Receive 10% Off

Real Food For The Win

by Lauren Larson MS, RDN July 24, 2014

Real Food For The Win

If you consider yourself an athlete and you haven’t heard of Allen Lim, PhD or Skratch Labs, it is time for you to get acquainted. Not only did Dr. Lim co-author two real-food cookbooks for athletes, he is an intelligent sports physiologist and cycling coach.

Recently, Dr. Lim posted a video on why real food is better than gels, blocks, and sports bars. In the video he discusses an experiment he did comparing popular pre-packaged exercise foods to real foods. His main point is that pre-packaged foods are very dry, containing 3-10% water, whereas real foods contain 60-80% water.

Those dry pre-packaged foods essentially promote dehydration, because they require water to exit the bloodstream and enter the gut to dilute the concentration of nutrients before they can be absorbed and used. This process can potentially lead to bloating and cramping.

On the other hand, when real foods are eaten instead, their high water content reduces or eliminates this dehydration effect, allowing the calories, glucose, and other nutrients to enter the bloodstream and be put to use more readily.

Give it a try for yourself. Plan to make these Portable Oat Muffins on a rest day or weekend and freeze them for a real food exercise snack that is perfect for before, during, or after a workout. Just throw as many as you wish in a plastic bag and stuff in your back pocket or hydration pack.

Always remember to experiment with new foods during training, not just before or during a race. You may find that real food causes you less bloating and cramping, making it worth the extra time it takes to prepare them.

Portable Oat Muffins

Makes 12 muffins | Recipe by Lauren Larson

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

½ cup dried fruit (raisins, craisins, chopped dates, chopped apricots, cherries, or blueberries)

¼ cup oat flour*

¼ cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon chopped nuts or seeds (walnuts, pecans, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds)

1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 large egg, beaten

1 ½ cups almond milk

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

¼ cup honey

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

*Oat flour can be made by grinding ~1/3 cup rolled oats in a high speed blender or food processor.


1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a 12-muffin tin with liners or lightly grease and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine oats, dried fruit, oat flour, brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a separate medium bowl, combine egg, almond milk, applesauce, honey, coconut oil or butter, and vanilla extract.

4. Add milk mixture to oat mixture and stir to combine. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to thicken slightly.

5. Using a spoon, fill 12 lined or oiled muffin cups about 2/3-3/4 of the way with batter.

6. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown and firm in the center. Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

7. Freeze for an on the go breakfast, snack, or workout snack anytime, or refrigerate for up to one week. Eat cold, at room temperature, or reheat for 1-2 minutes in the microwave.

Each muffin contains about 160 calories, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fat, and 4 grams of protein.

Lauren Larson is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a comprehensive private nutrition practice focused on sports nutrition-related diet and lifestyle modifications for active and athletic people. She is a passionate endurance athlete, avid trail runner, cyclist, and triathlete. 

Lauren Larson MS, RDN
Lauren Larson MS, RDN

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Natural Athlete Solutions

How Long Can You Maintain Fitness Levels?
How Long Can You Maintain Fitness Levels?

by Dr. Jason Barker

Often times I am asked, “just how long can I rest while I recover from my injury/illness, before I start to lose my fitness level”?  All of us are hesitant to give up the gains we have made from all of that training. Although this is not a straight forward question, there is plenty of enlightening research on this subject. 

Read More
Thyroid Support Complex - Daily Thyroid Nutrition
Thyroid Support Complex - Daily Thyroid Nutrition

by Dr. Jason Barker

Pure Encapsulations Thyroid Support Complex is a comprehensive formula containing vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts to help support healthy thyroid cell metabolism and thyroid hormone function. This formula is useful for anyone dealing with thyroid issues; it provides all the nutrients to help keep the thyroid gland functioning normally.

Read More
The Tastiest, Healthiest Nutritional Green Drink We Have!
The Tastiest, Healthiest Nutritional Green Drink We Have!

by Dr. Jason Barker

Greens First Pro is an innovative phytonutrient and antioxidant blended green drink that contains 49 organic plant extracts and concentrates of fruits, vegetables, herbs, digestive enzymes, probiotics, spices and both soluble and insoluble fiber.   It's simply the best healthy green smoothie blend out there!

Read More