Running burns calories. Potentially very many, depending on your weight and how far and fast you go. Post-run, and quite quickly thereafter, your body needs to refuel and repair to replace glycogen (stored carbs) used up during exercise. I love post-run coffee with a sweet treat, it’s tasty and social, and I reckon the first thing Paula Radcliffe did when she broke the marathon world record – after the press conference, shower and Facebook status update – was to have some cake.
Without sounding like a killjoy, the calories can really rack up if you are partial to large portions, chocolatey chunks, creamy filling and buttery icing. So whilst a post-run reward is fantastic motivation and all the more enjoyable since you earned it pounding the pavements, you probably don’t want to reverse all the good you’ve just done. Here are some simple suggestions if you’re looking for a calorie-saving treat that still tastes great with your cuppa whilst you bask in post-run glory.
Small is still beautiful. Mini versions of cake favourites obviously contain less of the naughty stuff. Mr Kipling, king of the exceedingly good mini cake, has expanded his product line since the classic French Fancy launched in the 1960s (106 cals each) to Strawberry Milkshake Bites (140) and Mississippi Mud Pies – featuring chocolate mousse (203). Other such treats are available, ‘miniature’ is en vogue… just remember not to pile too many on your plate.
Go low calorie / reduced fat
An obvious one, but worth trying and not as bland as it sounds. Pastries have a bad reputation but low fat pastries can still taste just as great as their full fat counterparts, oui. Especially when served warmed straight from the oven. You can expect to find 400 calories in a regular croissant compared with just 168 in a Waitrose Love Life or 180 in an M&S reduced fat alternative. Interestingly, a regular pain au raisin from Costa is not too bad at around 280 calories, even lower than one of their not-so-skinny muffins.
Go to bread
Fruit loaf / tea cake is not strictly cake, but dough containing dried fruit and raisins. Quintessentially English and around 100 calories per slice, this is potential cake substitute – great toasted and buttered. Try Warburtons or supermarkets’ own. It’s high in fibre, can count towards your 5-a-day and can be frozen too (so you resist the urge to nibble/pick at the loaf whilst waiting for the toaster).
Such as Rice Crispy or cornflake cakes. Even the chocolate coated variety are not bad – allocate around 120 calories per cake. They’re quick and simple to make, or just buy a tub.
Share the love, and the calories. An alluring giant slice of chocolatey or creamy cake can be harbouring 600+ calories, so grab a fork each – you can do the maths. Make sure you cut it fairly (lengthwise) so no-one ends up with the thin end of wedge.
Of course you could always have a post-run banana to get your carbs such as this chocolate covered frozen ‘nana pop…with sprinkles.
And if you’ve just run a marathon (or half) then you’ve earned a very big piece of cake, all to yourself.