April 11, 2014

Post-Workout Snack Recipes

You gotta figure if the word "recipe" is in the title, this is going to be a guest post--Crabby is not known for her culinary skills.  And snack recipes?  Crabby's is: "grab 1 handful of mixed nuts. Repeat.  Repeat again.  Repeat yet again, adding a few squares of dark chocolate and a heaping portion of self-recrimination.  Approach nuts yet again... stop. Curse. Leave kitchen.  Repeat again in a few hours."

So yeah. Hooray for Steph from a  A Life without Ice Cream who actually knows how to make things!

Steph is an Ottawa blogger who has been living dairy-free for over a decade. Committing to a healthy lifestyle over 5 years ago, she got her butt in gear, learned to love fitness, and lost over 90lbs. Although she has been tweaking and creating recipes for ages, she started A Life without Ice Cream  to document recipes and keep the healthy living conversation going.  Steph is not a nutritionist, just someone who enjoys food and loves creating new recipes!

So please welcome Steph!--Crabby

Hey there Cranky Fitness readers!

I’m a long time reader of Cranky Fitness so when I saw the opportunity to share some of my favourite post-workout snacks with you I couldn't resist. Thanks so much for the opportunity!

I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about post-workout snacks. It’s a tricky thing. Sometimes I come home from the gym or a run and could literally eat anything in my way. Wash an apple? Who has time? HUNGRY! Other times I don’t feel even a little hungry, but the next day, watch out. There’s a lot of debate out there about what you actually “need” after a good workout, but my rule of thumb is if you’re legitimately hungry, you should eat something. Even better, eat something healthy that gives you tons of energy.

Throughout the month of March I was working on a fitness challenge – Ironman March. This is where you complete the distance of an Ironman throughout 31 days. That’s:

Running 26.2 Miles (42km)
Cycling 112 Miles (183km)
Swimming 2.4 Miles (3.8km)

Yeah…I’m Canadian, gotta get those KM in there.  Also, since I live in Ottawa and it’s been the coldest winter on record in 30 or so years, I was logging those miles indoors!

Like any good challenge, this one taught me a few lessons.

1) People who are able to do all this in one day AMAZE me. Perhaps they should be studied. I mean wow.
2) I’m really stubborn and can do pretty much anything I put my mind to (except perhaps not get painfully bored on a stationary bike… I’m not sure I’ll ever master that).
3) Post-workout snacks are really important when you’re ramping up your fitness routine.

I love my cardio, but this challenge really did add some time to my usual workouts. I don’t usually do over 45 minutes and I almost never do two things in a row (or a brick workout). Having to run and then cycling really tapped into my post-workout hunger.

The mark of a good snack for me satiates any hunger and refuels me. I’m always looking for a filling combination of carbs, fat, and protein that range of 150-200 calories. Not enough to be a meal, but enough that you actually felt like you ate something.

So, in keeping with Cranky Fitness and the lovely Crabby McSlacker, I’m going to share with you my favourite slacker and keener post-workout “recipes.”

Slacker Snack #1 – Avocado Crackers

Seriously, I know this isn't a recipe, but you have to taste this combination! Triscuit olive oil and black pepper crackers topped with slices of avocado and a sprinkle of lime juice. It tastes so good you’ll want to serve it next time you’re hosting something. This is an ok potluck item right? Hmm. Not sure what Emily Post would say but I’m ok with it!

For after a workout, it’s crunchy, has the carbs you’re craving, and the fresh creamy taste of the avocado and lime is the perfect complement to the peppery crackers.

Typically after a workout I will have 5 or 6 crackers with a little under a ¼ of an avocado on it. It takes just a few minutes to prepare and will keep you going. Plus you have complete control of just how much avocado and lime juice you use – just mind those avocado cals – even healthy fat can pack a punch.

Slacker Snack #2 – Apples and Nut Butter

Another one that is so simple you can’t call it a recipe. Slice up your favourite crispy apple (mine is hands down a fuji) and drizzle over some natural peanut or almond butter. If it’s a thicker butter (like the almond) I usually either pop it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds or just put a tablespoon on the side of the plate for dipping. Want some extra foodie points? Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top. Trust me! This also works well with a banana or pear. Yum! Post workout it’s great but I have to admit, more often than not this is my mid-morning snack no matter what I’m doing.

Now for those of you who are a little more ambitious in the kitchen, these next few recipes are for you. Surprisingly, I’m not the most consistently ambitious person in the kitchen. I love to cook and create new recipes, sure, but who has the time!? I tend to spend the time cooking on a weekend or when I have a free night and make a few things ahead.  This is how I approach these next two recipes – make them ahead of time and keep them in the freezer. You can frequently find one of the granola bars in my purse ready to be devoured after a workout.

Keener Snack #1 – Chewy Pistachio Currant Granola Bars
*Makes 12 bars

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
1/3 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
1/3 cup dried currants
3 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 tbsp ground flax

1/2 cup natural peanut butter
2 tbsp honey (or agave nectar)
1 tbsp coconut oil

Combine all dry ingredients so they're well mixed.

Combine peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil in a small sauce pan on medium low heat and stir until melted and blended together well.

Pour PB mixture over the dry mix and stir until thoroughly coated.

Press into a square pan that's lined with parchment paper and press down.  Cover and let cool in a fridge for a few hours.

Cut and enjoy!

These are a little crumbly but for the most part stay together.  I'm not sure you can get that perfect store bought texture without a whole lot of honey and it's a balance to keep them healthy and not full of sugar (even if it's natural).

I like to wrap them in a piece of saran wrap and put them in the freezer. I throw one in my purse before I workout and it’s ready to go once I’m done.

A few notes:
•  I used red quinoa but you can use any kind. It won't change the flavour, just the colour. I just happened to have more red on hand and wanted red for another recipe I was making.
 Be aware of salt.  I used salted pistachios but unsalted sunflower seeds.  These types of things will have an impact on your end result.
 As always, have fun with it! Don't like pistachios? Try almonds! No currants? Try raisins.

Keener Snack #2 – Double Chocolate Protein Bites
*Makes 16 squares

6-8 pitted dates
10 raw almonds
1/2 cup rolled oats
4 tbsp peanut butter
2 scoops chocolate protein powder (dairy-free or otherwise)
1 tsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp maple syrup*
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sesame seeds

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and let it go.  And go.  And go.  Much like if you're making almond butter the oils will start to come out of the nuts and they will get a little sticky.

As you can see from the picture, it doesn't start to really clump together on its own but if you pinch it together it will hold.

Press it into a 4x4" sandwich container lined with parchment paper.  Then pop them into the fridge for about 15 minutes. Remove when set and cut into squares.

I have two protein bite recipes on the blog and I debated which one would win the place of Keener Snack #2. When it comes down to it, I think chocolate always wins for me. That being said, if you’re more of a vanilla fan check out the Vanilla Peanut Butter Protein Bites.

Thanks for reading Cranky Fitness readers! For more recipes please check out A Life Without Ice Cream.

Keep on snacking!

What do you guys like to snack on?


  1. Welcome, Steph. Wow - I love that way of handling an Ironman! It is just too hard to imagine doing it in a single day. Thanks for the snack ideas. I rarely get past the bag of nuts or the whole fruit, or other less worthy snacks but one of these days I am determined to try out some of these great ideas. But not to try to live without ice cream. Congratulations on that!

    1. Thanks! And luckily they make some VERY good dairy-free ice creams these days :P

  2. Ottawa is one of my favourite places to go...as long as it is summer! You are certainly an athlete...nice on the Ironman March! Awesome achievement, Steph. My snacks are usually nuts, dairy free chocolate, hard boiled eggs, a scoop of coconut oil or a protein shake. So exciting!

    1. Agreed Kimberly, Ottawa in January isn't for every one and usually when I start wondering why I live here! Love hard boiled eggs as a snack myself - easy on the go too!

  3. Triscuits and avocado together are awesome - my problem is I want to eat the whole avocado - self control is not my strong point!

    1. I definitely have to put the avo back in the fridge BEFORE I start snacking or things get dangerous :P

  4. These look delicious, and not just because i'm hungry right now! The avocado would be my favorite fast snack, for certain.

  5. Must…buy…avocado…now!

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  6. Thanks for the recipes. I'll try them soon.


  7. These all looks really delicious and healthy. But I guess my favorite would be the Chewy Pistachio Currant Granola Bars.

  8. I love the first two recipes! They're so easy, even I could do it. Yeah. I love avocado and those crackers! Can't wait to try 'em together.

  9. Wow, Steph - these are SCRUMPTIOUS recipes and I LOVE that you threw in some of the more "assembly v. cooking" things, too. Somehow you managed to provide things spanning a spectrum of kitchen confidence AND that look delicious. Plus - get YOU and all you've done and are doing! Thanks!


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