Comfort Fuel

Waistline-friendly versions of classic dishes that nourish your soul and your soles.

Macaroni cheese

Runners have long relied on pasta’s carbs to replenish glycogen stores – but, made from refined white wheat flour, white pasta has had its fibre and much of the nutrient-packed original grain removed. So use wholewheat pasta, which is loaded with fibre, B vitamins for energy metabolism, and disease-fighting phytochemicals.

Bangers & Mash

Swap the traditional pork bangers for lean and highly flavoursome venison sausages, says nutritionist Rachel Love ( ‘Game meats contain omega-3 fatty acids, which diminish the production of prostaglandins – which are hormone-like substances associated with inflammation in the body.’ Venison also delivers a hit of vitamin B12 to keep your metabolism revved up. So bang ’em under the grill.

Chilli Con Carne

Boost the performance-enhancing qualities of this favourite by switching beef for turkey mince, says Love. Turkey contains more muscle-building protein than beef – and less unhealthy saturated fat – along with highly absorbable iron, which helps deliver oxygen to your muscles for endurance. 

‘It’s also a good source of tryptophan – the precursor to melatonin, the hormone responsible for a healthy sleep-wake cycle, promoting recovery,’ says Love. Brown in a pan with onions and garlic – a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant combo, says Love. Drain off excess fat.


Satisfy that cheese craving by adding strips of fresh mozzarella, which is lower in fat than hard cheeses. Finally throw on some sliced chicken breast to deliver more muscle-building protein. Research has shown that runners require 50-75 per cent more protein than non-runners to help promote recovery and rebuild muscles, so don’t hold back. ‘Add peperonata for a tasty low-fat flavour boost,’ says Pearson. Bake for 10 minutes at 200C.

Fish & Chips

For maximum nutritional benefits, swap cod for pan-seared salmon, says Pearson. ‘It’s the king of fish, packed with high-quality protein and one of the best sources of omega-3 fats to help balance the body’s inflammation response to exercise and help muscle recovery.’ Crisp up your fillets in a pan with olive oil and oregano, which has up to 20 times more antioxidants than other herbs.

Fruit Crumble

It’s easy to cut sugar by half without affecting the taste of this staple,’ says Porter. Start with blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, which are packed with muscle-repairing anthocyanins. Add dried apricots, peaches and figs to boost iron, calcium and fibre. ‘Add a couple of tablespoons of pure fruit juice to sweeten up the mix,’ says Porter. Pour into an ovenproof dish.

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