Real food, real fast for runners in 'Meals on the Run' (recipes) - Metro US

Real food, real fast for runners in ‘Meals on the Run’ (recipes)

It’s already tough enough to make time for running, but it’s not even in question forthose who lace up before the sun rises or manage to get on the track for a few miles after working late.

Runners are a diverse bunch, since all you need is a pair of shoes to get started. But they all have one thing in common (along with the rest of us): limited time.

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Runner’s World magazine knows thathealthy habits don’t end with the trail,and that’s why it created the new cookbook,Meals on the Run.All of the over150 energy-packed recipescan be prepared in 30 minutes or less and are specifically geared to fuelrunners’bodies from start to recovery.

We’ve gotthree recipes to get you started.

The secret behind getting these “baked” apples on the table fast? Cooking them in the microwave, which quickly steams the fruit until perfectly tender.

2 large crisp apples, such as Gala, halved and cored
2 tbsp chopped dried tart cherries
1 tbsp packed light brown sugar
1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄8 tsp ground nutmeg
4 tsp butter
1⁄2 cup granola

Use a spoon or melon baller to core the halved apples. In a microwavable dish, arrange the apple halves cut side up. Top each apple half evenly with the tart cherries and brown sugar. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Dot evenly with the butter.

Cover the apples with a microwavable dome lid. Microwave on high for about 4 minutes, or until the apples are tender. Transfer the apples to serving bowls and sprinkle each apple half evenly with the granola.

Drizzle any juices remaining in the cooking dish over the top. Top the finished dish with a dollop of yogurt for a protein and calcium boost. Makes 4 servings.

Runner’s World contributing food writer Mark Bittman refuels after a morning run with this healthy makeover of your favorite toaster pastry. “Inspired by Pop-Tarts, these toasted pita pizzas topped with fresh berry jam are better for you and almost as simple,” says Bittman. Strawberries are a rich source of antioxidants that reduce inflammation and repair muscle damage. Taste the fruit — if the berries are very sweet, you don’t need to add sugar.

4 large whole wheat pitas (8 inches)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup warm water
2 tbsp turbinado sugar (optional)
2 cups strawberries or other berries, chopped
1⁄2 cup chopped unsalted pistachios

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Brush the tops of the pitas with the oil and spread them out on a large baking sheet.

Measure the water into a medium saucepan and whisk in the sugar (if using). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the strawberries and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, mashing and stirring until the fruit softens. Drain well (reserve the liquid for another use, such as smoothies).

Spread the strawberry jam on the pitas and sprinkle with the pistachios. Press the nuts into the jam a bit so they don’t burn. Bake the pitas for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the pitas brown around the edges and the nuts turn golden. Cut each pita into quarters and serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.

This new take on falafel combines sweet potatoes and black beans instead of using more traditional chickpeas. The resulting patties are packed with flavor, as well as carbs, protein, beta-carotene, and fiber. If you have a little extra time, instead of microwaving the potatoes, you can peel and chop them and then steam or boil in water until tender (about 5 minutes). Along with the falafel and tahini sauce, stuff the pitas with your favorite toppings, including cucumber slices, lettuce, tomato, and red onion.

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total)
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
2⁄3 cup toasted wheat germ
1⁄2 cup chopped red onion
1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp ground cumin
1⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Tahini sauce
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp water
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
4 large whole wheat pitas (6 to 8 inches)

For the falafel: Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork, then set on a paper towel and microwave on high for 6 minutes, or until tender.

When cool enough to handle, halve the sweet potatoes and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add the beans and mash together with a fork. Mix in the wheat germ, onion, walnuts, mustard, cumin, salt and pepper until well combined.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Use a tablespoon to shape the sweet potato mixture into 16 patties (each about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide) and set the falafel patties on a plate. Add half of the falafel to the hot skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until they form a crispy, golden crust. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and falafel patties.

Make the tahini sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the tahini, water, and lemon juice.

With the tip of a knife, cut an opening in one side of each pita. Divide the falafel among the pitas and drizzle with the tahini sauce. Makes 4 servings.

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