Most athletes know that while a training program is necessary to prepare for any endurance race, having a base of fitness is also essential. As you start ramping up your workouts, your body will reach into itself, tapping in to stores of vitamins and minerals for the ability to push through and recover. You’ll do well to stock your body with nutrients in advance—in fact, you should focus all of your attention on eating nutrient-dense foods as an ongoing lifestyle.
The nutrient-dense foods that I have the athletes I work with reach for day after day are fish, lean meats, lean dairy, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. I refer to these as our core foods, since they’re the foundation of all we eat. These foods provide us with a complete macronutrient (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) profile, and also set the basis for meeting our micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) needs. Furthermore, a diet based on these foods is sustainable. It isn’t so limited that it’s hard to live life; you’ll likely be able to find something on any restaurant menu that fits the bill.
A Recipe for Putting Nutrition Into Practice
For a core foods rich quinoa bowl, try this nutrient-packed version. It’s a perfectly tailored recipe, developed specifically to help athletes improve performance—and it’s delicious too!
Sunny Side-Up Egg and Quinoa Bowl with Roasted Vegetables
This satisfying and colorful dinner was inspired by the grain bowls that have been popular lately. Use quinoa as the base, top it with a sunny-side-up egg for protein, and then load it up with nutrient-rich vegetables—the recipe calls for green bell peppers, but you can use any kind of vegetable you like. A small hit of Parmesan cheese gives it some nutty richness, and lemon vinaigrette lends brightness for a vibrant and healthy meal.
1 pound green bell peppers
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 ½ teaspoons chopped shallot
½ garlic clove
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil cooking spray
4 large eggs
1 cup chopped kale or baby greens
1 medium ripe avocado, pitted and diced
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 425°F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the peppers with the 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Roast until browned and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Prepare the quinoa according to the package directions.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, shallot, garlic, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and pepper. While still whisking, slowly drizzle in the remaining ¼ cup oil.
Coat a medium nonstick frying pan set over medium heat with cooking spray. Crack the eggs into the pan and cook until the whites are set and the yolk still runny, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt.
To assemble, divide the quinoa among four bowls. Divide the roasted vegetables, kale, and avocado among the bowls, and then top each with a fried egg. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the bowls and drizzle with the dressing.
Fat: 24.6 g
Sodium: 623.8 mg
Carbohydrate: 55.1 g
Fiber: 10.7 g
Sugars: 6.2 g
Protein: 14.5 g
Excerpt from The Endurance Training Diet & Cookbook by Jesse Kropelnicki. ©Jesse Kropelnicki 2017. Harmony Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group.