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‘Natural’ Workout Food That Tastes Good: Four Recipes

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A new cookbook caters to athletes and active people seeking healthy, natural alternatives to the energy bar aisle.

cook book for athletes

In Rocket Fuel (VeloPress, $23), registered dietician Matt Kadey gives vegans, paleo dieters, and those with gluten and lactose sensitivity options via a unique, 126-recipe tome. We got a peek at four “real-food” ideas you can make at home and eat anywhere outdoors.

Before Exercise

Beet Pistachio Bars

Juice isn’t the only way to get your pre-workout beet power. Thanks to a carefully planned combination of ingredients, these tender bars aren’t overly “beety,” making them a bright addition to your sports-nutrition plan.

Beet Pistachio Bars

Taking the time to roast the beets helps coax out their natural sweetness. I’ve listed the chocolate chips as optional, but they always find a way to sneak into my bar batter. The scattering of pistachios on top offers up great crunch and added nutrition.

Dairy-free, Freezer-friendly, Gluten-free, Vegan or Vegetarian

Servings: 9

Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. To melt for recipes, measure out the specified amount in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds or until liquefied. Or place in the oven as it preheats and allow the oven heat to melt the oil.


  • 1 pound beets (about 4 medium-sized), peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons canola, grapeseed, or light olive oil
  • ½ cup low-fat milk
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
  • ½ cup unsalted shelled pistachios

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place beets in an 8 × 8–inch square baking pan and toss with oil. Roast until tender, about 35 minutes.

Place roasted beets, milk, sugar, coconut oil, and lemon zest in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Blend in eggs.

In a large bowl, stir together rice flour, coconut flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix gently until everything is moist. Fold in chocolate chips, if using.

Line the square baking pan used to roast the beets with parchment paper so there is at least a 1-inch overhang. Place beet mixture in pan in an even layer. Sprinkle pistachios on top and press down gently to help them adhere.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until batter is set in the middle. Let cool completely in pan, then lift out using parchment overhang and slice into nine squares. Keep chilled for up to seven days.

Game Changers: Replace milk with a plain nondairy milk such as almond + Swap out brown sugar for coconut or turbinado sugar + Use orange zest instead of lemon.

Nutrition Data Per Serving: Calories: 264 Protein: 5 g Fat: 13 g Carbs: 33 g Fiber: 4 g Sodium: 177 mg

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