Power-Packed Salads For Healthy Runners
Here are some nutritious, delicious salads which really do pack a punch for busy runners.
Start With A Base
Choose dark leafy greens for the base of your salad. Not only will leaves such as watercress, rocket, spinach and lamb’s lettuce bulk your bowl up, they’ll deliver vital nutrients, vitamins and water to your hungry runner’s body.
Add In Your Favourite Veg
Chop up your favourite vegetables to add to the salad bowl. Try to get as many colours of the rainbow in as possible: red (tomatoes, onion, cherry tomatoes, red pepper), orange (bell pepper), yellow (squashes, bell pepper), purple (purple sprouting broccoli, aubergine). You can either chop or grate the vegetables raw, or grill/roast them to switch up the texture. Add them to the salad hot, warm or cooled – all are great!
Choose Your Protein
As a hungry runner, you then need to add protein to your salad. Try chopped cooked chicken (dark or white meat), turkey, beef steak or other red meat. How about tuna, salmon, mackerel or sardines (tinned is fine but fresh is a lovely treat). Grill or shallow fry meat or fish, or use a Foreman grill. Hard boiled eggs – cooked, cooled and then halved or roughly chopped – make a great addition (did you know that eggs are a complete protein?) Vegetarian or vegan? Add chickpeas, butter beans, kidney beans, lentils, other pulses or tofu.
Don’t Forget Your Fats
You need fats in your diet (that’s why some of them are called essential fats). To keep your hormones, skin and connective tissue healthy, add one of the following to your salad: whole eggs, oily fish, avocado, or raw or lightly toasted nuts or seeds (not the roasted version).
Go easy on the dressing (that’s where calories can add up) and use healthy, natural ingredients rather than a dressing from a bottle. If you feel up to a homemade mayonnaise, that’s one way to get healthy fats and a ton of nutrients into the bowl. Or mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice together and drizzle over. Or try other oils such as macadamia nut oil. Just avoid vegetable oils, sunflower oil and trans fats.
There’s really no limit to what you can chuck in a salad, and you’re unlikely to go OTT on the calories (unless you make some very odd ingredient choices). How about anchovies, olives, sea vegetables (such as dulse), chia seeds, sharp berries or even chunks of citrus or exotic fruit. Eat your salad with some warm new potatoes, sweet potato wedges, rice, quinoa or cous cous for a well-rounded meal which meets your nutritional needs as a female runner.