Athletes are constantly in flux between tearing their bodies down and building them back up again. The rebuilding process—when it goes well—is what makes us bigger, faster or stronger. Proper nutrition is a key factor in getting the best possible response and making the improvements in your running that you’re hoping to achieve.
While all of that is undeniably true, it’s not particularly inspiring from a culinary point of view. Is it possible that enjoying the food you eat is as important to recovery as calorie counts and nutrient profiles? Nutrition author Matt Fitzgerald thinks so. “The most striking thing I have noticed is that, almost without exception, elite endurance athletes enjoy and are completely comfortable with their healthy diets,” Fitzgerald writes. “Maintaining high dietary standards is neither stressful nor onerous for them but satisfying and even automatic.”
How then can you become a high-performing runner who refuels with foods you love? We hope the five recipes below will help. From a tasty and hearty guacamole to crowd-pleasing roast chicken and a tasty banana-walnut desert, these easily prepared dishes will power you toward an effective recovery while pleasing your palette.
Kept chunky and rustic with red or black beans and chopped herbs, guacamole can be a bright salad packed with good fats and protein. High-quality beans are an economical way to feed more people. This is a crowd-pleaser that you can make last-minute and serve at room temperature.
Lean meats often make for a dry, tasteless burger, but fattier meat doesn’t give you the high quality you want for your diet. The solution: Add moisture with grated vegetables. The result is a flavorful burger without the extra fat and calories.
Dr. Allen Lim is a chef and nutritionist who has cooked for elite endurance athletes and created highly regarded nutrition products at Skratch Labs, a nutrition business he founded. Here’s a recipe he developed with professional chef Biju Thomas for roasting a whole chicken with vegetables—a classic dinner that requires only 15 minutes of prep time.
There’s no excuse for skipping breakfast. A base of plain yogurt provides protein and calcium. Add whole-grain cereal, an important source of complex carbohydrates and fiber. Top it off with fruit for sweetness and flavor, and nuts or seeds for minerals, healthy fat and a good crunch.
Another creation from Dr. Lim and chef Thomas, these tasty little pies are portable enough to bring along on a ride or run. If you’re not planning on bringing them along for a workout you can stuff the crust a little fuller and proudly serve them for a winning desert at home.
You can find additional recipes by visiting the Feed Zone!