Found on RunnersWorld.com and written by Kim McDevitt
Get a healthy sugar boost without that weighted-down feeling.
For many years my “go-to” fuel was a banana. Thanks to bananas’ easily digested sugars, they usually sat comfortably in my stomach and were convenient. The catch? I don’t really like bananas! In fact, when eaten alone, I sort of detest the taste and texture (especially the really ripe ones). But, some time last year, Medjool dates entered my life. And bananas have taken a backseat ever since. Why? Dates are incredibly easy in terms of digestion and convenience. Plus, they taste great.
Digest better with dates
Pull out the pit and three chews later of soft, sweet goodness you’ve got a great burst of energy. Thanks to the easily accessed sugars, dates cause little to no digestive distress. This means you can feel okay eating them literally as you’re walking out the door on a run or as midrun fuel.
In comparison to bananas, you get a high amount of sugar in a smaller portion of dates, which I’m a big fan of. This means I can eat one or two and feel like I’ve eaten virtually nothing (goodbye weighted-down tummy), but have the energy I need to go.
Turn dates into a more lasting meal by adding a bit of fat from coconut butter, coconut oil, or almond butter to each bite. You can smear each one quickly or make your own energy bite.
For convenient real-food fueling, choose dates
Another benefit is they are incredibly portable, and because of this they are now frequently my midrun fuel of choice. With less than 70 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrate per date, they make a perfect swap for a gel (typically 90 calories and 23 to 25 grams of carbohydrate).
Wrap a few in a small plastic bag or plastic wrap and use in place of a gel.
I also love that dates are free from artificial ingredients such as corn syrup or maltodextrin, which are frequently seen in gels.
Looking for a nutrition powerhouse to fuel your runs?
Beyond easily digested carbohydrates, dates are rich in potassium and a good source of calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Additionally, they are full of phytonutrients, which help strengthen our immune systems, many of which are weakened by excessive exercise. Phytonutrients can help support faster recovery and protect our cells from free radical damage.