5 Love Bites To Fuel Your Next Run

Make your running partner happy (and maybe even a bit faster) with these fun DIY Valentine's Day treats.

Elyse Kopecky |

Savoury Pretzel Granola

Image by Mitch Mandel

Makes 7 cups
Fuel a runner’s snack-​attack with a crunchy, savoury treat they can feel good about devouring. This unique salty-and-spicy granola recipe is high in protein and healthy fats.

  • 3    cups pretzels (twists)
  • 2    cups nuts (almonds and cashews)
  • 1    cup rolled oats
  • ½    cup sunflower seeds
  • 2    tsp. mustard powder
  • 1    tsp. garlic or onion powder
  • ½    tsp. fine sea salt
  • ¼    tsp. cayenne, optional
  • 2    egg whites
  • 2    Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2    Tbsp. honey

Preheat the oven to 135°C and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pretzels, nuts, oats, seeds, and seasonings. In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites, olive oil and honey, add to the dry ingredients, and toss to combine. Spread out on the baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes. Cool completely before transferring to
glass jars.

Pecan Pie Nut Butter

Image by Mitch Mandel

Fills 1 230ml jar

Early-morning runners will dig slathering a spoonful of this anti-inflammatory and energising nut butter on a banana before they lace up. Pecans are high in healthy fats for lasting energy, and are anti­oxidant-rich for recovery.

  • 3    cups roasted, unsalted pecans
  • 2    Tbsp. coconut sugar
  • 1    tsp. vanilla
  • ½   tsp. cinnamon
  • ¹⁄8  tsp. salt

In a food processor or high-speed blender, combine the pecans, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Process on high speed for several minutes until very smooth, stopping as needed to scrape down the sides and underneath the blade. Scoop into a small glass jar and wrap with a ribbon.

Pumpkin Cherry Dark-​Chocolate Bark

Image by Mitch Mandel

Makes 10 pieces

This decadent five-​ingredient bark is incredibly energising and rich in minerals, thanks to the power combo of cocoa, pumpkin seeds, and tart cherries.

  • ½    cup virgin coconut oil
  • ¹⁄3    cup unsweetened
  • cocoa powder
  • ¼    cup maple syrup / honey
  • ¹⁄3    cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼    cup dried tart cherries (unsweetened)

Cut parchment paper to fit a 20cm square baking dish with enough paper to come up slightly on the sides. Combine the coconut oil, cocoa powder, and syrup / honey in a small saucepan over low heat and whisk until melted. Pour into the baking dish to evenly fill the bottom. Sprinkle the seeds and cherries over top. Freeze for 1 hour or longer. Break into pieces and transfer to cellophane gift bags. Store in the freezer. Note: this treat melts at room temperature.

Turmeric-Spiced Popcorn

Image by Mitch Mandel

Makes 8 cups

Homemade popcorn is an awesome whole-​grain snack for runners, especially this mood-​boosting popcorn made with coconut oil and inflammation-​fighting spices. The turmeric gives this popcorn the buttery yellow hue we crave, without the artificial butter. Combine it with roasted nuts in wide-mouthed glass jars.

  • 5    Tbsp. virgin coconut oil, divided
  • ½   cup popcorn kernels
  • 1     tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1     tsp. ground turmeric
  • ½    tsp. garlic powder
  • ½    tsp. smoked paprika

Melt 3 Tbsp. of the oil in a large pan over high heat. Once hot, add the kernels and cover. When popping starts, lower heat to medium and give the pan a shake. Once popping slows, remove from heat but keep covered until popping stops. Transfer popcorn to an extra-large bowl. Combine the salt and spices in a small bowl, sprinkle half over the popcorn, and toss. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil, drizzle over top, and toss again. Add salt-spice mixture to taste.

Runner’s Rejuvenation Chai Tea

Image by Mitch Mandel

Fills 2 230ml mason jars

A hot cup of chai tea is restorative after a long run in freezing temps, and runners will appreciate the digestion-​enhancing ginger and spices in this brew. Gifting tip: Include the tea in a spill-proof travel mug for a bonus present.

  • 85  grams (1 ¹⁄³ cups) loose-leafblack tea
  • ¼  cup dried ginger pieces or chopped glacé ginger
  • 3    Tbsp. cardamom pods, crushed to open the pods
  • 2    Tbsp. whole cloves
  • 1    tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Cinnamon sticks, optional

In a bowl, combine the tea and spices. Divide between two 230ml jars. Add labels with steeping instructions (below). Place cinnamon sticks in a small bag and tie onto the jar. Instructions: Place 1 to 2 tsp. in a tea ball in a mug. Pour boiling water over top, cover, and steep. Add milk and honey to taste.

Elyse Kopecky is co-author of The New York Times best-seller Run Fast Eat Slow (R416, exclusivebooks.co.za).

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