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Healthy recipes to maintain your energy levels

Charlie Watson –aka. The Runner Beans and a Registered Dietician and keen marathon runner – gives you two recipes that will help you maintain your energy levels.

Both of Charlie’s recipes – Oat Berry Breakfast Bars and Salmon and Sweet Potato Fishcakes – prioritise the need for simple and delicious meals (we all know you’re busy!) while making sure the food is nutritionally-balanced with protein and carbohydrates in the right amounts.

The recipes were first published in Charlie’s book: 

Cook, Eat, Run: Cook fast, boost performance with 70 ultimate recipes for runners. 

Oat Berry Breakfast Bars

Think you don’t have time for breakfast? Think again. These breakfast bars can be made at the weekend and used throughout the week for a delicious brekkie to eat while on the go, during your commute or even at your desk. They also make a great afternoon snack. Refuel after a morning workout or prepare for one later in the day with these filling bars.

Makes 12


250g rolled (old fashioned) porridge oats

1 large banana, thoroughly mashed

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 medium egg, whisked

220 ml skimmed milk

2 Tbsp sunflower oil

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp baking powder

150g raspberries

150g blueberries


Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F/gas mark 4 and line a 20-cm square baking tin with baking paper.

Put 100g of the oats into a food processor and process to a flour. In a large bowl, mix together the banana, vanilla extract, egg, milk and oil until well combined. Stir in the oat flour and the remaining oats, cinnamon and baking powder, before folding in the berries.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the mixture in set. Remove from the oven and let cool in the tin before slicing into 12 bars. 

Wrap the bars in wrap, store in the refrigerator and consume within 1 week. Alternatively, wrap each individually and freeze, then defrost overnight as needed.

Salmon and Sweet Potato Fishcakes

Fishcakes are one of the favourite meals; however, I hate it when they are covered in breadcrumbs and contain very little fish, like many store-bought versions. Using sweet potato slightly increases the carb count in many of these homemade fishcakes, but they also work with white potatoes (for the mixture) and are nice served with peas. The orange colour of the sweet potatoes comes from beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from sun damage –perfect if you have a long run outside –though don’t skip the sun cream!

Serves 4


2 x 150-g salmon fillets

2 sweet potatoes (about 500g), peeled and roughly chopped

Large handful of coriander, roughly chopped

4 spring onions 1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)

3 lemons; 1 zested; 1 juiced and zested; 1 cut into wedges to serve

1 Tbsp olive oil

150g full-fat Greek yoghurt


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Put the salmon fillets on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the sweet potatoes and cook for 15 minutes or until soft. Drain the potatoes into a sieve or colander.

Transfer the drained potatoes to a food processor and blitz briefly, before adding the coriander, most of the spring onions, all the chilli and the zest from 1 of the lemons. Pulse to mix. Flake the salmon and pulse briefly, being careful not to overmix. Season to taste and shape into 8 patties. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, if you have time.

When ready to cook, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the patties and fry for 5 minutes on each side until golden. You may need to do this in batches, keeping the cooked fishcakes warm while you cook the rest. In a small bowl, mix the yoghurt with the juice and zest from 1 of the lemons and the remaining spring onions. Add plenty of seasoning.

Serve the fishcakes alongside the yoghurt dip, with lemon wedges to garnish.