the cheering for both of us this year.
I’ve loaded Rockin’ Energy Bites with food that fuels, including:
- Almonds are a great source of protein, fiber, and several minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and zinc. They are also high in vitamin E, and contain smaller amounts of folic acid and vitamin B2. Almonds are a wise choice for a runnerâ€™s snack, helping to prevent achy muscles.
- Quinoa (KEEN-wah), an ancient grain from South America, is a complex carbohydrate that is a great energy source filled with fiber, B vitamins, zinc and magnesium, all helpful to runners.
- All berries are good for you, but those with a blue hue are among the best of the bunch. Filled with vitamin C and potassium, blueberries can help the body repair itself after long, hard runs.
- Bananas are a perfect pre-workout or post-workout food. They are a great source of carbohydrates and potassium. No wonder there is always a load of bananas waiting at the end of a race.
So, if I could, I’d give that little big boy of mine a couple of Rockin’ Energy Bites and some low-fat Greek-style yogurt before the marathon on Saturday morning. Low-fat yogurt is a good source of carbohydrates and protein, and Greek yogurt has less carbs and even more protein. Both are great sources of calcium, so important for runners to help prevent stress fractures.
And, at each place the family meets him along the route, an offer of wedges of juicy, vitamin C-packed oranges would be what a mother might think to do. Oranges are great for healing and helping absorb iron in the body which can help prevent fatigue and increase energy levels.
But, this mother is not a runner. This mother just knows about food that’s good for a little boy that has become a runner. A little boy that has become a big boy who is nearing 40 years old. But, mothers aren’t in charge of breakfast and snacks for their adult sons.
I’ll be packing extra Rockin’ Energy Bites for my cheering family members, too. Following a runner around the marathon route can be draining. These Bites will keep them rockin’.
Rockin’ Energy Bites
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup oat bran
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup dried blueberries
- 1/3 cup chopped dates
- 1 banana, peeled, sliced
- 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Arrange almonds in a single layer on one small baking sheet. Spread quinoa on another baking sheet. To toast, bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Line a 9-inch round baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place toasted almonds, toasted uncooked quinoa, rolled oats, oat bran, sunflower seeds, dried blueberries and dates into the work bowl of food processor. Pulse until mixed and slightly ground up.
Add sliced banana, peanut butter and honey to the mixture. Process until ingredients are blended and mixture is very thick.
Transfer mixture to prepared pan. With wet fingers, press mixture evenly into bottom of pan. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan.
When mixture is cool, pull the round out of the pan by holding the parchment paper. Set on work surface and cut into serving-size pieces.
I use a small 1 1/4-inch round cookie cutter to make pop-in-the-mouth-sized Bites. For a snack to nibble on for several miles in the car, I cut larger rounds.
Tips from the cook
- Quinoa has a naturally occurring coating of bitter saponin. If the package does not indicate that the quinoa has been rinsed of the saponin, it is a good idea to put it in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cool water. Shake well and then place on baking sheet to toast.
- I use all organic products to make these Rockin’ Energy Bites, except for the dried blueberries and the honey. At this point, organic dried blueberries are not available in my local stores. The honey I use is local but not organic.
- You can watch a short video of me preparing these Energy Bites on a segment of Lakeland Cooks. Click here.
- You may also enjoy the Power Cookies I made for last year’s Marathon. Click here to get right to that post.