Runner’s recipes with Sarah

As a runner you've likely established your favourite pasta or rice 'staple' that you wheel out pre- or post-long run. You probably even dream about it to get you through those last few miles...

Here are a couple of my favourites - full of flavour, very easy to make and packed with nutrients to promote recovery and mop up cellular damage.  

Why rice?

I like my carbs a little too much, and have had to find really delicious non-pasta options to avoid daily penne consumption. Brown rice takes longer to cook but has a wonderfully nutty flavour and lends itself to some delicious dishes. White rice is produced by 'milling and polishing', whereby both the bran layer and germ of brown rice are removed, leaving the starchy endosperm. In the process many vitamins and minerals are removed, notably vitamin B1, B3, B6, half the manganese and phosphorus and 60% of the iron, plus fibre and essential fatty acids. Whilst white rice is then enriched with B1, B3 and iron, these are in a less available form, and some nutrients do not get added back in, such as magnesium.

The nutritional info:  

A cup of brown rice will provide 21% magnesium requirements, an essential mineral in regulating nerve and muscle tone and formation of healthy bones. Insufficient magnesium can cause cramps, high blood pressure, tension, soreness and fatigue, and there are compelling links between magnesium supplementation and improved sleep.

It will also provide 88% manganese requirements, which helps energy production from protein and carbohydrate. It is also found within the superoxide dismutase enzyme, which protects against free radical damage during energy production.

A cup provides 27% of your daily selenium requirement, a trace element that is often insufficient in Western diets. Selenium is an essential mineral in our antioxidant defences, working alongside vitamin E to reduce inflammation and cell damage. It plays a role in immune function and DNA repair and synthesis.   

It contains 14% of our daily fibre needs - great for gut health and also for filling us up. 

Furthermore, the rice bran oil in brown rice has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. 

Wild rice jambalaya (serves 4)

(prep time 15 mins, cooking time 35 mins)

This is one of my favourites and such a great dish for pre or post training as it's delicious, nutrient-rich and really filling. Plus it reheats really well if you want to make it in advance. The chillis and cayenne pepper are metabolism boosters, and add a fabulous kick to this dish, which means you don’t need to eat a huge portion to be full. I usually add additional vegetables - courgette, mushrooms, baby corn - whatever's in the fridge. The dish is colourful and looks really good, so a nice choice if you have guests coming round...plus there is a bottle of wine already opened so you may as well share the rest!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz long grain rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Red pepper, cored, deseeded and diced
  • Green or yellow pepper, core, deseeded and diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 50g/2 oz chopped celery
  • 1 rasher lean back bacon, trimmed of fat (a little chopped chorizo can be used instead)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme
  • 1 green chilli deseeded and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped canned pimientos (optional)
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ pint chicken stock
  • ¼ pint dry white wine
  • 250g raw medium prawns or mycoprotein pieces
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander or parsley, to garnish

Method:

1.     Heat oil in wok. Add celery, peppers, onion, bacon and garlic. Cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and thyme. Cook for another 2 minutes.

2.     Add the rinsed rice (uncooked), chilli, cayenne pepper, pimientos (if using), tomatoes, stock and wine. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite.

3.     Add the prawns or mycoprotein and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until the prawns have turned opaque. Spoon into large bowls and scatter with coriander or parsley.

Nutritional information: 370 kcals, 3g fat (1g saturated)

Easy veggie curry 

I love dishes that don't require excessive culinary skills or time slaving over a hob. This simple curry is the easiest way to get your 5 or even 9 a day! Be liberal with your vegetables, spray with low calorie olive oil spray or a glug of olive oil, roast and then simply add into a pan with coconut milk and some more veggies – couldn’t be easier. The curry is also great reheated so make a liberal portion and package it up for tomorrow's lunch, served with a wholemeal pitta.

Ingredients:

  • For the oven - Mixed vegetables for roasting of your choice – a red onion, courgette, butternut squash, sweet potato, red pepper, aubergine (very delicious in this curry).
  • For the pan – 5-6 Baby corn, halved, 4 long stem broccoli, handful of mange tout (adds some crunch)
  • Handful of cashew nuts
  • One can of reduced fat coconut milk/coconut milk light
  • Curry paste (to taste. I prefer thai green curry paste)
  • Coriander
  • Serving of brown rice, cooked as per packet instructions

Methods:

  1. Cube all the vegetables roughly and place in a roasting dish. Add the olive oil/spray and season and roast in a preheated oven (around 220/200 for fan oven) and roast for around 30 minutes.
  2. Once roasted pour the coconut milk and curry paste (to taste) into a wok, add the vegetables and leave to simmer while cooking the rice.
  3. Add baby corn, broccoli and mange tout about 5 minutes before the end, as well as the cashew nuts so these ingredients remain crunchy. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with the brown rice. 

Sarah is our resident personal trainer and nutritionist; find out more about Sarah here.