Before a run, she keeps it classic: a little maple syrup and nut butter stirred in right at the end, then topped with banana and cinnamon.
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Surfer Mark Healey depends on oatmeal before big days on the ocean.
His go-to recipe perfectly balances nutrients, delivering carbohydrates and immediate energy in the form of bananas and raisins, a bit of protein from chia seeds, and satiating healthy fats in coconut oil and butter.
Oatmeal, which Bartholomew enjoys before and after runs, has become one of her staple dishes, in part because it allows for a variety of ingredients and macronutrients—fat, carbs, and protein.
“I always carry a bag of quick oats at airports and hotels,” she says.
But a bowl of oats is also a big blank canvas, ready to be combined with a truckload of other high-quality, nutritious ingredients that make it even better training food. You can take it in so many directions,” says Fitzgerald. Two-time Ironman champion Jesse Thomas’ Picky Bars just released Picky Oats, a lineup of better-for-the-athlete instant oatmeal chock-full of real ingredients to support performance, rather than added sugars or fake health foods.
“I literally believe that besides energy bars, oatmeal is the next most pervasive food for athletes,” says Thomas. All you have to do is boil a ratio of 1/2 cup rolled oats to one cup liquid—either water or a milk of your choice—and top it with whatever you need that day.
You’re most likely to see oatmeal served with a ton of fixin’s, but even a bowl of plain oats holds its own as a nutritional panacea.
Oatmeal is a whole grain (unless you buy oat bran—just part of the seed—as opposed to rolled oats) filled with key vitamins and minerals, a low-glycemic carb that provides lasting energy for your workout and helps fuel recovery without causing a sugar crash, and high in fiber to aid your digestive and metabolic systems.
Depending on her mood, Violett adds proteins and fats in the form of eggs, cheese, and pumpkin puree.