Make-Ahead Meals

By Matt Kadey | Aug. 29, 2016, 1:49 p.m. (ET)

make ahead meals

Republished with permission from “Rocket Fuel” by Matt Kadey, RD. Learn more at velopress.com/rocketfuel.

As the old saying goes, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It’s true that a well-balanced morning meal brings about a slew of benefits, including better concentration and less chance of weight gain. Yet those who are committed to running know that the path to better fitness is smoother when they take their post-workout nutrition just as serious as breakfast.

That’s because the hour or so after working out is considered a key time frame for kick-starting the replenishment of spent energy stores and switching on the metabolic machinery that is involved in repairing and building muscle in response to your run workout. In other words, your weary muscles are primed for nourishment for about an hour after a run. And the recovery benefits are even stronger if you can refuel within a half hour of finishing your workout.

So the clock doesn’t stop ticking when you switch off your GPS watch; that’s actually when the countdown to recovery begins.

But if you’re like me, those first 30 minutes after a workout sometimes escape me because I’m busily stripping off hot running shoes, sweaty clothing, and sticking my head into the freezer to cool off and grapple ice cubes for a few pints of cold water to gulp.

With a little planning ahead, you can really improve your recovery with some pre-made recovery snacks that taste great immediately after your workout. Better yet, I’ve paid close attention to the portions and the macronutrient balance of carbs, protein, and fats to make sure these snacks are tuned to ideal recovery.

Blueberry Protein Freezer Pancakes: By thinking ahead and making up a batch of these protein-rich pancakes and freezing them, you can almost instantly enjoy a taste of breakfast for your recovery meal. Forget the fork and knife, just reheat and eat them hand-to-mouth style.

Farro Egg Cakes: These egg cakes/handheld frittatas follow the rules of post-training nutrition, namely teaming up carbs and protein. You can enjoy them straight from the fridge or cooler, at room temperature or heated for about 30 seconds in the microwave.

Peanut Butter & Berry Protein Oats: These make-ahead oats are ready to help you recover the minute your workout comes to a halt. Soaking the oats removes the need to cook them, making this recipe a great option for transporting with you if you’re going to be away from the kitchen after exercise and you don’t want to delay refueling. 

Salted Quinoa Almond Fudge Cups: Recovery fudge? Heck, yeah! Every good deed deserves a reward. So after a health-boosting workout, why not luxuriate in some fudge? Of course, this version has more of what you need to recover than any typical store-bought fudge. Case in point: I’ve worked in some protein powder, banana and quinoa puffs for extra recovery protein and carbohydrates.

rocket fuelRepublished with permission of VeloPress from “Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports and Adventure” by Matt Kadey, RD. See more recipes at rocketfuelfoods.net.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the practices of USA Triathlon. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician and/or coach.