Stock your fridge with these six winners from the grocery store
Home from an exhausting run, you follow your grumbling stomach directly to the kitchen, open the fridge and find nothing but half-empty condiment jars – so you reach for the snack foods. Sound familiar? To avoid post-run ravaging, quiet your stomach with the following fresh foods.
Everyone knows about salmon’s omega-3 prowess, but we’re just getting acquainted with its protein profile. Bioactive peptides in salmon could help our joints. Animal studies examining salmon calcitonin suggest the peptide is a key hormone in regulating collagen and minerals in bone and tissue – which could mean a reduction of inflammation in painful joints.
Fresh Herbs: Dill and Basil
Beyond these herbs’ perky tastes, their essential oils have antibacterial effects – effectively killing little microbes found in an improperly washed salad. Basil’s oil also contains eugenol, a molecule with some anti-inflammatory properties. Dill adds distinctive flavour along with high calcium, fibre, iron and magnesium contents. Toss either herb into salads, dressings, roasted vegetables, and dips for a tasty nutrition boost.
Plain yogurt is loaded with protein and calcium, contains no refined sugar and helps colonize your gut with good bacteria. For those apprehensive about dairy, fermentation makes yogurt’s proteins easier to digest. The bacteria themselves partially digest milk protein, as well as breaking down lactose. Yogurt’s bacteria-boosting properties also slow intestinal infections, reduce yeast infections and dissolve cholesterol. The lactic acid, which improves absorption of most minerals, is another added benefit. This post-run protein is an easy addition to sauces, dips, and cereals.
Spinach has a variety of health-boosting flavonoids – antioxidants found in plants – and carotenoids – nutritious properties found in coloured vegetables and fruit. A new type of nutrient, glycoglyerolipids, may also protect intestinal cells and help fight cancer, according to some recent studies. Add vitamin C, E, beta-carotene, zinc, selenium and manganese to spinach’s profile, top with an excellent source of vitamin K for your bones, and it’s easy to see why spinach is a winner.
We adore almonds for their cholesterol-lowering effects and vitamin E’s antioxidant action. But almonds also have muscle-relaxing properties with magnesium and a healthy dose of potassium (250 mg in a 1/4 cup serving). The flavonoids in almond skins work with vitamin E to further boost the antioxidant power. Spread over celery and crackers, or eat whole almonds by the handful. One serving has more protein than an egg.
Ranking as high on health as spinach, broccoli is a rich source of kaempferol, a particularly potent anti-inflammatory compound. Broccoli also contains another helpful compound that suppresses the inflammation signalling system. Although very low in fat, one cup of broccoli contains about 200 mg of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fat. Broccoli is also a concentrated source of antioxidants, such as vitamin C and several carotenoids – all of which work to lower your body’s oxidative stress.
Beyond beating hunger, these foods will keep you running – both on the trails, and straight to the kitchen.
Bobbi Barbarich RD, MSc, is a contributing editor at Canadian Running.
Runner’s Kitchen: Recipe
Oven Poached Dill Salmon with Spinach
By Mary Luz Mejia
This poached salmon dish is easy to prepare and high in flavour. Served with a side of wilted spinach and the yogurt tartar sauce, and you’ve got a light lunch or dinner that’s big on taste and lean on the waist.
Ingredients for Poached Salmon
4 portions, 6 to 8 ounces each, preferably wild, organic salmon fillets
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and ground pepper
Several sprigs fresh dill, chopped
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped (reserve)
2 cups vegetable broth (can be thinned out with water)
- Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F).
- Rub the bottom of a shallow baking dish with olive oil
- Season fish filets with salt and pepper. Arrange salmon in dish.
- Add broth and a few sprigs of dill to the pan. Roast for 12-15 minutes covered.
- Remove fish from oven. Spoon pan juices over fish and transfer to a platter. Top fish with tartar sauce, reserved dill and serve with side of wilted spinach.
Nutritional Information (per serving):
Total Fat 9 g
Cholesterol 83 mg
Sodium 301 mg
Protein 33 g
Ingredients for Yogurt Tartar sauce
1 cup non-fat plain yogurt
2 tbsp red onion, finely minced
2 tbsp gherkin pickles, finely chopped
1 tbsp of lemon juice and a pinch of lemon zest (use organic for this if possible as you’re using the zest)
1 tbsp flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
½ tbsp chopped dill
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
2. Mix well with a whisk and refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. Spoon over poached salmon.
Nutritional information (per serving):
Total Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 1 mg
Sodium 43 mg
Carbohydrate 2 g
Protein 1 g
Ingredients for Wilted Spinach with Garlic
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp garlic, freshly minced
1 pinch sea salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
I pinch of ground cumin (optional)
1 packed cup baby spinach, well washed
2 tbsp toasted walnut pieces
1 tbsp water
1. In a bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper.
2. Place the spinach in large sauté pan over medium heat and add water. Mix for about 2 minutes until wilted but not soggy.
3. Toss spinach in a bowl with dressing. Sprinkle with walnuts and serve alongside salmon filets.
Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories 92Total Fat 9 g
Sodium 7 mg
Carbohydrates 1 g
Protein 1 g
Mary Luz Mejia is a Gemini-nominated food TV producer and director, food and travel writer, and a self-professed cookbook nerd.