When you're tired and hungry, the quickest way to a perfect recovery meal may be in a single pan: a wok. "Stir-frying is the easiest way to make a fast and nutritious meal," says Grace Young, author of the award-winning cookbook Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge. "The quick, high-heat cooking preserves the flavor, texture, and nutrients of the ingredients." Choose the right complex carbohydrates and proteins and a stir-fried meal supplies everything runners need for recovery. And your options aren't limited to Asian cuisine. You can use the technique to incorporate flavors from around the globe. These simple, healthy, and tasty recipes take less than 40 minutes to make.
Jerk Shrimp Stir-Fry
With only 90 calories in a three-ounce serving, shrimp is an ideal protein for runners watching their waistlines. Plus, it's a good source of vitamin D. "Vitamin D helps the body absorb bone-building calcium from foods," says Rebecca Scritchfield, R.D., a Washington, D.C.—based sports dietitian. Jerk seasoning, sweet potatoes (a leading source of vision-protecting vitamin A), and black beans give this stir-fry Caribbean flair.
Stir It Up: In a large bowl, toss 1 pound peeled shrimp and 2 tablespoons jerk seasoning. Heat wok over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and the shrimp. Cook until it turns pink, about 3 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add 1 thinly sliced sweet potato. Cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in one 15-ounce can drained black beans, 3 sliced garlic cloves, 1 seeded and minced jalapeño pepper, and 2 sliced scallions. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Stir in shrimp and 1/4 cup orange juice. Heat 30 seconds. Serve garnished with cilantro.
Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir-Fry
Protein-rich tofu and carb-dense brown rice make this Asian stir-fry ideal for repairing muscles and restocking energy stores after a run. A 2010 study found that compounds in ginger may ease postworkout muscle pain by dampening inflammation. Broccoli is rich in vitamin K, which helps make a protein critical to bone formation, says Scritchfield.
Stir It Up: In a small bowl, whisk 1/3 cup vegetable broth, 2 tablespoons each rice vinegar and ketchup, 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and brown sugar, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Set aside. Heat wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and 1 diced block firm tofu. Cook until tofu is browned, about 4 minutes, and transfer to a plate. Add 1 sliced red pepper, 2 cups broccoli florets, 3 sliced green onions, 2 sliced garlic cloves, and 1 tablespoon sliced ginger. Stir-fry for 1 minute, or until peppers are tender. Add tofu, 1 cup pineapple chunks, and broth mixture to wok; stir-fry for 1 minute more. Serve over brown rice.
Chickpea Spinach Stir-Fry
Chickpeas, a staple in Indian cuisine, are loaded with B vitamins, iron, magnesium, protein, carbs, and fiber (providing 11 grams per cup). Spinach is one of the richest sources of dietary nitrates—a 2010 Swedish study found these compounds may help muscles work more efficiently.
Stir It Up: Heat wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil, two 14-ounce cans drained chickpeas, 3 sliced garlic cloves, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger. Stir-fry for 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon each cayenne pepper and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in 1 bunch chopped spinach (about 6 cups) and heat until wilted. Stir in 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes and juice of 1/2 a lemon. Heat for 30 seconds. Serve topped with a dollop of plain yogurt.
Chicken Fajita Stir-Fry
The chicken breast in this Latin-inspired dish delivers lean, muscle-friendly protein and niacin, a B vitamin. "Niacin is involved in processing glycogen, which is the main fuel for exercise," says Scritchfield. Topping the fajitas with creamy avocado delivers a dose of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
Stir It Up: In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Set aside. Heat wok over medium-high h
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (1147g)|
|Recipe Makes: 4 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 622 (67%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 69.1g||92 %|
|Saturated Fat 9g||45 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 18.8g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 37.4g|
|Cholesterol 0mg||0 %|
|Sodium 323.8mg||11 %|
|Potassium 1057.6mg||28 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 74.2g||22 %|
|Dietary Fiber 14.2g||57 %|
|Sugars, other 60g|
|Protein 11.6g||17 %|
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Disclaimer: Nutrition facts are derived from linked ingredients (shown at left in colored bullets) and may or may not be complete. Always consult a licensed nutritionist or doctor if you have a nutrition-related medical condition.
Calories per serving: 933
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