My dear friend’s wise father once said, “Food is fuel – nothing more.” I love the idea of his theory, and while experiencing many a post-dessert sugar-hangover, I may have wished that I could live by that simple mantra. But it just will not happen for me. Why? Although I wholeheartedly agree with the first half of the statement, the “nothing more” phrase just will not fly with my indulgent taste buds.
As runners, it is true that food is fuel. We need food to sustain and empower the activity that we love. But to many of us, food is also enjoyment, entertainment, and a social activity. Additionally, food is something that must be practical and fit between running, working, sleeping, family time, and personal time. Can all of the worlds – fuel, gratification and practicality – be merged? That is what this blog series is about. We recognize that every runner is different. Some clock enough miles to merit constant hunger, and therefore need healthy, hearty, high calorie meals. Some people run to stay fit and lean, and prefer meals on the lighter side. Some people run so that they can eat anything they want – including (but not limited to) large bowls of ice cream with an entire pack of Oreos on the side.
As we share our favorite recipes with you, we hope to provide options for all types of runners and lifestyles. With every recipe we contribute, you’ll be informed as to why we chose it and our opinion on its practical purpose. And hopefully you’ll walk away with one more meal in your recipe book.
Fast forward to this weekend: you’re finally starting to come out of the post-turkey tryptophan fog, but you still have a fridge full of Thanksgiving leftovers. We’ve whipped up a few healthful recipes to put your feast foods to good use, and to help fuel you through training sessions.
Turkey Cranberry Wrap
Turkey and cranberry sauce are two quintessential Thanksgiving Day foods we can’t get enough of. Wrap ‘em up for a great hit of protein from the turkey and an antioxidant boost from the cranberries.
- 2 whole wheat flour tortillas
- 1 ½ cups turkey meat, chopped into ½” cubes
- ¼ cup turkey gravy
- 1 stick celery, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese (sub in a light version for a lower-cal option)
- ½ cup cranberry sauce (we used whole berry sauce)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine turkey, gravy and celery in a medium bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread cream cheese evenly on tortillas.
- Cover cream cheese with a layer of cranberry sauce.
- Spread turkey mixture on top of cranberry sauce.
- Roll up the tortilla and enjoy!
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
We love sweet potato fries just about any way you slice ‘em, but this baked version provides a healthy twist on the tasty fries. Try them as a snack or on the side of your favorite burger for some delicious carbs.
- 1 whole sweet potato
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Olive oil cooking spray
- Balsamic vinegar or spicy mustard (optional)
- 3 cups water
- Wash sweet potato and cut into strips (approximately ½ “ x 4” strips).
- Place sweet potato strips into a medium bowl and fill with water. Allow sweet potato to soak for 1 hour.
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Lightly grease a cookie sheet with olive oil cooking spray.
- Arrange sweet potato wedges on cooking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake for about 10 minutes then remove and turn fries. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Continue to bake until golden brown and fork-tender (about 10 more minutes).
- Remove from oven and enjoy! Try dipping them in balsamic vinegar or spicy mustard for an extra kick.
Yes, we know it’s still fall, according the calendar at least. But we got our first blast of cold temps over the weekend, which made us start to crave warm, hearty comfort foods after a brisk run in the cold. You can go the full-fat route if you want to indulge, or if you don’t mind tacking on some blubber, but we want to have our soup and eat it too (so to speak). To satisfy our taste for good grub and our need for performance, we whipped up one hearty and simple winter soup that has a more runner-friendly ingredient list.
Chipotle Chicken Soup
What you’ll need:
- Six-quart stock pot
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Mixing spoon
- 2 cups chicken, cut into 1” cubes (we cheated and used a pre-made rotisserie chicken, but you can grill or sauté raw chicken for your soup)
- 1.5 quarts chicken stock
- ½ can black beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ can sweet corn, drained and rinsed
- 2 small fire-roasted tomatoes, diced
- 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 medium avocado, diced
- Cilantro, for garnish
- Pour chicken stock into stock pot over medium heat.
- Remove 3-5 chipotle peppers with adobo (depending on how much heat you like) from can and crush, add to stock.
- Cube chicken and add to stock.
- Add black beans, pinto beans and corn to stock.
- Slice avocados and set aside.
- Dice tomatoes and add to stock.
- Chop cilantro for garnish.
- Simmer soup for 10 minutes over medium heat.
- Serve hot and top with a few avocado slices, a dollop of Greek yogurt and cilantro.
The month of October brought us crisp days, beautiful foliage and plenty of jack-o-lantern fun. We enjoy carving pumpkins as much as the next guy, and when it comes to eating pumpkin this time of year, our interest far exceeds pretty much every other next guy out there.
Given our mini-addiction, we wanted to share one of our favorite pumpkin-inspired dishes for runners. This dish has it all: protein to build muscle post-workout, carbs for fuel and a dash of deliciousness, just because. We’ve used fresh pumpkin, but you can sub in canned if you didn’t make it to the pumpkin patch this year.
Pumpkin Post-Race Pancakes
What you’ll need:
- 2 medium-sized mixing bowls
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Whisk or fork
- Frying pan or griddle
- ¾ cup all-purpose white flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 medium egg
- ½ cup fresh pumpkin puree (substitute canned if you prefer)
- 1 cup nonfat or low-fat milk
- 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
- Maple syrup (if desired)
- Cooking spray
- In one mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.
- In the other mixing bowl, whisk together egg, pumpkin puree, nonfat milk and butter.
- Slowly fold the wet mixture into the dry ingredients mixture.
- Spray skillet with cooking spray and place on medium heat.
- Pour pancake mixture onto skillet and cook pancake until bubbles rise in the cake and form little craters.
- Flip pancake and cook for a couple more minutes until cooked through.
- Top with a drizzle of maple syrup and enjoy!
What’s your favorite way to eat pumpkin this season?