Many new athletes are understandably concerned about what they should eat to fuel the "big workout." The definition of a big workout will vary depending upon the athlete and the sport. For a runner preparing for a half-marathon, it may be the eight, nine or 10 mile training run. For a beginner triathlete it may be the first solid brickworkout. Your instinct may be to worry about what to eat or drink a few hours before, as well as during the workout (both valid concerns to be explored). My own approach, however, is that I don't want much on my stomach during the workout, but I want enough energy to support my effort and still feel light on my feet. Therefore, for more moderate "big workouts," I rely on the reserves my body has stored from meals over the few days leading up to the workout-- especially my last meal. Here's my favorite pre-"big workout" dinner of choice: A hearty beans, greens and grain dish.
Lentil-Kale Risotto [Vegan]
4 - 6
- 1T + 1t olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 1 cup pearled barley (dry)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1/4 t sea salt
- 1/4 t black pepper
- 2 cups brown/green lentils, cooked**
- 2 cups firmly packed kale, chopped
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/4 cup nutritionalyeast
- 2 t veganParmesancheese
- 1 t sweet basil (dry)
- Salt + Pepper to taste
- In a pressure cooker, heat olive oil and saute onion, garlic and jalapeno.
- Add barley, vegetable broth, water salt and pepper. Stir and cover.
- Bring to pressure and maintain pressure for 18 - 20 minutes.
- Use the quick release method to reduce pressure (hold the pressure cooker under cold water until pressure is released).
- Slowly remove the pressure cooker lid, away from you, and add remaining ingredients to the barley and simmer on low to desired risotto consistency.
Quick Lentils: In a rice cooker, add 1 cup dry brown lentils, one bay leaf, one clove of garlic, minced, and 2 cups filtered water. Cook on the "regular/white rice" setting for 45 minutes. Stir in 1/4 t sea salt. This hearty meal is delicious and is packed with nutrients: Cooked Kale: Low in saturated fat, good source of Protein, Iron and Magnesium and very good source of Vitamin B6 and Calcium Cooked Lentils: Low in saturated fat, good source of Iron, Vitamin C and Manganese. Pearled Barley: Low in saturated fat, good source of Carbohydrates for energy. Nutritional Yeast Flakes: Low in saturated fat, good source of Protein, Magnesium and a very good source of Vitamin B12.