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Another week, another batch of granola!

It’s insanely cold this week in NYC, so I needed to add a little kick to this week’s recipe. It’s a twist on my ginger coconut granola – this time with slightly larger chunks of chopped uncrystallized ginger, which gives this recipe a more potent ginger flavor. The chunks are quite large and the chopped pieces are very sticky, but I discovered that if you massage them with a little coconut oil, they are easier to separate and intersperse throughout the other ingredients. The oil also allows the ginger to get a little crispy on the outside while remaining chewy on the inside when you bake it (although you will only get this texture once the granola cools).

I also used a wider variety of nuts/seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, flax, chopped pecans, sliced almonds) and coconut flakes. I kept the maple syrup, oats, cinnamon, vanilla and salt the same, but barely used any coconut oil this time (just a tiny splash in the maple syrup mixture). I think it’s my favorite version yet…even crunchier, spicier, bolder and more addictive! It’s also a bit closer to the version that I love from Borough Market (Mini Magoo).

Here are the before and after baking shots. You’ll know the granola is ready when the oats are nice and crispy and the coconut flakes are nicely browned (stir frequently to make sure they don’t burn). I made a larger batch today as I’m sending half of it to my sister in California – makes a great homemade “just because I love you” gift! I also included nutrition facts on this recipe (see below).

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Stay warm folks – E and I layered up big time and managed to knock out 14M for our Valentine’s Day long run yesterday, but with today’s sub-zero temps, I think it’s a lazy indoor day for us!

Ginger Coconut Granola (Version 2)

Ingredients

3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp coconut oil
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/8 cup flax seeds
Generous pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped uncrystallized candied ginger (lightly coat knife blade in oil to help with stickiness)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Combine dry ingredients except for ginger in large bowl (use more or less of the various nuts/seeds as desired)
  3. Whisk together maple syrup, salt, vanilla and coconut oil in small bowl
  4. Pour wet into dry mixture and combine so that it is evenly distributed
  5. Massage chopped ginger pieces (which are likely stuck together) with a tiny bit of coconut oil using your fingers and separate pieces before adding to mixture
  6. Spread mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet (or use foil brushed lightly w/ oil)
  7. Bake for 15 min, stir mixture, then bake for three 10 minute intervals in between stirring until oats are crunchy; if you see the coconut flakes browning but oats are not yet crunchy enough, you may want to stir every 5min to make sure it doesn’t burn
  8. Remove from oven and let cool completely
  9. Store in an airtight container

Yield: 6 cups granola

Serving size: 1/4 cup

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When I’m training (or even when I’m not), cereal or fruit salad simply don’t do it for me. After my morning workout, I need a filling, healthy breakfast to help me recover and give me energy for the rest of my day.  But like many of you, perhaps, I usually eat at work and only have about 5-10 minutes to spare before the craziness begins.

I’ve included below my go-to weekday breakfasts, as well as a couple other quick and easy breakfasts I make if I eat at home before work or on the weekends.  They surely aren’t exotic or ground-breaking, but my breakfasts are substantial, healthy and also cheaper than most pre-made breakfasts I see in the shops. I cycle between them and change up the ingredients to prevent boredom, but always have them along with 1 liter of water and a big cup of coffee!

If any of these ideas sound appealing to you, stop by the grocery store and give one a try tomorrow morning! I usually do my shopping once a week and store it in the work fridge so it’s all there, ready for me.

Non-fat Greek yogurt or plain natural yogurt with fruit/muesli/etc:

*Place the yogurt in a bowl, and add fruit (berries, kiwis, pomegranate seeds, and/or sliced banana are my favorites), honey or agave syrup and cinnamon
*Try adding a 1/4-1/2 cup of museli (the no sugar added kind is best), ground flaxseeds, mixed nuts and/or dried fruit for something more substantial

Oatmeal made with skim milk and banana: (Also my pre-race or long run meal)
*Avoid the instant kind, and go for the type that takes 3-5min to cook in the microwave instead – you will stay fuller, longer! If you’re at home and have more time, try steel-cut oats – very dense and filling!
*Place ½ cup oats in a bowl, and add cinnamon and honey
*Heat up 1 cup milk in the microwave for about 1min, stir into the oats, and then put the combination back into the microwave for about 1.5-2min.
*Mash a ripe banana with a fork in a bowl, and then add to the oatmeal and put back into the microwave for another 1-2min, removing occasionally to stir.
*Instead of/in addition to banana, you can also try blueberries, dried cranberries, raisins, chopped walnuts, almonds or whatever else you fancy! So many options…

Peanut Butter & Banana Toast:
*Grab a couple slices of whole-grain bread, pop them in the toaster, spread about 2 tablespoons of natural peanut-butter (Peanut Butter & Co is my favorite) and some honey on top, and then add sliced banana. Simple and delicious, especially with a big glass of milk. Also great for a pre/post run snack!

Vegetable Omelet:
*I use 3 eggs/1 yolk; whisk together with a fork, adding salt & pepper to taste
*Steam (microwave is easiest) your vegetables of choice – I like baby spinach, sliced mushrooms, and/or zucchini. Wash and put in the microwave, cover with a lid, and cook for about 1min.
*While the veg is cooking, spray the frying pan with cooking spray or add some olive oil and turn on the heat.
*Add the egg mixture to the heated pan, and once halfway cooked, place the veg on one side of the omelet.
*Add a small amount of sliced or shredded cheese, if desired, and then fold the omelet in half and remove from the when fully cooked.
*Place inside a whole-wheat wrap or pita, along with some sliced avocado, for something more substantial

Fruit Smoothie:
*I always try to keep frozen berries & bananas (separated into small pieces), in my freezer for this purpose
*Place your frozen fruit of choice into the blender, along with some skim milk (fill to just below frozen fruit), honey, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
*Use greek/plain yogurt, muesli and/or walnuts or almonds for a more filling smoothie.
*Blend together – add a couple of ice cubes to thicken the texture. Reblend.

When you hear the words “tuna salad,” do you think of the kind you’d get in a deli or diner, loaded with mayo and scooped onto a few lettuce leaves or slices of bread? In other words, a blob of white? Or do you imagine a fresh, homemade salad loaded with vegetables, high in healthy fats and protein and bursting with color?

When I make tuna salad (or any salad, for that matter), it usually looks something like this:

I love tuna fish – my favorite kind of canned fish is Dave’s Gourmet Albacore, which is based in my hometown in CA but sold all over the place, including Whole Foods. It’s quite pricey, but it is worth it! My favorites are the jalapeño albacore, garlic albacore, jalapeño salmon, and smoked alderwood salmon, but you can’t really go wrong with whatever you get – it’s all delicious!

Sadly, I can’t get any out here and ran out of my precious supply months ago. And so it’s been a long time since I’ve eaten tuna salad, because once you go gourmet, it’s kind of hard to go back!

Tonight, however, I was craving a big healthy salad that was high in protein to balance out my pancake brunch and give my body all the nutrients it needed for post-long run recovery. All I could think was – tuna salad would be perfect, shame I don’t have any Dave’s left…

I decided that I should give normal supermarket tuna a try – surely it would taste great when all dressed up, right?

Yes, indeed!

Want to create a delicious and extremely healthy tuna salad? Then give my Dressed up tuna salad recipe a try! Be sure to get creative with this one – try to incorporate as many different vegetables/colors as possible. I usually grab whatever I have in the fridge, but always like to make sure there’s enough crunch to balance out the tuna texture.

If you’re not a big tuna fan or you’re vegetarian, then substitute tuna for chicken, edamame, quinoa, beans, or whatever else suits your food preferences.

Need more visual inspiration?

The result? A delicious, dressed-up and extremely healthy tuna salad, followed by a refreshing and light bowl of fruit to cleanse your palate.

Dinner is served!

Today is my first day back in the office, and (like many of you, I’m sure) I would rather be in bed right now than sitting at my desk with a mountain of work to do! Yuck. Thankfully, I am finally going on holiday later this month – only 18 more days and I will be sunbathing on a beach in Zanzibar for a week. This California girl desperately needs a break from winter, and also just a vacation, period!

I did many long weekends throughout the UK and Europe in 2010, but the only proper holiday I took (excluding the US) was my post-Paris marathon vacation in Spain, which turned out to be a marathon in itself! You all remember the fun surrounding the Icelandic volcano last April – that thing erupted just before I needed to fly back to London, and as a result, it took me five days and four trains to get home. Let’s just say it was not the relaxing vacation I had envisioned! So, with another big race coming up and a few more months of winter to go, this beach holiday is well-timed.

While I countdown the days until I start popping Malarone pills, I need to keep myself in good spirits, and one thing that always makes me happy is baking! Nothing beats the smell of something sweet and delicious in the oven – except eating what you bake once it’s finished!

What’s my favorite baking ingredient? Extra ripe bananas.


The banana, from my experience at least, seems to be the most prevalent (and easily digested) foods for runners. It’s one of the only things I can eat shortly before putting on my running shoes, and I always see them in mass quantities before and after races.

Loaded with carbohydrates, it’s no surprise that this fruit is great pre-run fuel – tastier than a sports gel, and far cheaper and easier to obtain, that’s for sure! As for post-run, bananas don’t contain much protein (only about 1g in a medium sized fruit), which is crucial to recovery in addition to carbohydrate, but they can certainly tie you over in a pinch!

Not a big banana fan? Sure, bananas are a bit boring on their own when compared to prettier fruits such as berries or more exotic fruits like mangos. But what other fruit is so cheap, readily available, versatile and delicious in hundreds of different contexts?

How about sliced with peanut-butter and honey on top of wholegrain toast, with a glass of milk? Or frozen, thrown into a blender along with Greek yogurt, agave syrup, cinnamon, vanilla extract, a splash of milk and a few walnuts? Or sliced on top of plain yogurt with berries, museli and honey? Or sliced and baked, drizzled with cinnamon and honey, and placed on top of wholegrain pancakes or waffles? Or (when extra ripe), mashed and added to oatmeal, cooked with milk, cinnamon and honey (that is my pre-race meal, minus the milk)? Or dried into crunchy chips or chewy slices? Or frozen and dipped in dark chocolate? Or baked into a cake or cookie?

Okay, I’m getting a bit carried away, but as you can see, the possibilities really are endless…Let’s not forget, however, one of my all-time favorites: Extra ripe bananas used to make banana bread or muffins. YUMMY!

I won’t deny that some of the most delicious versions are loaded with white sugar, butter, white flour and other things that make baked goods amazing. Nothing wrong with that, but I’m in training now so I’m craving something more nutritious. I’m looking for something that would not only be a delicious dessert but would also serve as a perfect pre- or post-run snack, leaving me satisfied without feeling like I just wiped away my efforts.

Is that too much to ask for from a muffin?

Nope – check out my Healthy Banana Walnut Muffin (or Bread) Recipe! It’s high in complex carbs, fiber, protein and healthy fats, without the oil, butter, egg yolks and white flour found in other recipes.

How can that taste good?!

Well you can’t compare these to muffins loaded with all kinds of unhealthy goodness (butter does make everything taste great, after all), but you won’t be disappointed and your body will thank you. Somehow these always turn out great and everyone always asks me for the recipe. The key is using VERY ripe bananas, and the walnuts/dark chocolate chips add some indulgence while also boosting nutritional value.  I often use this recipe to make banana bread, but recently I’ve been more into making muffins since they’re such a convenient snack and can be thrown into the freezer.

So without further ado, let’s bake some banana deliciousness!

Claire’s Healthy Banana Walnut Muffins (or Bread)

Enjoy!

Welcome to FFR

Hi, I'm Claire! I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (MS, RD, CDN) and a Road Runners Club of America certified coach. This is where I share my latest adventures in running, racing, food & travel! If you'd like to work with me, please visit my professional website, Eat for Endurance.

My PRs

Marathon (Chicago): 3:33:18
Boston Marathon: 3:36:14
Half-Marathon: 1:37:21
10M: 1:14:52
10k: 44:52

My latest photos

Grateful for quality time this week with my little pumpkin! 🎃😍 Happy Monday from California! I haven’t posted any running pics for a long time as I’ve been dealing with a hip injury for the last few months (and zero running for the last 5 weeks). 😓 I haven’t run a race, even a short one, in over a year - so different than how I imagined my postpartum running life to be. It makes me sad that I can’t run especially while in Santa Cruz, but I’m trying to stay active in different ways, be diligent about my PT, and remain positive even though the road to recovery feels endless at times. Yesterday, E and I went on a beautiful beach walk in the morning and then I did a hike with a friend and our babes in the afternoon, where I normally run in Nisene. I miss running but hopefully will get back to it soon, stronger than before! Baking “for the baby” tonight (so I say as I gobble up these delicious treats). Made mini pumpkin muffins (and a few mama sized ones), recipe adapted from @babyfoode. So easy to make - I added full fat Greek yogurt and almond butter to include some healthy fats. I think Arielle will love these - if for some crazy reason she doesn’t, more for me!! 😂 Nice work on tonight’s dinner, @trailz.io!! So good I’m going back for seconds. Veg bake with layers of eggplant, red onions, tomatoes, zucchini, ricotta, breadcrumbs, & spices with arugula on top. 👌🏻 Surprise package in the mail today! Thx @rxbar - stoked to try out the new gingerbread flavor. Speaking of, how on earth is it already the holiday season?!?! #rxbar Love @siggisdairy triple cream yogurts - perfect to satisfy a craving for something sweet and indulgent while providing 9g protein, relatively few calories (170), and calcium. The chocolate flavor was so delicious! #dailysiggis

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