For a hungry runner, salad is easy to dismiss as little more than filler – something to hold you over until the main course arrives. But with the right ingredients and a little imagination, you can create all-star salads brimming with fresh flavours and hearty enough to serve as a meal. These power salads can provide all the carbs, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you need to run well. ‘Salads are great meal options for staying lean,’ says sports nutritionist Ilana Katz. ‘They keep you feeling full, which means you’re less likely to overeat later on.’
Quick hummus & walnut salad
Easy to assemble and rich in the nutrients that are vital for runners, this salad is perfect for lunches. Chickpeas, the main ingredient in hummus, provide protein, carbs and plenty of insoluble fibre. ‘The fibre can improve the health of your gut tract,’ says Katz. Walnuts (and other nuts) provide crunch and offer protection against heart disease. Harvard researchers found that people who regularly eat nuts are 29 per cent less likely to develop the disease. Nut eaters tend to be slimmer, too. The interaction of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals is probably behind nuts’ potent health benefits.
Toss It In a bowl, toss two 410g tins of drained and rinsed chickpeas, 2 shredded carrots, 1 diced red pepper, 300g halved cherry tomatoes, handful chopped parsley, 75g diced red onion, 180g diced feta, 65g chopped walnuts and 65g golden raisins. Divide 2 bags of mixed green salad among 4 plates. Top with chickpea mixture and tahini dressing.
Latin meets Asian in this stunning salad. Ceviche is a method of ‘cooking’ sushi-grade seafood in acidic juices, with deliciously tender results. (If you prefer, you can grill or fry the fish instead.) By choosing salmon, you’ll load up on omega-3 fats. A 2011 Saint Louis University, US, study suggests that these anti-inflammatory fats can reduce muscle soreness after strenuous exercise. Nutty black rice is loaded with the same anthocyanin antioxidants found in dark fruits such as blueberries. ‘These antioxidants neutralise free radicals that can damage cells,’ says sports dietitian Cara A Marrs.
Make it Combine 80ml each lime juice, lemon juice and orange juice. Add 450g very fresh salmon (cut into 2cm cubes) and marinate in the fridge, stirring twice, for 6 hours (or cook salmon for 5 minutes per side, or until done). In separate pots, prepare 180g black (or brown) rice and 145g frozen shelled edamame beans (£2.30 for 500g, ocado.com) according to package directions. Remove salmon from the marinade. Toss with edamame beans, 300g halved cherry tomatoes, 1 diced avocado, ½ diced mango, ½ chopped cucumber, 2 sliced spring onions, handful of chopped coriander and ¼ tsp salt. Serve on beds of rice. Top with toasted sesame seeds and lime-sesame dressing.