After a cold run there's nothing better than sitting down to a hot meal, ideally one that's easy to prepare. Indeed, without much time or effort you can produce flavorful results using just one pot, says chef Biju Thomas, coauthor of The Feed Zone Cookbook. Add lean proteins, whole grains, and vegetables, and "one-pot meals supply all the nutrients runners need for training and recovery."
And, says Thomas, because you consume all the liquids in one-pot recipes, "you don't lose any nutrients that leach out during cooking." These five recipes (each of which serves four) take 40 minutes or less to prepare and, once you get them going, require little more than stirring.
Make one before you run, and heat upon return for a tasty reward. (Plus: Remember to stay warm outdoors with these 10 Tips for Running in the Cold.)
To Shed Pounds
Smoky Black Bean Stew
A single cup of black beans packs 15 grams of fiber, plus an equal amount of muscle-building protein. "Natural high-fiber foods help promote fullness," says Marni Sumbal, M.S., R.D., owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition in Jacksonville, Florida. "That can help reduce caloric intake at meals and curb cravings throughout the day." Recent research from Purdue University shows that the compound that gives hot peppers their fiery kick may also boost calorie-burning and temper appetite, helping lower your calorie intake. For long-term results, follow these 10 Tips for Weight Loss That Lasts.
Simmer this Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a pot. Cook 1 diced onion and 1 sliced carrot for 5 minutes. Add two 15-ounce cans drained black beans, one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, 1 cup sliced roasted red pepper, 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, 1 teaspoon cumin, and salt and pepper. Simmer 20 minutes. Stir in zest of one orange and 1 tablespoon fresh thyme. Serve with diced avocado.
To Recover Faster
Chicken Quinoa Soup
Chicken and quinoa are a dynamic duo: "Amino acids in chicken rebuild broken-down muscle tissue, while carbs in quinoa refuel your depleted gas tank," says Sumbal, "making this optimal for recovery." Quinoa provides magnesium, which may improve muscle strength in athletes, according to a study published last year. (For a quick post-workout treat, try one of the 10 Best Recovery Bars for Runners.)
Simmer this Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a pot; cook one diced onion and two sliced carrots for six minutes. Add 1 pound thinly sliced boneless raw chicken thighs, 1 cup sliced mushrooms, two sliced celery stalks, and two minced garlic cloves; cook five minutes. Add 4 cups chicken broth, 1 cup water, 3/4 cup quinoa, four sprigs thyme, and salt and pepper. Boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 15 minutes, till quinoa is tender. Top with parsley and hot sauce.