Here are some recipes for you to try out, they are full of nutrition and very simple to do. Any of the first 5 recipes are great for pre-race evening meal and there are some brilliant ideas for pre-race lunch and breakfast. On race day itself for breakfast, if you can't face porridge then brown toast with peanut butter is a great alternative and very easy to transport. I often have have toast wrapped up in tin foil for early race starts and for London marathon I had the pancakes as again these were easy to transport. Take a banana as well to keep you topped up, eat this an hour before the start. And remember to take some sandwiches for after the race, it's important to eat within an hour of finishing your run as this aids recovery. I like to have cheese and pickled onion sandwiches afterwards as this is a real treat for me so have something that you enjoy and again will transport easily.
Gazpacho Chicken Salad
I have this the evening before a run, not only is it tasty but it's easy to make and very transportable.
Slice a cucumber into long strips with a peeler; squeeze out any excess water. Toss with 500g of shredded chicken, 2 chopped peaches, 350g halved cherry tomatoes, 1 sliced yello pepper, ½ diced red onion, half a small, day-old baguette cut into cubes (or WHOLEWHEAT PASTA), and 75g feta cheese. Drizzle with a dressing made with 80ml extra virgin olive oil, a few leaves of fresh basil, 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar, and ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper. Serves 6
One Pot Chicken Casserole
Another good option for the night before a race
4 Skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 large onion, cut into chunks
4 large carrots, cut into chunks, 2 large parsnips peeled and cut into chunks
2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Juice of 1 orange
1 tbsp clear honey
1 handful of rosemary leaves
1 litre of chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Pre heat oven to 180
Put the chicken breasts into a large casserole dish and surround with the onion, carrots, parsnips and potatoes. Mix together the garlic, orange juice honey and rosemary and stir into the dish. Finally, pour the stock over the chicken and veg and season.
Cover and cook for 45-60 mins until the vegetables are all cooked through and the chicken juices run clear.
Italian-style beef stew
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
300g pack beef stir-fry strips, or use beef steak, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
400g can chopped tomatoes
sprig rosemary, chopped
handful pitted olives
In a large saucepan, cook onion and garlic in olive oil for 5 mins until softened and turning golden. Tip in the beef strips, pepper, tomatoes and rosemary, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 mins until the meat is cooked through, adding some boiling water if needed. Stir through the olives and serve with mash or polenta.
tbsp olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
200g pack cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp pesto
3 tbsp crème fraîche (half fat is fine)
fresh basil, if you have it
Heat the oil in a frying pan, preferably non-stick. Add the chicken and fry without moving it until it takes on a bit of colour. Turn the chicken and cook on the other side. Continue cooking for 12-15 mins until the chicken is cooked through. Season all over with a little salt and pepper.
Halve the tomatoes and throw them into the pan, stirring them around for a couple of minutes until they start to soften. Reduce the heat and stir in the pesto and crème fraîche until it makes a sauce. Scatter with a few basil leaves if you have them, then serve with rice and salad or mash and broccoli.
Chicken is packed with protein, B vitamins and zinc, which boosts the immune system. The nitrates in the spinach help boost oxygen delivery to your muscles.
Choose your wholemeal pasta
500g fusilli, conchiglie or penne (cooked)
Then mix in…
300g cooked and chopped chicken
400g baby spinach
55g sliced sun-dried tomatoes
40g diced feta
Toss with the dressing
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
¼ tsp black pepper
And garnish with…
Toasted pine nuts
Feta and Sweet Potato
A great recovery meal after a training session
4 Sweet Potatoes
1 bunch of spring onions chopped
100g feta cheesed crumbled
Green salad leaves and cherry tomatoes
Pre-heat the oven to 200oC and pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork, then bake for 40-45 mins until cooked through and tender. Remove from the oven and cut in half
Prehear the grill to medium and very carefully scoop out the sweet potatoe flesh, keeping the skins intact. Mix the flesh with the spring onions and feta cheese, then spoon the mixture back into the empty skins.
Grill the sweet potatoes for 5-10 mins until golden brown and serve with a tomato salad.
Scramled egg pitta
This is a good breakfast or lunch option the day before a race or just if you fancy a change to your normal routine.
2 large eggs
1tbsp skimmed milk
1 large wholemeal pitta bread
Salt and pepper
Apple chutney to serve
Whisk up the eggs until fluffly, season with salt and pepper and pour into a non stick saucepan over a low heat and cook for 2-3 mins until stiffened. Toast the pitta then slice open, spoon in the scrambled egg mixture into the pocket of the pitta and serve hot with the chutney.
Coconut and Banana Pancakes
Perfect for post run brunch
2 bananas, 45g ground almonds, 15g desiccated coconut, 1 medium egg, 1-2 tbsp milk, olive oil for frying, 1 tbsp chopped pecan nuts, 1 tbsp honey.
Mash one of the bananas in a bowl and stir in the ground almonds and coconut. Beat in the egg, adding enough mild to the mix to make a thick batter. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and place four spoonfuls of the batter in the pan, keeping them separate. Cook for 3-4 mins until golden underneath, and then flip over and cook for a further 3-4 mins on the other side. Slice the other banana and serve on top of the pancakes, sprinkled with the chopped pecans and a drizzle of honey.
I love this as it's full of protein and easy to make. You can have this with pitta chips (see below)
2 Peppered smoked mackerel skinned and boned fillets
2 tbsp cream cheese
2 tbsp fat free Greek yogurt
Juice of a lemon
1 Put everything in a bowl and mash up, you can use a food processor or blend with a fork.
2 Put in a bowl and over with cling film, this is good with pitta bread, wholemeal crisp rolls or oatcakes. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 days
Why: Pitta provides fibre and slow releasing carbohydrates to power you through any afternoon slumps. These baked versions are far healthier than any shop-brought crisps.
Ingredients (serves 2)
2 x wholemeal pitta bread
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Slice the pittas in half, width ways, so they are into really thin slices, then cut into smaller triangular shapes.
Grease a baking tray with the oil and then lay out the pitta. Season and put into the oven for about 10 minutes until crisp.
Mushroom, spinach and Halloumi Salad
Another lovely lunch alternative
1tbsp olive oil
300g mushrooms, thickly sliced,
1 garlic glove, crushed
300g halloumi, drained and sliced
150g cherry tomatoes
150g baby spinach leaves
1 handful of basil leaves
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp clear honey
2 tsp dried oregano
Heat the oil in a non stick frying pan. Add the mushrooms and garlic and fry for a few minutes until the mushrooms soften. Remove from the pan and leae to one side.
Add the halloumi slices to the pan and cook for about 4 mins, turning once, until golden on both sides. Remove from the pan and leave on one side.
Put the tomatoes, spinach and basil in a large salad bowl. Add the mushrooms and halloumi and toss gently to combine.
Mix together the balsamic vinegar, honey and oregano in a small jug, then pour over salad and serve straight away.