From the September/ October 2017 issue.
Marathon season is in full swing, and the weeks of pre-race carb loading are just around the corner. This traditionally means that pasta and bagels will fly off the grocery store shelves and be readily consumed in an effort to saturate our muscle glycogen stores. For anyone who has gone through several marathon builds, the thought of eating another bowl of pasta isn’t very appealing. Pre-race nutrition is a very personal part of any race preparation. Not everyone can handle the same amounts, types and quality of food. It’s important to understand what works for your body, and what foods it thrives off of.
Trying to step away from traditional pastas that are simple and easy to digest isn’t easy but there are many other carbohydrate options that fit the bill. Anything from whole grains, minimally processed breads, yams and squash are all excellent alternatives. In the winter, squash is in abundance and there are a variety of types that can be incorporated into any meal of the day: acorn squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash and pumpkin are a few notable winter squash. Although zucchini is technically a summer squash, it’s available all year round and is a nutritious addition to many meals and baked goods. With copious amounts of vitamins and minerals that pasta doesn’t have naturally, squash is also a great source of carbohydrates. As the carb-loading phenomenon occurs for a week before a marathon, it’s important to maintain a good variety of meals and ingredients that will fuel the fire for the race, but also mix up your weekly menu.
Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
3 acorn squash, halved
Salt & pepper
1 lb. sausage of choice, sliced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 large celery stalks, finely chopped
2 apples, cored and diced
½ tsp sage
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Using a sharp knife cut off each end of the acorn squash removing as little as possible, then cut in half and spoon
out the seeds. Brush olive oil inside and on top, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Bake for 40–60 minutes or until tender and you can pierce with a fork but it still maintains its shape.
4. While the squash is baking begin sautéing the sausage for about 5 minutes. Add in onions and celery to the pan
and sauté for another 2–3 minutes until it starts to brown (add olive oil if necessary).
5. Add apples and sauté for another 2 minutes or until softened, then stir in sage and bread crumbs.
6. Add ¾ cup Parmesan cheese and stir until cheese begins to melt. Set aside.
7. Once squash has finished baking and reached desired tenderness spoon in meat mixture until the squash is filled. Return to the oven and bake an additional 15–20 minutes depending on size of squash.
8. Remove from oven and top with remaining parmesan cheese.