I have been an avid runner since I was 16. It is definitely one of my passions and has helped me in so many ways physically and mentally.
For years, friends have asked me to come up with recipes for runners. Instead, here are my top 10 picks for best foods for runners.
1. Wild Salmon-Wild salmon is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids which boost heart health and nerve system functioning. Some doctors even say omega-3’s can help with post-run achy joints.
2. Almonds-High in antioxidants, protein and vitamin E, almonds are a wise choice for a runner’s snack helping to prevent achy muscles.
3. Quinoa-This complex carbohydrate (pronounced Keen-wah) is a great energy source filled with fiber, B vitamin, zinc and magnesium which are so helpful to runners. One-fourth cup of dry of quinoa has 172 calories, 6 grams of protein, 31 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of fiber. Another great reason to enjoy quinoas is that it is gluten-free.
4. Kale-This member of the cabbage family has high levels of vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber. It is one of the most antioxidant-filled vegetables.
5. Bananas-This great pre-workout or post-workout food is a great source of carbohydrates and potassium. That is why you will always find bananas offered at the end of races.
6. Eggs-Eating one egg offers a great source of vitamin K and protein which aid in promoting healthy bones and muscles.
7. Blueberries-Filled with vitamin C and potassium, these can help the body repair itself after long, hard runs.
8. Edamame-This great snack is filled with protein, fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K and vitamin C. Edamame are also a great snack option loaded with health benefits.
9. Yogurt-Low-fat yogurt has a good source of carbohydrates and protein, and Greek yogurt has less carbs and even more protein. Both are great sources of calcium which is important for runners to help prevent stress fractures and osteoporosis.
10. Oranges-High in vitamin C, oranges are great for healing and helping absorb iron in the body. This can help prevent fatigue and increase energy levels.
I’m shooting 4 television shows this week for NBC 13 “Daytime Alabama”, and here’s one of the dishes I will be making. For those of you not familiar with quinoa, I hope that I can help out. Quinoa is an amino acid protein rich seed that has a fluffy slightly crunchy texture and a nutty flavor when cooked. You cook it just as you would cook rice although you need to rinse the seeds before cooking them. Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard with so many health benefits. Quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. It is said to be helpful to those who get migraine headaches and helps reduce diabetes and atherosclerosis. I love this Quinoa Salad with Arugula and Feta as it’s so fresh, healthy and flavorful. Feel free to make it a main dish by adding cooked chicken or shrimp. This is the perfect dish to start the new year on the right (and healthy) foot.
I am always searching for a great-tasting and nutrient-rich protein bar that is not too high in fat and calories. This is just in case I am in too much of a hurry to eat and need something on the run. One of my favorites is the “Grab The Gold Snack Bars”. Made with peanut butter, oats, chocolate, whole grains and crunchy soy nuggets, they taste fresh and are high in fiber, protein and potassium. With 195 calories, 11 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat, I think they’re hard to beat. And if you’re counting your Weight Watcher’s points, they only have 4 points. There’s only one catch: they can be tricky to find, but you can check their website to see where they carry them in your area or purchase them online at http://www.grabthegold.net. My friend, and dietician consultant Sandra Koulourides, of Fuel Plus Fitness recommends these to all of her clients. Trust me, she knows what she’s talking about. Look for our joint cookbook coming in the near future.
When I told a friend of mine about this recipe, she said, “Chicken Cobbler? Don’t you mean, chicken casserole?” I said, “No, this recipe is much cooler than that!” First, the topping is made with crisp sourdough croutons that are laced with Parmesan cheese and add the perfect toasty crunch. Second it’s filled with broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes and a short-cut sauce, low-fat alfredo. Using chopped rotisserie chicken works great in this recipe (you can also use leftover turkey). Last, purchase bagged broccoli flowerets from the grocery produce section to make your life even easier, and there’s no need to pre-cook them. Try it and let me know what you think and whether it’s deserving of it’s special name.
Chicken and Broccoli Cobbler
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
3 cups cubed sourdough bread
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups broccoli flowerets
3 cups chopped, cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 (10-ounce) container light refrigerated Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup light sour cream
1. Drizzle butter over bread cubes in a large bowl; sprinkle with cheese, tossing gently.
2. Combine broccoli and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon filling into lightly greased 2-quart rectangle or oval baking dishes or individual baking dishes; top with bread cubes.
3. Bake uncovered, at 400F for 25 to 30 minute (20 to 25 for individual cobblers) or until bubbly and top is toasted. (Cover, if it starts to brown too fast.)