At Osmo Nutrition we are big believers in separating food and hydration, that is, eating real food and drinking Osmo Active to hydrate and not fuel. “Hydration in the bottle, food in the pocket” expresses this belief succinctly. Many athletes who are used to eating bars and gels are unsure of what eating “real food” entails. Toward that end, Stacy Sims, our chief research officer, put together the following notes and recipes. Let us know what you think!

Real Food by Dr. Stacy Sims

Q: What is “real food for the pocket”?
A: “Real food” is just that, food that looks like food, tastes like food, and is recognizable by your grandma as being real food. Real food can be in the form of 1/3 cup dried fruit (figs, dates, raisins) with 1 tablespoon of nuts, or a handful of small new potatoes (cooked and salted), or 3-4 rice balls (basmati rice, honey, tamari or soy sauce) or a mixed macronutrient bar (protein+fat+carb) that isn’t sugar based (try the homemade one, below) or protein bites (recipe also below). Other options are real sandwiches cut up into smaller bites (PBJ on white bread; cheese on focaccia, even a turkey and cheese panini), a lowfat muffin (fruit or savory) bites, lowfat brownie bites or cookies. You can even try turkey jerky for a bit of salty non-sweet food on longer, lower intensity rides or runs.

For high intensity, shorter, rides or runs it is often hard to eat; here is where a bit of “engineered nutrition” may come in handy. Think back to your childhood… What was your favorite gummy candy? Swedish fish? Easter time jelly beans? Mike and Ike candies? All these supply quick hits of sugar (watch that the primary sugar is not fructose or high fructose corn syrup) glucose and/or sucrose are better options, brown rice syrup is best (lower on the glycemic index, thus less of a sugar rush up and down).

For the optimal “food in the pocket, hydration in the bottle” experience aim to eat 4 to 6.5 calories per kg of body weight per hour and drink one bottle of Osmo Active per hour.

Here are three recipes for real food:

Homemade Bar:
3/4 cup brown rice syrup
2/3 cup almond or peanut butter (natural)
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
Crushed vanilla beans (dried vanilla bean powder, optional)
1.5 to 2 cups Nature’s Path Optimum cereal (Slim or Blueberry-Cinnamon) or other flax flake, low sugar, high protein cereal (like Kashi). (You can also crush up some pretzels to add with the cereal.)
Sea Salt

Method: Microwave the brown rice syrup for 1:20 (It will bubble slightly.) Stir in nut butter until well combined. Then stir in cereal and any optional ingredients. Pat into pan, sprinkle with salt. Chill until firm. Cut into bars.

Protein Power Bites:
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder (can be vegan or dairy)
3/4 cup natural chunky almond or peanut butter
1/4 cup nonfat dried milk
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp espresso powder (optional)
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
2 tbsp unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder or coconut or almond meal (for rolling)

Method: Combine all ingredients (except cocoa/coconut/or almond meal) in a large prep bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Place dough in fridge for 20-30 minutes, until it hardens up a bit. Roll into bite sized balls (use a tablespoon or melon cuber). Roll in cocoa powder or coconut or almond meal to coat. Store in airtight container in fridge; then when ready to use, put them in a sandwich baggie in your pocket. Makes ~23 1inch balls- 80 kcal, 4g fat, 5g carb, 5 g protein.

Chocolate-Almond Power Cookies
4 tbsps spreadable light butter with canola (or olive) oil
2 tbsps natural almond butter
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 egg whites (or egg replacer)
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 tsp dried vanilla beans (optional)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsps espresso powder (optional)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened dark cocoa powder (Dutch processed or Hershey’s Special Dark)
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup almond meal

Optional add ins:
Mini dark chocolate chips
Dried cherries

Method: Preheat oven to 375˚F. Cream butters with brown sugar. Stir in egg whites, vanillas, cinnamon, and espresso powder. Mix well. In a separate bowl stir together baking soda, cocoa powder, oats, quinoa flour, and almond meal. Slowly stir dry into wet ingredients. (You may need to stir in a few teaspoons of almond or dairy milk). Sprinkle in a few tablespoons of optional add-ins if desired. Drop by tablespoons onto cold cookie sheet or baking stone. Bake at 375˚FS for 10-15 min.