How runners can tap into the secrets of festive foods

How runners can tap into the secrets of festive foods

Discover the three festive foods which will keep female runners healthy, strong and slim at Christmas.  As a runner, you choose foods that support your training and running performance, but that keep you looking good, too. Christmas doesn’t have to be an exception. Here are 3 festive foods which will help you stay slim, strong and healthy!

Turkey

The centrepiece of the Christmas meal is a bona fide health food, so load up your plate! Turkey is not only a low-fat, high-protein food but it’s packed with iron and other minerals which our diets can often be lacking. Choose a combination of white and dark meat to soak up a wide spectrum of nutritional benefits. Turkey shouldn’t just be for Christmas: try turkey as a regular choice of meat throughout the year. It’s the perfect meat for runners: low-fat and high-protein to power your running performance and boost your recovery without weighing you down.

Top Tip:

Use the whole bird! Leftover meat can be used for fillings for jacket potatoes (ideal to fuel your Boxing Day run or New Year race!). The bones can be simmered down with leftover vegetables to make nutrient-packed stock (a slow cooker is great for this).

Have You Tried?

Using turkey mince throughout the year as a healthier swap for dishes like chili, bolognese, meatballs and homemade burgers? Most butchers and supermarkets stock it.

Brussels Sprouts

Love them or hate them (we love them!) there’s no denying that Brussels sprouts are one of the healthiest foods runners can eat. Like any cruciferous vegetable, they have huge health benefits. They contain phytochemicals which fight disease and have an extremely high glucosinolate content, shown to protect against cancers. And they are a source of high levels of vitamins C, K, A, B6 and E as well as folate, manganese, fibre, potassium, thiamin (vitamin B1), iron, phosphorus, protein, molybdenum, magnesium, riboflavin (vitamin B2), calcium, and niacin. Phew! They are a great choice of vegetable for runners all year round but particularly in Winter when we ask so much of our immune systems.

Top Tip:

Steam Brussels sprouts to retain their health benefits. We like to then toss them in a pan-fried mix of chopped bacon, cracked black pepper and some mild chili flakes.

Have you tried?

Shred or finely-chop Brussels sprouts and add to stir fries for a delicious and super-health boost of taste, nutrients and crunch.

Chestnuts

All nuts are good for us, but it’s easy to overindulge on healthy fats. Chestnuts are not only tasty and oh-so-festive, but lower in fat and calories compared to other nuts. The perfect excuse to roast them, cook them or even bake with them! Compare chestnuts to the same weight or serving size of sweet potatoes, and you’ll see a lot of similarities: plenty of carbohydrates from starch (useful for runners), dietary fibre (to keep the digestion healthy), vitamin C (mother nature knows what she’s doing!), folates, the vitamin B complex and minerals (including significant amounts of iron, zinc and calcium).

Top Tip:

Before roasting chestnuts, make a small slit in the skin with a sharp knife so the skin doesn’t burst during roasting. And handle with care when it’s time to eat – they will be piping hot!

Have You Tried?

Swapping regular flour in baking recipes for nutrient-dense, healthier chestnut flour? Give it a try!

What are your favourite festive foods?

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