Kitchen Shortcuts & Gadgets for Hungry Runners

panini maker

Whether you're logging miles at dawn or hitting the roads after a long day, finding time to prepare healthy meals might feel like a struggle. But you don't have to resign yourself to living on fast food or energy bars—there are plenty of ingredient shortcuts and kitchen gadgets that can help you make healthy meals STAT. Don't let runger (running-induced hunger!) get the best of you—use these tips instead.

Meal Prep Shortcuts

Let the grocery store do the work for you. You don't need to spend hours in the kitchen to prepare healthy foods (although if you love meal-prepping, more power to you!). Pick up just the right amount of pre-chopped vegetables from the salad bar, a rotisserie chicken (or other proteins) from the deli or bagged salad mixes from the produce department.

Embrace convenience products. Convenience doesn't necessarily mean junk. Check out the frozen foods section for staples like brown rice, vegetables and cubes of ready-to-cook garlic or herbs. And most grocery stores carry fresh or frozen pizza dough, paving the way to making your own nutritious pie!

Find yourself skipping meals or reaching for unhealthy options more often than you'd like? Consider a delivery service. Daily Harvest is a popular option that offers pre-packaged smoothies, soups and vegetable bowls. Just add your favorite liquid, blend or microwave and you'll have a healthy meal in less than 5 minutes.

Must-Have Tools

An electric kettle may seem unassuming, but it can cut down on prep time for a number of beverages and meals. Warm up the kettle before you jump in the shower, and it'll be ready for a post-run tea, cocoa or instant coffee. You can also use the hot water for instant oatmeal or to cook rice noodles.

Jump on the Instapot (or other multi cooker) bandwagon. Multicookers can often take the place of up to eight (!) appliances. Use them to quickly sauté meat or whip up a batch of rice for a post-run burrito bowl. You can also utilize the slow cooker setting for soups and stews.

They're not cheap, but high-powered blenders, such as the Vitamix brand, make quick work of smoothies and sauces. You can even make hot, ready-to-eat soups in the Vitamix (although some ingredients, such as potatoes, must be precooked).

Make an ordinary sandwich a little bit special with a panini maker. Melty cheese and crispy bread can make ho-hum turkey and swiss feel more like a meal. Panini makers can also be used to make extra crispy hash browns!

You already know that reusable snack bags are better for the environment, but did you know they could be used for cooking? Stasher makes a variety of sizes that can be used in sous-vide cooking (similar to steaming). And they're dishwasher, freezer and oven safe.

Glass or other BPA-free storage containers can make packing up leftovers (or preparing tomorrow's lunch) a snap. Having the right equipment—even if it seems simple—is an important step in creating healthy routines.

READ THIS NEXT: Best Ways to Refuel After a Hard Run

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