Secrets of the Marathon Chefs

Discover the tastiest ways to fuel your body from four kitchen wizards who regularly tackle the big 26.2

by Peter Jaret

pam anderson running
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The Secret: Family Food

Mother of two Pam Anderson (PB 4:31) on how running and fuelling is a family affair

Anderson started exercising a few years ago on a family holiday in Rome. "We wanted to eat the greatest food in the world without worrying about calories," says Anderson, author of Cook Without a Book (£21.99, Rodale Press). She noticed her waistbands were a little looser when she got home. "I was pushing 14st, so I had plenty to lose," she says.

Encouraged by the visible results, she started running and within a year, she'd lost three and a half stone and completed her first marathon.Anderson's weight loss and passion for running were fully supported by her family. "When you decide to make a big change like losing weight or taking up running, you have to do it for yourself," says Anderson. "But it helps to have people around cheering you on." She'll end this year running her 10th 26.2-miler with her daughter, who'll be running her first. Here's how the Andersons make healthy eating a family priority.

Make cooking a family affair

"Getting your kids involved in shopping for meals and deciding upon what to eat teaches them about healthy eating habits," says Anderson.

Gather around the table

Dinner should be a social occasion, but getting everyone to the table at the same time can be a challenge. The key is flexibility, says Anderson. "We have dinner early some nights and late others to accommodate everyone's schedules."

Serve nutritious foods first

When kids are hungry, they'll pretty much eat  anything. "So put the healthiest foods in front of them first," says Anderson.

Focus on healthy-eating habits

Concentrating on weight can lead to self-esteem issues, says nutritionist Linda Bacon. "So focus on behaviour - eating well and being active will bring healthy weight."

It's a message Anderson has taken to heart: "My body perfectly represents who I am - someone who loves to eat and drink, but who also takes care of herself. I run because I love to run and because I love to eat. I've found a way to have it all."

Try Anderson's one-pot penne with Turkey meatballs or her super-fast twice-baked potatoes with creamy mushroom sauce.

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