We get it: As a runner, you want to fuel your miles with healthy foods that will give you plenty of energy, but y0u don’t have a lot of time to fuss with complicated recipes. If you’re going to fit in that tempo run before work, you can’t do it if you also plan to spend all morning in the kitchen slaving over a complicated breakfast. So we pulled together 17 quick, healthy meal recipes to make your postrun meals easy—and tasty. These recipes are quick (they all take 30 minutes or less!), simple, and most of all delicious. We’ve arranged them top to bottom, from breakfast to lunch to dinner, but go ahead and make omelets for brinner—we’re not judging.
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The secret behind getting these “baked” apples on the table fast? Cooking them in the microwave, which quickly steams the fruit until perfectly tender. Braeburn, Cortland, or Rome varieties work just as well as Gala. Use a spoon or melon baller to core the halved apples. Top the finished dish with a dollop of yogurt for a protein and calcium boost.
2 large crisp apples, such as Gala, halved and cored
2 tablespoons chopped dried tart cherries
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 teaspoons butter
½ cup granola
In a microwavable dish, arrange the apple halves cut side up. Top each apple half evenly with the tart cherries and brown sugar. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Dot evenly with the butter. Cover the apples with a microwavable dome lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap. Microwave on high for about 4 minutes, or until the apples are tender. Transfer the apples to serving bowls and sprinkle each apple half evenly with the granola. Drizzle any juices remaining in the cooking dish over the top. Serves 4.
Sweet potatoes for breakfast? Absolutely. These carb-packed vegetables are loaded with runner-friendly nutrients—and provide a welcome break from typical morning fare.
1 medium sweet potato
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Pinch of salt
Pierce the sweet potato all over with a fork. Microwave on high for 5 to 10 minutes, turning over once or twice, or until the center is soft.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the walnuts, maple syrup, and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until the nuts are coated and fragrant. Slice open the top of the potato lengthwise, leaving the bottom intact. Mash the nut mixture on top. Serves 1.
As a cruciferous vegetable, kale contains compounds called glucosinolates that have been shown to have anticancer properties. Adding fresh ginger and a kiwi—which provides more than a day’s worth of vitamin C—helps soften the natural bitterness of the leafy green.
1 cup unsweetened coconut water
½ cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 kiwi fruit, peeled
1 large kale leaf, center rib removed
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon honey
Pinch of salt
½ cup ice cubes
InstructionsIn a blender, combine the coconut water, yogurt, kiwi, kale, ginger, honey, salt, and ice. Blend until smooth. Serves 1.
High in protein and rich in antioxidants, eggs should be a go-to food for runners. Classic French omelets are a bit creamy and wet on the inside. This recipe allows you to customize your omelet toward either a classic or more cooked style. Add any filling combinations you desire. Just spread the filling on one side of the omelet before folding in half.
1 tablespoon butter
4 large eggs
Pinch of salt
Pinch of white pepper
Heat an 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add half the butter and swirl until melted and foamy. The skillet should be very hot before the eggs are added. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until fully blended. Whisk in the salt and pepper. Pour half the egg mixture into the hot pan. When the underside is set (after 30 to 45 seconds), continuously lift the edges of the omelet slightly with a fork or spatula and tilt the pan to let the uncooked egg flow underneath. Work your way around the pan in this manner for about 1 minute more. As soon as the mixture appears set but is still soft and slightly wet, add any fillings, fold the omelet in half, and slide out onto a plate. For an omelet that’s a little less wet and more set, cover the skillet but keep over the heat for another 30 seconds, or until the egg reaches desired doneness. Add any fillings, fold the omelet in half, and slide onto a plate. Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel and repeat with the remaining butter and egg mixture. Serves 2.
The part-whole-grain mix provides both slow- and quick-release carbs; white-flour pancakes with syrup would cause a blood-sugar spike. Fat and protein in the walnuts and yogurt also keep blood sugar steady.
3/4 cup frozen blueberries
4 tabelspoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Part-whole-grain pancake mix
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
Microwave blueberries for one minute, rinse, and then drain them. Stir together plain yogurt and maple syrup. Prepare a part-whole-grain pancake batter according to the package directions. Gently stir in the blueberries. Cook pancakes. Drizzle with maple and sprinkle with two tablespoons chopped walnuts if desired. Serves 2.
A large egg adds 6 grams of muscle-rebuilding protein to any meal. Topping off your turkey bowl with one adds texture and flavor.
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
4 cups shredded red cabbage
2 cups chopped kale
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
2 whole-wheat tortillas
1 tablespoon crumbled feta
1 avocado, sliced
1 tablespoon salsa (optional)
Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add turkey, taco seasoning, and ½ cup of water. Cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until water has evaporated and turkey is browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, in another large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and kale and cook until bright-colored and slightly wilted, about 4 minutes. Stir in lime juice and sprinkle with salt. Divide mixture among 4 bowls. Wipe skillet and heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat and cook eggs sunny side up, 3 to 4 minutes. Warm tortillas, then cut into ½″-wide strips. Top each bowl of cabbage mixture with turkey, an egg, and tortilla strips. Sprinkle each with feta, avocado, and salsa, if desired. Serves 4.
Two-time Olympian and marathoner Kara Goucher cooks up these easy flatbread pizzas at least once a week. If you’re planning to grill, set aside one grilled chicken breast (about 6 ounces cooked) to use for this recipe. Otherwise, you can use a rotisserie chicken breast. You can also substitute leftover grilled vegetables for the fresh bell pepper, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
4 whole wheat naan flatbreads
½ cup marinara sauce
4 teaspoons pesto
1 cup shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ red onion, sliced
½ cup sliced mushrooms, such as cremini (about 2 ounces)
1 grilled chicken breast, diced
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
8 large fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the naans on 2 baking sheets. Spread a thin layer of marinara across the breads. Top each with a teaspoon of the pesto and swirl into the sauce. Sprinkle the naans with the mozzarella. Top with the bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, and mushrooms. Add the chicken and finish with a sprinkle of Parmesan. Bake the naan pizzas for 12 minutes, or until the breads brown, the vegetables are softened, and the cheese melts.
Serve the naan pizzas garnished with the basil. Serves 4.
Inspired by the Vietnamese sandwich called banh mi, this pared-down version offers many of the same flavors but without the laundry list of ingredients typically found in many recipes. If you prefer less spice, use mild kimchi (fermented cabbage). It’s packed with flavor and good-for-you probiotic bacteria.
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce
½ teaspoon soy sauce
4 soft hoagie, Portuguese, or Cuban rolls (5 inches long), split
¼ red onion, cut into ¼-inch-thick rings
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 ½ cups shredded rotisserie chicken breast (without skin)
1 cup kimchi, drained
4 butter lettuce or Bibb lettuce leaves
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
In a small bowl, mix together the sesame oil, fish sauce, and soy sauce and brush on cut sides of rolls. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place the rolls, cut side down, in the skillet (if all 4 rolls do not fit, do this in batches). Toast for 3 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Arrange the red onion, cilantro, chicken, kimchi, and lettuce on the bottom half of the rolls. Spread the top half of the rolls with the mayonnaise. Close up the sandwiches and serve. Serves 4.
The surprise ingredient in these sweet and savory burgers is wheat germ. It serves as a binder, taking the place of less-nutritious breadcrumbs, and provides fiber, B vitamins, and zinc—needed for immune function. Grilled pineapple makes for a juicy topping that’s abundant in vitamin C and manganese.
1 pound skinless salmon fillet
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha or other chili-garlic sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup toasted wheat germ
3 scallions, chopped
cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 fresh or canned pineapple rings
4 large lettuce leaves, such as Bibb, Boston, or other butter lettuce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
In a food processor, combine ½ pound of the salmon, the soy sauce, Sriracha, garlic, ginger, and pepper. Process until pureed and pasty. Finely chop the remaining ½ pound of salmon by hand. Pulse it into the pureed mixture, along with the wheat germ, scallions, and cilantro. Shape into 4 patties. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. Brush the grill grates or grill pan with ½ tablespoon of the oil. Transfer the patties to the grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Brush the pineapple rings with the remaining ½ tablespoon oil. Grill for 2 minutes per side, or until they have grill marks. Place each burger on a lettuce leaf and top with hoisin sauce and a pineapple ring. Wrap the lettuce around the burger and serve. Serves 4.
Fresh mozzarella has high water content, so it's naturally lower in fat than many hard cheeses. If you don’t want to make tomato sauce and don’t have any on hand, substitute 2 fresh plum tomatoes, sliced.
1 pound homemade or store-bought pizza dough
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup homemade or jarred tomato sauce
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, patted dry and torn into ¾-inch pieces
6 large basil leaves, roughly torn
¼ cup grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll the dough into a 12 x 9-inch rectangle no more than ¼ inch thick. Brush 1 teaspoon of the oil over a 1-inch border all around the rectangle. Spread the pizza sauce over the dough, leaving the 1-inch border uncovered. Lay the mozzarella pieces on the sauce. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden and crisp and the cheese is bubbling. Top with the basil. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and pepper. Serves 4.
This no-cook sauce comes together quickly in the blender while the pasta cooks on the stove.
½ cup almonds
1 box (1 pound) bucatini or spaghetti
1 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or a pinch of dried
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. While waiting for the water to boil, place the almonds in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Toast for 7 minutes, stirring or shaking the skillet occasionally, until fragrant and slightly golden. Set aside. When the water boils, salt it and add the bucatini. Cook according to the package directions. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the toasted almonds, sun-dried tomatoes, oil, anchovies, garlic, basil, oregano, and salt and process about 1 minute, until just blended.
Reserving ½ cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta in a colander and return it to the pot. Add the ½ cup pasta cooking water to the sauce in the food processor. Pulse a few times until combined. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss well to coat. Serve topped with the Parmesan. Serves 6.
The fiber in chickpeas can help keep blood-sugar levels stable and lower cholesterol.
15 ounces chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon harissa (or 1/2 tsp. each ground cumin, garlic, paprika, and salt)
½ cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons honey
¼ teaspoon each kosher salt, black pepper
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, coarsely chopped
¼ cup crumbled feta
In a food processor, combine chickpeas, 3 tablespoons of water, flaxseeds, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and harissa (or spice mixture). Process until ingredients become a smooth paste, and transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in oats until just mixed. If sticky, add more oats by the tablespoon until dough holds together without feeling stiff. Using your hands, form sixteen 1 ½″ balls of chickpea mixture. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chickpea balls and cook, turning, until golden all over, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Add lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber to the bowl and toss together. Add the chickpea balls to the bowl of salad, divide among 4 plates, and sprinkle feta over top of each salad.
This classic Italian pasta is as satisfyingly delicious as it is easy to make. While not traditional, sautéed onions add a note of sweetness, and peas provide a pop of color and nutrients.
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 box (1 pound) spaghetti
½ sweet onion, chopped
3 large eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 cup frozen peas
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
While waiting for the water to boil, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the bacon is browned and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Set aside. Meanwhile, when the water boils, salt it and add the spaghetti. Cook according to the package directions. Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat (if there is more than 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the skillet, drain it first). Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes, or until the onion is softened and translucent. Set aside. In a bowl, beat the eggs well with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. Two minutes before the spaghetti is done, add the peas. Reserving ½ cup of the cooking water, drain the spaghetti and peas in a colander and return to the still-hot pot. Immediately add the eggs, reserved ½ cup cooking water, and the onions. Toss well to coat the spaghetti (the residual heat from the pasta will gently cook the eggs as they coat the spaghetti). Sprinkle with the Parmesan, bacon, and parsley, and toss well again. Serve with additional ground black pepper, if desired. Serves 6.
Sweet potatoes have more antioxidants than white ones do, making them a healthier choice for a savory meal.
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon each paprika, garlic powder, cumin
½ teaspoon each cinnamon, kosher salt
1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sweet potatoes to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 5 minutes. Add ¾ cup water. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until potato pieces are soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Halfway through cooking, stir in beans. Cover and continue cooking. In a small bowl, combine paprika, garlic powder, cumin, cinnamon, and salt. Stir spices and vinegar into skillet. Uncover skillet to let any excess water evaporate. Divide mixture among bowls and top each portion with yogurt and cilantro. Serves 4.
You can serve the noodles slightly warm or at room temperature. If you make it ahead and chill it, let it come to room temperature to serve.
1 package (8 ounces) buckwheat soba noodles
1 cup (3 ounces) snow peas, halved
¼ cup no-sugar-added creamy peanut butter
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. When the water boils, add the soba noodles. Cook according to the package directions, adding the snow peas during the last minute of cooking.
While the noodles cook, in a food processor, combine the peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger and process for 30 seconds, or until smooth. When the noodles are done, drain them along with the peas in a colander and rinse them well under cool water until the water runs clear. Drain well again and return the noodles and peas to the pot. Add the sauce and scallions to the noodles and toss well to coat. Serve garnished with the sesame seeds. Serves 4.
Ten medium shrimp have about 20 grams of protein, making this the perfect postrun meal for recovery.
cup quick-cooking grits (not instant)
½ cup thawed corn
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon each paprika, garlic powder
24 raw medium peeled and deveined shrimp
2 cups collard greens or kale, chopped
¼-½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
In a medium saucepan, boil 2 cups water over high heat. Add grits, lower heat, and stir often. As grits thicken, stir in corn, 1 tablespoon of butter, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook until grits are smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix paprika, garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon of salt. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Add shrimp, and cook until slightly pink, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove skillet from heat and stir in spice mixture. Return skillet to heat and add greens. Cook, stirring, until shrimp are opaque and greens are wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add red pepper flakes, if desired. Divide grits among bowls and top with shrimp and greens. Serves 4.
If you can find fresh, in-season peas, use them here. Otherwise, frozen peas will work just fine; add them 1 minute sooner in the recipe.
1 box (1 pound) cavatappi or other spiral pasta
1½ cups fresh spring peas
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste
½ cup grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
Juice of ½ lemon
4 ounces (about 8 thin slices) prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When it boils, salt it and add the pasta. Cook according to the package directions. Two minutes before the pasta is cooked, add the peas. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly browned. Reserving ¼ cup pasta cooking water, drain the pasta and peas in a colander. Add the peas, pasta, and reserved cooking water to the skillet, toss, and heat through, about 1 minute. Add the pepper, cheese, and lemon juice and toss to combine. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls and place the prosciutto over top, letting the heat from the pasta warm the meat. Serves 6.