Paleo Recipe Ideas For Runners
Loads of you loved our blog post about the Paleo diet and women runners – and asked for more. Here are some Paleo-friendly recipes and ideas to get you started.
Try swapping cereal, bread, muesli and juice for a breakfast based around protein and fats. Don’t be put off by the higher fat content of your new breakfast. Fat and protein boost brain function, keep you fuller for longer, and stabilise blood sugar levels (avoiding the mid-morning slump which can follow a higher carbohydrate breakfast meal).
As with any Paleo meal, snack or recipe, the main thing to remember is “real food”. So choose breakfast ingredients which are real, whole foods: eggs, oily fish, green leafy vegetables or even red meat (it might help to stop thinking of breakfast in terms of breakfast food and think of it as just another meal!).Use “one ingredient” foods which don’t have a long ingredients list (or any ingredients list at all) and choose things which grew in the ground, swam in the sea or ran around!
Lunch and dinner
A common misconception about the Paleo way of eating is that it’s low carbohydrate. It’s not (and if it was, we wouldn’t be recommending it for runners!). But it does get its carbohydrates from natural sources rather than grains and man-made products. So swap bread, wraps, rolls and pasta for lots of vegetables, including starchy root vegetables, or rice. Rice isn’t strictly Paleo but is gentle enough on the digestion that many advocates of the Paleo way of eating recommend it as a good one-ingredient food.
Here are some recipe ideas for hungry, healthy runners.
Savoury Breakfast “Muffins”
Make a big batch of these tasty savoury breakfast treats and keep them in the fridge – they’re a great quick-grab option for busy mornings (and much easier to eat on the go than toast!) This makes 8 “muffins” – a healthy serving would be two for an active adult.
8 rashers of bacon
Some grated hard cheese (parmesan is ideal)
Fresh chopped parsley
Salt and black pepper
Any other seasonings you like (try red chili flakes, curry powder, grated lemon rind or coriander)
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.
Fry the bacon in its own fat (no need for extra) until cooked through but not crispy.
Place each rasher in the cup of a muffin tin or individual muffin cup (silicone ones work well), forming a cup or bowl out of the bacon
Crack one egg into each bacon “cup” and top with the seasonings
Finally, top each egg with a sprinkle of cheese
Bake in the oven for at least 10 minutes (until the egg is cooked)
Allow to cool then remove from the muffin tray
These keep well in the fridge for a couple of days and are great for kids lunch boxes too!
Healthy Homemade Burgers
Burgers have a bad reputation as an unhealthy junk food. Make them yourself from good quality ingredients and they become a very healthy snack or meal which will balance blood sugar, encourage hormone health, and provide you with plenty of clean energy. This makes 12 burgers, try one for a snack or two for a meal.
1000g mince (try beef, lamb or wild red meat such as venison or bison)
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red onion all finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley or coriander leaf
Finely chopped Salt and black pepper (try to use Himalayan or Celtic sea salt for a Paleo way of eating)
Optional: red chili flakes
Ggarlic (to taste)
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until combined well
Form burger patty shapes
Place the burgers on a lightly-greased baking tray
Cook in the hot oven for at least 25 minutes until cooked to your preference
Scrap the burger buns, and instead serve with rice, loads of vegetables, or between two thick slices of beef tomatoes for a lovely fresh take on a classic burger meal. Or simply grab a burger patty and eat on the go for a snack!
Nutty Paleo Flapjacks For Runners
Who says you can’t enjoy energy bars as a Paleo runner! You can with these moreish flapjacks which use ingredients chosen for their nutrients.
Instead of grains like wheat and oats – which can cause inflammation – use flaked buckwheat, amaranth, rice or quinoa, all of which will keep your cells much happier. Instead of sugar, use raw honey (local honey is the very best choice for immune system health) or maple syrup. If you have protein powder, add it both for the extra dry ingredient and of course for the protein boost. Try to choose one with minimal sweeteners and bulking ingredients. A raw whey, or a vegan protein powder, is best.
Makes 12 flapjack squares
150g flaked buckwheat, amaranth, rice or quinoa
50-60g protein powder (plain/unflavoured or vanilla will work well) – see the note above about this
1 medium mashed banana
30g crushed walnuts (or pumpkin/sunflower seeds if you prefer)
20g chia seeds (these are a great healthy fat but also swell with moisture, helping to bind the flapjack mixture)
2 tbsp coconut oil 2 tbsp nut butter (avoid peanut butter and instead try almond, hazelnut or cashew nut butter) 1 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg/allspice to suit your tastebuds
2-3 tbsp raw, local honey or maple syrup to suit your tastebuds
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4
Line and grease a square baking tin
Melt the coconut oil in a bowl (pop it in the oven for a few minutes)
Meanwhile, mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl
Blitz the banana, nut butter, coconut oil with a blender or food processor
Add the wet mixture to the dry and combine it all well
Add your sweetener to taste
Press the mixture down into the baking tray
Bake for 15 minutes, check it’s cooked (the top should be slightly crunchy), and cook for a further 5 minutes if needed.
Allow to cool before slicing into squares or fingers.
These keep very well in the fridge and can even be frozen if they last that long!
Paleo Snack Ideas For Runners
Meals are all well and good, but when you need a very quick snack, what should you turn to?
Here are some great ideas, just watch the portion size as these are all higher in fat content than the carbohydrate-rich choices you are probably used to.
Hard boiled eggs
Raw nuts and/or seeds (walnuts are the most nutrient-packed nuts)
Mozzarella cheese balls
Mini homemade burgers (simply bake or pan-fry patties of good quality beef, venison or turkey mince)
Homemade trail mix (try nuts, seeds, shredded raw coconut and a little dark chocolate).