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Tuesday, 22nd October 2019
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Real food fuelling with Meridian cocoa nut butters

by Tracey Moggeridge
Monday 19th June 2017
Tags  Meridian   |   Meridian Cocoa Nut Butters   |   nut butter   |   nutrition
 
 
Words and images by taste-testers Tracey Moggeridge and Lisa Martin

You know when a food-stuff is THAT good that you don’t wait to add it as an ‘ingredient’ to a receipt or meal, instead you dive straight into the jar with a spoon! 
 
That’s exactly what happened when a hamper from Meridian turned up with Cocoa and Peanut Butter and Cocoa and Hazelnut Butter – new product lines for Lisa (the seasoned runner, yoga guru and fitness goddess) and I (the plodder and creaky-knee'd one) to sample and test. 
 
Meridian also very kindly gave us some oats and some of their fabulous Pure Blossom Honey so that we could make something pre and post-race-fuel-shaped. Lisa and I divvied up the goodies and went about making muffins and power-snacks. I’ll leave Lisa to share her experience below but I will say at this juncture is that her offerings were not only a taste sensation but incredibly satisfying for those sweet toothed amongst us, yet still with a rewarding nod to healthy eating! 
 
I easily knocked up one of their suggested recipes – banana and Cocoa Hazelnut Butter muffins (not because I'm Mary Berry's illegitimate love-child) but because it was brilliantly simple and easy to make! All store cupboard ingredients and of course the proof was in the raw mix which tasted amazing, as well as the finished product. 
 
I had the Cocoa Hazelnut Butter to try, it’s a really warm sweet and hazelnutty mix, and you could spread it simply on toast, work a dollop through your porridge before a run. Great consistency and depth of flavour, no hidden nasties whatsoever and so you felt as though it was doing you some good. 
 
We headed out for an 11 mile off-road run having eaten one of the muffins as fuel and it kept me going right to the end, I hadn’t the need for anything else on the run and I felt I had plenty in the tank if I’d had time to carry on. I struggle with certain food groups and also with race gels – the grumps and the cramps have sent me looking for clean, non-fussy natural foods that will sustain me but also keep me feeling good! These definitely hit the mark (although I did sub out the oats for more flour and a cheeky grating of beetroot instead). 
 
These new product offerings bring something a little bit different to the table from your typical nut-butters - great and flexible natural alternatives, a good source of protein, natural sugars and healthy fats. Both contain coconut and honey too, for a little bit of extra sweetness, I will definitely be adding these to my store-cupboard and getting creative, how long they stay in there however is a totally different matter…do they make litre jars I wonder…? 

Meridian collage
Tracey's banana and cocoa hazelnut butter muffins and the 'ready, steady, cook' style raw materials

Lisa had this to say about them...
 
Being a fan of natural fuelling and Meridian nut butters, taste testing their new cocoa nut peanut butter was like an early Christmas. Cracking the jar open immediately on arrival I was in food heaven with the delicious taste of chocolate from the cocoa mixed with the nutritional goodness of totally natural peanut butter. The recipes accompanying the products sounded great and were even simple enough for an occasional inexperienced baker like myself. Very quick to prepare and minimal mess to clear up afterwards.
 
The recipe I was set to attempt was the peanut protein energy balls, combining all whole / real / natural foods, just the way I like it; oats, Meridian cocoa peanut butter and honey. Not being able to stomach gels or energy drinks I tend to fuel on real food as much as possible so this provided me with the opportunity to try out some new tasty treats to help with energy levels and performance. As one of my running buddies has an oat allergy I experimented by switching the oats for rice crispies in one batch of the protein energy balls, this turned out well and providing us with healthy chocolate crispie cakes. Both baked goods were full of energy, protein and very easy to digest. I ate one just before setting off on an early morning run without enduring stitch or any other stomach issues. My energy levels were sustained throughout the run and I felt good from beginning to end.
 
As a real food eater I wondered how runners reliant on gels or other high sugar fuelling options would find this alternative so I convinced a couple to give it a try. Marathoner Martin is usually reluctant to eat before or during a run so will turn to gels or energy drinks in events. He has recently suffered nausea and energy issues whilst running though so was in need of taste testing our Meridian treats. Martin found he felt much better and his post-run recovery was quicker, and he even surprised himself by enjoying the chocolate crispie cakes. 
 
Chris, who has recently decreased his pace and mileage due to low energy levels, was also willing to try Meridian’s natural real food alternative to his usual fuelling strategy of jelly babies. Having enjoyed a peanut protein energy ball before his run Chris found he was able to run further and sustain to his old pace. For those who are used to the sugar fuelling options it may need a gradual transition to using meridian products and recipes when running but it offers so many benefits: improved and stable energy levels, better performance, less chance of being caught short with a stomach issue mid-run, more efficient recovery, and becoming generally healthier. With all of that in mind, it’s got to be worth a go!
 
You can find lots of recipe ideas for their products here: http://www.meridianfoods.co.uk/Recipes, and the lovely people behind Meridian deliver free on orders over £35, that’s definitely convinced me to get a big order in preparation for effectively fuelling the miles. If you want to feel like you are enjoying a treat whilst energising your run in a nutritional manner than give the Meridian products and recipes a try. Warning, gel junkies and sugar addicts might find themselves very pleasantly surprised.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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