Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hungry Runner: Refrigerator Oatmeal

When I come home from a long run, all I want to do is stretch, refuel, and take a long, hot shower.  Most often, however, my children have other ideas.  Their (mostly) happy faces implore me to help with Legos, refill their drinks, and read countless books.  Stretching, food, and showers take a back seat. After all, it's hard to demand more time to myself after I've been gone for hours running.  To ensure that I can quickly ingest a few calories, I love to make refrigerator oatmeal the night before a long run. It sits ready to go in the fridge, so I just have to grab a spoon to refuel while I play Lego foreman.

How my dining room table looks most weekend mornings:
endless Legos just waiting to be created and recreated.

Like many of my recipes, I take a loose approach to preparing my refrigerator oatmeal. (As an aside, I'm a bit astonished how many of my recipes are unstructured. I used to hate when my mom would tell me to add a dash of garlic to our homemade pizza or a pinch of oregano to pasta sauce. I guess it's true: eventually we all become our mother.)  I took my inspiration from this recipe, and my basic process now looks something like this:

1/2 cup oatmeal (not quick oats)
1/4 tsp cinnamon and/or allspice
1 tsp. chia seeds
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup milk
1/2 of a banana, cut into thin circles
1/3 cup fresh or frozen berries

Put the oatmeal, spices, and chia seeds in a Ball jar or another lidded 16 oz. container.  Stir to combine.  Add Greek yogurt and milk.  Stir again to evenly coat the oatmeal mixture.  Add chopped banana and berries.  Stir one last time to combine all ingredients.  Put lid on container and store in refrigerator for 8+ hours.  Enjoy it cold, straight out of the fridge.

The fruit and spice possibilities are endless.  I love the cinnamon and allspice combination with banana and berries; it tastes like a little slice of heaven!  I've also experimented extensively with the liquid components.  I've used both milk and Greek yogurt on their own and haven't been thrilled with the results.  The milk solo is a bit runnier than I prefer, but the Greek yogurt is too chunky.  At the risk of sounding like Goldilocks, the combination of the two is just right ;)

If you've never tried refrigerator oatmeal, I highly recommend that you put some together before your next long run!  Report back and let me know what you think.  Do you have other go-to post-run foods?  Let me know in the comments.  I'm always looking for easy ways to refuel.