Here’s how to create the ideal salad to fuel training and boost recovery
Heading towards Summer means a shift towards lighter healthier eating – and this can be a great way to fuel your running training. Do you know how to build a hearty salad that gives you the energy you need for running, without no bloating or cravings? We’ve found the perfect formula for a tasty, nutritious salad which will power your training, boost your recovery, and help you be healthier.
5 Reasons To Eat More Salads
1 Micronutrients: salads are a great way to get more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants into your daily diet
2 Fibre: leafy salad ingredients, beans, and veggies have a ton of fibre which helps with digestive health
3 Hydration: salad ingredients have a high water content, contributing to your overall hydration levels
4 Satiety: salads are a great high-volume food, ideal if you are trying to eat fewer calories but want to feel full
5 Variety: create endless combinations of fresh, healthy, nutrient-dense ingredients
Create Your Salad
Choose two leaves
Leafy salad ingredients are high in phytonutrients and antioxidants. Think beyond lettuce (although there’s nothing wrong with lettuce!) Try spinach, watercress, rocket, lamb’s lettuce, pak choi, baby kale, chard – and kind of leafy vegetable. If it needs softening up, slice or tear it into manageable pieces and put into a bowl with oil (if using), avocado (if using), or lemon/lime juice.
Add two vegetables
Start taking your salad to the next level by adding vegetables. Most people think of tomatoes or cucumber – and these are great. But how about cauliflower (cut into tiny florets), grated carrot, grated courgette, bell pepper, or cubes of cooked and cooled butternut squash?
Choose beans or pulses
Adding one portion of a bean or a pulse to your salad will take it to superfood levels. Beans and pulses are one of the healthiest food groups on the planet, packed with fibre, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals, and some protein. Choose your favourite: how about butterbeans, cannellini beans, kidney beans, green lentils, or chickpeas? Batch cook and cool your own from dried, or use tinned (rinse and dry).
Add one protein
As a runner, you need protein. Add some tasty protein to your salad: salmon, tinned tuna, hardboiled eggs, chicken breast or thigh, prawns, turkey bacon, chicken sausages, steak strips, or high protein cheese. If you want to avoid animal protein, try a quorn product or tempeh (delicious in salads).
Add one healthy fat
Fatty acids help your body recover from exercise, and keep your hormones balanced. Plus as a runner you need the calories. Keep fat levels under control by choosing just one source of fat and measuring it out (rather than free-pouring oils). Choose from cold pressed olive oil, olives, avocado, or nuts.
Finish with some crunch
The beauty of salads is in the texture, colour and crunch. Add some crunch to your final product with nuts, seeds, or crunchy veggies like radishes.
Traditional dressings can add calories without you even noticing. So base your dressing on lemon or lime juice, plus fresh herbs and spices like black pepper. You’ll be surprised at the difference these zero-cal ingredients can make.
Need more carbs?
Of course as a runner you may need more carbohydrates with your salad. We love adding cooked, cooled whole grains to salads (they are another very healthy food group). Try wild rice, brown rice, cous cous, or quinoa. Or enjoy your salad with some cold new potatoes, a pitta bread, some rice cakes, or your favourite type of bread.