OLD SCHOOL – Engineered food. We all know the products: taffy-like or candy-like energy bars, gels, chews, sports drinks, recovery drinks — the list goes on and on. We’re promised better performance through better science, as we pay premium prices for packaged foods. They are easy to use, and we are told that they are necessary.
NEW SCHOOL – Real food for best performance and health. Chocolate milk has the right blend of simple carbs and protein to be the perfect recovery drink, and water is the best thing to take for hydration. Phyto-chemicals in plants help prevent certain kinds of cancer, and natural fiber in grain-based products are more effective than engineered, refined fiber added to packaged products.
TAKE-AWAY – There’s no need to turn away from all engineered food; I find that gels and chews work well during races, and the convenience of engineered food can’t be matched, but aim to eat as low on the food chain as often as possible in order to maximize the benefits of real food.
RECIPE OF THE DAY: My favorite pre-race/pre-workout snack is a peanut butter fig newton sandwich. Yep, it’s just what it sounds like: smear some peanut butter on a fig newton (fat-free preferred) and top with another fig newton bar. Lots of carbs, plus a bit of protein and fat to slow digestion a little bit. And the taste ain’t bad either!
Now, I know some people will say that this isn’t the most healthy snack, and it’s not very low on the food chain either, and that’s true, but I think it beats energy bars, and it’s so good!