Running is one of my favorite activities. As in, I need to get one of those bumper stickers that reads “I’d rather be running.” Or maybe “My other car is a pair of running shoes.” They make those, right? If not, let’s earmark that for a side-project. Anyway, running makes me hungry, so having plenty of snacks around is a must. And because running demands a lot of the body, having snacks around that help support my running habit is especially important. Trailmix is a great way of meeting both my hunger and nutritional needs.
I love making trailmix at home because it’s so stinking simple. If you have measuring cups, you can make trailmix. It’s also a whole lot cheaper than buying the prepackaged stuff. And most importantly, I can control exactly what goes in it, so I can avoid my trailmix turning into bulk-size-M&Ms-with-a-few-raisins-sprinkled-in (you know exactly what I’m talking about!).
[bctt tweet=”Trailmix loaded with antioxidants to help reduce running-related inflammation.” username=”@runliftrd”]
My Ultimate Runner’s Trailmix is a mix of dried fruits and nuts – nothing special at first glance. But each of the ingredients serves a purpose here:
Dried Cherries: These guys are high in antioxidants, which not only support heart health but help reduce inflammation caused by running. (Yes, there is added sugar on the dried cherries in this recipe, which I’m not mad about. Simple carbohydrates help fuel your carbohydrate needs while running. You can swap out unsweetened dried cherries if you want to avoid the added sugar.)
Dried Apricots: Providing antioxidant benefits (this time from carotenoids) like the cherries, dried apricots are also high in potassium, one of the key minerals in the regulation of blood pressure and hydration status (hello, runners).
Golden Raisins: A good dose of simple carbohydrate = energy. Raisins are also a good source of potassium and phosphorus (important in metabolism and energy production). They also contain the flavonoid quercetin, which acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Dried Blueberries: Antioxidants pterostilbene and resveratrol, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, fiber, potassium, copper (needed for red blood cell production as well as enzyme and protein synthesis)…enough said!
Almonds: Almonds are rich in heart-healthy fats, as well as manganese and vitamin E, an antioxidant. (You’re seeing the theme here, right? Antioxidants = good. Antioxidants for folks with high levels of inflammation, like runners = great!)
Walnuts: These guys are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s help improve blood flow and thus move more oxygen to working muscles. Runners like good oxygen flow to working muscles!
Dark Chocolate Chips: These are in here because everything is better with chocolate. That’s all. Ok, kidding. That’s not all, although chocolate does make most recipes better, in my opinion. This chocolate addition does actually serve a purpose beyond flavor: iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium are all found in dark chocolate. On top of that, dark chocolate contains polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, all of which are antioxidants.
The higher fat content and fiber content makes this trailmix ideal fuel to take in 2-4 hours before your run (and then top off with some simple carbohydrate 15-30 minutes before heading out for you run), or after you come back from your run.
The key with trailmix is portion control. Dried fruits and nuts are higher calorie foods, so a little goes a long way here. One serving is 1/4 cup, and the recipe makes 22 servings. Keep it stored in the fridge, tightly sealed (it can go rancid in the pantry once exposed to oxygen).