5 Perfect Power Meals
The recipes that took 36-year-old US elite Shalane Flanagan to victory in the NYC Marathon
Thai quinoa salad Shalane I love Thai salads and this version is heartier because it’s made with quinoa. This recipe was a staple during my training and I ate it in the week leading up to New York. It had the carbs I needed and was easy on my stomach. Elyse A lot of people don’t think to put fresh herbs in a grain salad, but they’re good for digestion and easing inflammation, and they’ve got lots of vitamins and minerals. Serves 5 Prep time: 90 mins 340g quinoa, rinsed and drained 2 large carrots, grated 300g purple cabbage, sliced 3 spring onions, sliced 25g mint leaves, chopped 25g basil leaves, chopped 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, minced (optional) 125g roasted peanuts, chopped • Dressing 60ml extra virgin olive oil Juice of 2-3 limes 2 tbsp soy sauce 2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup) 1 tbsp fish sauce (leave out if you want to go vegan)
1. In a medium pot over high heat, bring 350ml water and the quinoa to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 mins or until all the water has been absorbed. Transfer to a salad bowl, fluff with a fork and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, put the olive oil, lime juice, soy sauce, honey and fish sauce (if using) in a glass bowl and stir to combine.
3. Once the quinoa is cool, add the carrots, cabbage, onion, mint, basil and pepper (to taste) to the bowl; toss to combine. Add the dressing and toss again. Taste and, if needed, add more fish sauce or soy sauce.
4. Top with the peanuts. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
5. This salad will stay fresh in airtight glass containers in the fridge for up to five days.
Superfoods soup Shalane When I’m training hard, my immune system can take a heavy hit. This soup gives it a huge boost. Elyse taught me that full-fat coconut milk is antiviral and curry is great for easing inflammation. Elyse Soups are incredible for runners. They’re more hydrating than plain water because of the sodium and electrolytes, and they’re easy to load up with nutrient-dense veggies. For this soup, sweet potatoes provide easy-to-digest complex carbs, lots of electrolytes and energising B vitamins. The coconut milk is high in mediumchain fatty acids, which are easy to burn for energy. Serves 8 Prep time: 30 mins 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 carrots, peeled and diced 2 celery stalks, diced 1 onion, diced 2 tsp fine sea salt 2 tbsp curry powder 1 sweet potato, unpeeled, diced in 1/2- inch cubes 380ml unsweetened coconut milk 400g diced tomatoes 425g chickpeas 20g kale, chopped, stems removed Juice of 1 lime
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 5 minutes). Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, being careful not to let the spices brown.
2. Add 1.2L of water, the sweet potato, coconut milk, tomatoes and chickpeas to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered (stirring once in a while), until the sweet potatoes are soft (about 20 mins).
3. Stir in the kale and simmer until wilted. Turn off the heat and stir in 1 tbsp of lime juice. Taste and add more lime juice and salt, if needed. Turkey trot meatballs Shalane I need a lot of protein when I’m training. These meatballs are so convenient. You make a big batch and just have them around. You can even throw them on salads or in rice bowls. My training is gruelling and it’s pretty much the same thing every day for three months. Having a good variety of food options that aren’t bland is really important. Elyse Turkey provides protein that’s easy to digest, plus vitamins and minerals for energy production. Many people think only fruits and veggies provide vitamins but quality meat is nutrient-dense. The cooking method also makes these a good choice for busy runners: baking them is quick, and you don’t have to brown them first and then watch while they simmer. Serves 4 Prep time: 60 mins 1 tbsp olive oil 100g parmesan, finely grated 40g almond flour or oat flour Handful parsley, finely chopped 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp fine sea salt 4 tsp ground black pepper 450g turkey mince 1 egg
1. Heat the oven to 200C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and smear the oil across the paper.
2. In a bowl, combine the parmesan, flour, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add the turkey and egg and use your hands to combine. Set aside for 15 mins to absorb moisture.
3. Use a spoon to scoop and your hands to form the meat into golf ball-sized meatballs, about 16 in total. Place them evenly spaced on the prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake for 15 mins. Remove from the oven, flip each meatball and bake for another 15 mins, or until the meatballs are lightly browned. Cut open a meatball to check it’s done (no pink).
Rad raspberry beetroot smoothie bowl Shalane Leading up to New York, I was doing mile repeats at around 4:40, for up to 12 miles in total. I’d make a big smoothie and have a small portion to go with my porridge before training, then drink the rest afterwards. After hard workouts like that I’m not super-hungry, but I want a good recovery, so this smoothie is a great in-between choice before I eat a full meal. Elyse Beetroot is rich in potassium, which helps hydration and muscle function. Oats are an easy-to-digest source of complex carbs that provide energy. Power foods such as these are most effective when combined in the right ratio. We can’t absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the fruit and veggies without the fat in the yoghurt – that’s why taking a supplement isn’t as effective as eating the real deal. Serves 2 Prep time: 20 mins 125g frozen raspberries 1 medium beetroot, cooked and peeled 250g plain, full-fat yoghurt 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil or almond butter 3 dates, pitted 40g rolled oats • Topping ideas Sliced kiwi, fresh berries, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, honey.
1. Blend all the ingredients except the oats and toppings in a blender on high speed until very smooth. Stir in the oats and let sit for about 15 minutes.
2. Divide between 2 bowls and sprinkle on your favourite toppings. If you’re cooking for 1, cover and refrigerate the extra bowl for the next day. Chocolate peanut butter cups Shalane When I’m training hard, I look forward to a sweet treat and these really hit the spot. If I’m not racking up a ton of miles, I’ll have these a couple of times a week. But when I’m training for a marathon these are mandatory, every day. Elyse These are rich, but you can feel good about eating them. They use peanut butter, coconut oil, cocoa powder, and maple syrup, so it’s all whole foods and good fats. Serves 12 Prep time: 60 mins • Chocolate 80ml virgin coconut oil 25g unsweetened cocoa powder 3 tbsp maple syrup • Peanut butter filling 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil 125g peanut butter 1 tbsp maple syrup 1/4 tsp vanilla 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1. Line a mini muffin pan with 12 mini paper muffin cups.
2. To make the chocolate: in a small bowl, microwave the coconut oil for 30 seconds, or until just melted. Stir in the cocoa powder and maple syrup.
3. Place 1 tsp of the chocolate in each muffin cup. Place the muffin tin in the freezer until the chocolate solidifies (about 5 minutes).
4. To make the peanut butter filling: in a bowl, microwave the coconut oil for 30 seconds, or until just melted. Use a fork to stir in the peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla and salt.
5. Spoon about 1 tsp of peanut butter filling on top of the chocolate. Then spoon another tsp of chocolate on top of the peanut butter filling to fill the cups (if the chocolate begins to harden, microwave it for 10 seconds). Place peanut butter cups in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).
6. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. If frozen, remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving.