Fast(er) food

Pounding out the miles doesn’t write you a blank cheque to spend at the local takeaway. Get perfectly balanced runner’s nutrition without sacrificing taste via these reworked fast-food classics.

by Annie Rice

 4 of 4 


Standard ‘Dial-a-Spice’ offerings can be fat-heavy and nutrient-light, but this homemade veggie option minimises the nutritional nasties and provides a great balance of carbohydrates and protein. ‘Indian spices are also a great source of key minerals for runners,’ says Percy.

Serves 2


1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1 chilli, roughly chopped

2.5-cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp cumin powder

200g red lentils

1 tin chickpeas

Mixed vegetables (eg 2x medium carrots, ¼ medium cauliflower, ½ small aubergine, handful of green beans) chopped into bite-size pieces

2 medium tomatoes 

½ tin low-fat coconut milk

2 large handfuls of spinach

180g quinoa

Small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped


1 Blend the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger into a fine paste. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and then add in the onion paste and spices.

2 Stir in the lentils, chickpeas, vegetables and tomatoes and mix until they’re all coated with paste.

3 Add just enough boiling water to cover everything, then add your coconut milk. Next, simmer, stirring regularly for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft and the veg is cooked (add more water if necessary).

4 Add the spinach leaves and stir until wilted.

5 Meanwhile, simmer the quinoa in 360ml of water for 10 minutes. Serve with a garnish of chopped coriander.     

Fine grain The supergrain quinoa makes a great alternative to your standard rice. ‘It’s not only packed with carbs, but also very high in protein and a rich source of magnesium, which is essential for both energy production and preventing cramps,’ says Bailey.

Find a pulse ‘Bulk out your curry with chickpeas,’ says Percy. ‘They’re rich in slow-release carbohydrates and can contribute to endurance levels and help you focus for longer. Chickpeas also contain protein, B vitamins, and minerals such as calcium and iron.

Hot coco  For all the flavour without the harmful fats found in ghee-laden takeaways, use coconut oil. ‘It’s stable, so it won’t break down into trans fats,’ says Bailey. ‘It also has lauric acid to support immunity.’

It was all yellow ‘Turmeric is a rich source of curcumin, which is said to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties,’ says Percy. ‘It also helps lower cholesterol.’   

Nutrition   Before       After

Calories    1,338          520

Fat             55.5g         12g

Carbs        112g            85g

Protein      28g            36g

Previous page Next article
6 top sources of plant protein


Discuss this article

Made the fish and chips last night but substituted hake for the salmon and used cayenne chilli powder instead of chilli flakes. Totally delicious and well worth the effort with the beetroot. Mrs CT loved it. Thanks!

Posted: 08/12/2013 at 12:14

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Smart Coach
Free, fully-personalized training plans, designed to suit your racing goals and your lifestyle.