Runners Plate

Runner’s Plate: Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars

Pumpkin oatmeal bars

Photo source: cookingwithtrish.com

As you know if you’ve followed this column for a while, I’m a big oatmeal lover. I look forward to chilly fall mornings when I can transition my breakfast to a steaming hot bowl of oats, nut butter, and fruit. There is really nothing more comforting. For me, it’s been mostly a weekend breakfast because I’m lucky to find 5 minutes to eat breakfast before running to catch the train to work. While instant oatmeal is an OK option in a pinch, I much prefer the slightly longer-cooking rolled oats. Pack in some extra fiber, vitamin A, and other phytonutrients with some canned pumpkin, and some healthy fats and protein with nuts, and you have a nutrient-packed, filling, on-the-go breakfast or pre-workout snack. It’s become a staple in my ktichen. Whip up a batch on Sunday night, and you’re set for the week. It’s a kid-pleaser too! This recipe is customizable too – swap unsweetened applesauce for the pumpkin you prefer, and be creative with the add-ins. Any dried fruit and nuts will work here.

Baked pumpkin oatmeal bars:

Ingredients:

·         2 cups rolled oats (use gluten free oats to make this recipe GF)
·         1 tsp baking powder
·         1/4 tsp kosher salt
·         1 egg, beat (can swap for 1 tbsp canola oil if you want to make these vegan)
·         1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
·         1.5 tsp cinnamon
·         1/4 tsp nutmeg
·         ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional)
·         1.5 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (regular cows or soy milk would work well too)
·         1 tsp vanilla
·         1/4 cup raisins
·         1/4 cup dried cranberries
·         1/3 cup chopped pecans (walnuts would also be good)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. Mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl mix together pumpkin, milk, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry, and then stir in dried fruit & nuts. Spread into a 9×9 inch baking sheet and bake in oven for ~30 minutes, until set and starting to slightly brown on edges. Let cool for 10 minutes, and then cut into squares. For more staying power, spread a little almond, peanut, or sunflower butter on top.

What are your favorite fall foods? What do you fuel with before a race or big workout? Are there super foods that you would like to share?

(Sarah is a registered dietitian and holds a Masters of Science in Nutrition Communication. She is a certified spin instructor, a triathlete, and an avid runner who regularly participates in road races—her favorite distance being the half marathon. Follow her on Twitter @FoodNFitnessRD and at her personal blog Food and Fitness Friend)

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