It’s pretty widely understood that healthy eating makes you feel good. As a runner, this is especially important, since food is the fuel that gets you through your long run, or helps speed up your recovery post-run. As an athlete, putting healthy food in your “tank” is critical- you wouldn’t put crude oil in your car, so probably don’t do it to your body either. I am no expert (note: not a nutritionist) but I have learned some things along the way through my years of running (ex: tomato soup before an 8 miler = not ideal). Most of what I have learned has come from the fact that a) I love to eat, b) I love to run, c) I love to make food.
In thinking about how to fuel your tank, it’s important to remember that all of the macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) are necessary for strong bodies, and quality counts. Eating high quality fats (like those in nuts or avocado) is much better for your body than eating low quality fats (like those in French fries). Having easily digestable carbs 30 minutes to an hour before a run (like a banana) is good if you need a little boost before your run. Eating a mix of carbohydrates and protein within an hour after a run is important to restock your glycogen stores and help rebuild muscle (this is why some people swear by chocolate milk post-run...also its delicious).
The most important thing to remember is that each person’s body is different, so it’s good to figure out what works for you and your body. If you are looking for ideas, below are some tasty recipes from your fellow runners. Run, eat, and feel good!
Run Alive Bowl (inspired by Life Alive in Cambridge) makes 2 bowls
Base: cup Quinoa-Rice (half quinoa, half brown rice, or any other whole grain)
3 cups shredded Kale
1 large Sweet potato, diced
2 Eggs (can also use tempeh or tofu…really any protein)
Hot sauce (Sriracha or Cholula are my favorites)
THE GOOD STUFF Sauce:
1 clove garlic
1 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tsp lemon juice
1-2 tbsp water
Cook quinoa-rice (I do this in a rice cooker with a little sea salt, but you can do it on the stove top, just follow package instructions).
While rice is cooking, lightly oil a baking sheet, and roast sweet potato chunks for 25 minutes on 375F or until fork tender. Add kale and a little salt and cook 10 minutes more.
While potatoes and rice are cooking, make sauce. In a food processor, add ginger and garlic and finely chop. Add tahini, tamari, lemon juice, and a few dashes of black pepper. Puree. Add 1 tbsp. of water to thin out. Puree. If still too thick, add one more tbsp. of water. Sauce should be thick, but like a sauce, not a paste.
Heat a non-stick skillet and cook two eggs according to liking (I like over-easy).
Assemble bowl. Place one cup of cooked quinoa-rice in the bottom of a medium sized bowl. Top with kale and sweet potatoes. Top that with the over-easy egg. On top of all that, drizzle a healthy dose of the Good Stuff sauce. Then sprinkle with nutritional yeast and some hot sauce. Devour.
This is a free-form recipe that you can really adapt to your personal favorites or whatever you have in the fridge. Other great toppers are beets, beet greens, Brussels sprouts, chickpeas, sprouted legumes, mushrooms, eggplant, snap peas…the possibilities are really endless!
FALAFEL WAFFLES (By our Track Co-Leader Alina!)
I won’t claim these are at all like the real thing - without deep frying, falafel just aren’t falafel-y. Having been instilled with a healthy fear of grease fires, and lacking a kitchen with proper ventilation, I had given up on making them myself. Then, I saw a recipe online for falafel waffles. If my house had a mascot (other than the bat that briefly lived in our attic), it would be our waffle iron. My roommates are masters of the art, and these were a huge success, novelty aside - if you think of them more as extra-crispy spiced chickpea burgers, excellently shaped to drizzle with tahini and pile salad on top of, you will not be disappointed.
Patience and a generous greasing of the waffle iron between waffles was key to our success. We based off of a recipe on the blog My New Roots, but adapted heavily:
2 cups dried chickpeas (I started from dry but you could probably use canned, since you end up pureeing everything. just make sure to drain and dry them well)
2 cloves garlic (I just used one, this is to taste)
onion - I didn’t use any and missed the flavor. I’d dice ¼ of a cup or so, or use some onion powder
A couple (generous) handfuls coarsely chopped parsley - you will be pureeing, so you can use the stems, too
A couple (generous) handfuls coarsely chopped cilantro - same as the parsely. I used extra cilantro b/c I like it
A generous amount of ground cumin - original calls for 1.5 T, I eyeballed it, just don’t skimp
A generous amount ground coriander - original calls for 2t, same as cumin
turmeric, za’atar, Aleppo pepper - additions we enjoyed
salt to taste
fresh black pepper
zest of 1 lemon
juice from the lemon you zested
flour (up to ~½ cup)
water (up to ~¼ cup)
THE NIGHT BEFORE: Put your chickpeas in a bowl of water to soak. Use a larger bowl and more water than you’d guess, because they soak up a ton. If when you go to use, your chickpeas are dry and/or smell funky, just bring them to a boil with some vinegar, then drain and continue.
DAY OF: Using a magic bullet, blender, or food processor (but NOT an immersion blender, which is what we did, and which was a royal pain) puree everything through the lemon juice with a healthy glug or two of olive oil. You can make it as smooth as you want; ours were chunky - we got tired of using the immersion blender - and they were delicious.
Plug in your waffle iron and let it heat up - let it sit for a while even after it beeps (or whatever it does to let you know it’s ready). You want it hot.
Transfer to a bowl and mix in a small amount of flour (start with 1/3ish of a cup) - you don’t want the mixture to be wet or batter-like, but not super-stiff either. Think veggie burger mixture texture, or cookie dough. If it’s too wet, add more flour, and if it’s too dry, add water. You have the opportunity to fine-tune between waffling, so don’t worry too much.
Once your waffle iron is hot, give it a good greasing (paper towel with olive oil, spray, whatever), and spoon some of the falafel mixture on the middle. Use less than you think you need - it spreads. Then, let the waffle iron do it’s thing.
All of these smoothies are single serving, so if you want to make more, just double the batch. All you have to do is throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth(ie). For harder ingredients (like the carrot or ginger) just put those in first and blend a bit to make sure they get chopped up. If you prefer soy milk or soy protein, you can swap those out too for my suggestions.
Hemp Banana Berry
½ c frozen berries
2 tbsp. hemp protein powder
½ tbsp. raw organic cocoa
½ tbsp. ground flax
1 c almond milk
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2/3 c almond milk
½ tbsp. flax
1 tsp. Fresh ginger
Dash of Cinnamon
1 tsp. coconut oil
½ scoop vanilla whey
Raisins and walnuts for mix-ins
Marc’s Favorite Mango Tango
2/3 c almond milk
½ mango, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
¼ tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. Fresh ginger
1 tsp. Lemon juice
¼ cup cold leftover coffee
½ c almond milk
1 tbsp. oats
1 scoop protein
½ tbsp. raw cocoa powder
RUN. EAT. REPEAT.