Midday running makes sense for so many reasons. It’s an easy way to fit your training in, without having to get up at the break of dawn. It’s no secret that running (and cardio activity) boosts the production of endorphins which gives us that post-run, feel-good vibe we can all benefit from in our work day. No matter the duration, studies have also shown that taking a fitness break (or two) throughout the workday helps combat the low-energy feeling which can up our sugar or caffeine cravings.
So, if you’re going to head out on more midday runs, you’ll need make sure you’re fueling the right way. We caught up with Charmaine Broughton cookbook author, Delicious & Doable: Recipes For Real and Everyday Life (2022), and avid runner, to find out her favourite tips for quick and easy meal planning and preparation. Plus, she shares three recipes that are perfect for midday or anytime you need an easy meal in minutes!
Stock up today for tomorrow, or next week
A well-stocked pantry is a must! Canned beans, lentils, pasta, rice, quinoa, canned tuna, clams, salmon, and nut butters are all economical pantry staples that are ideal for quick meal prep. As I have told my now adult children who live on their own: “You’re better to have it and need it, then need it and not have it.”
Make plans ahead of time
Prep your midday meals a day or two in advance. Nothing worse than scrambling in the morning trying to whip up lunch for you and your gang (believe me, I’ve been there!!). In most cases, this is when you’ll head out the door with no lunch in hand and end up heading for the vending machine/fast food come lunch. As most of us have learned the hard way, that’s no way to fuel for a post-work training run.
You don’t have to break the bank, or prep fancy and time-consuming lunches to fuel your body well. Chances are if you’re begrudging time-consuming and expensive meal prep, your intention won’t last long. Each of these recipes are nutritious, delicious, economical, simple to prepare (even for those who are not overly savvy in the kitchen) and will fuel you well for your spring and summer training.
Recipes by Charmaine Broughton
Spring Fling Quinoa Bowl
Quick, healthy and completely customizable, this quinoa bowl is a delicious vegetarian option. With crunchy flavours and a tangy Asian-inspired dressing, this one-bowl delight offers a tasty protein boost. Plus, leftovers are delicious the next day!
Recipe and photo courtesy of the Peanut Bureau of Canada.
- ½ cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 3 tbsp sweet Thai chili sauce
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1tbsp ginger, finely grated
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 4 mini Shanghai bok choy
- 6 asparagus, thin
- 1 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
- ½ cup carrots, coarsely grated
- 1 large radish, coarsely grated
- ¼ cup sprouts
- 2 tbsp peanuts, chopped
ONE: In a strainer, rinse quinoa under running water. Drain well. Place in a medium saucepan with water and salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer about 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Remove from heat then fluff with a fork.
TWO: Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir peanut butter with chili sauce, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil. Trim ends from bok choy, then slice each lengthwise into 4 pieces. Snap tough ends from asparagus, then slice asparagus diagonally into 2-inch pieces.
THREE: Heat peanut or vegetable oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add bok choy, asparagus and edamame. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes or just until tender, adding a couple of tablespoons water if vegetables begin to stick. Add about ⅔ of the peanut butter sauce and stir-fry for about 1 minute, or until hot.
FOUR: Divide quinoa into 2 or 3 bowls. Top with bok choy mixture, then sprinkle with carrots, radishes and sprouts. Drizzle with remaining peanut sauce and sprinkle with peanuts.
Makes six to eight servings.
Char’s Tex-Mex Rice Salad
This plant-based recipe can be made two days in advance which is ideal for pack-and-go lunches. Remember to toss well before serving.
CHEF TIP: Try using leftover chopped grilled chicken (or steak), or a drained can of tuna for added protein.
- ½ cup basmati rice
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 ripe avocados, diced
- 2 cups halved grape tomatoes
- ½ cup frozen corn, thawed
- ½ cup each: chopped fresh cilantro and chopped green onions
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- Finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander and chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
ONE: Cook rice according to package directions.
TWO: Cool and toss rice with remaining ingredients.
THREE: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Toss well before serving.
Makes about 6 cups (1.5 L)
Char’s 20-minute Seafood Chowder
In less than 30 minutes you can create this chowder which can be made a day or two in advance. Think of it as the perfect make-ahead protein-packed post-run dinner.
CHEF TIP: Try adding in ½ cup cooked wild rice or cooked quinoa before serving.
- 2 ½ cups fish or chicken stock, divided
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 small carrot, chopped
- ½ tsp each of dried thyme leaves and salt
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 jar clam juice
- 1 can whole baby clams, drained
- 1 lb. boneless skinless salmon, chopped in about 1.5-inch pieces
- 1 can water chestnuts, drained and roughly chopped (about 1 cup (250 mL)
- ¼ cup 35% whipping cream optional
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
- Garnish: smoked salmon, capers and additional chopped fresh dill
ONE: Whisk 1 cup stock with cornstarch and set aside. Heat butter in a Dutch oven (or large heavy pot) over medium heat; add onion and carrot and cook until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes.
TWO: Stir in thyme, salt, nutmeg, and cayenne.
THREE: Add remaining 1 ½ cups of stock and clam juice. Bring to a boil.
FOUR: Add reserved stock and cornstarch mixture (you will likely have to re-stir it as the cornstarch may clump at bottom), salmon, clams, and water chestnuts.
FIVE: Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes until salmon is cooked through.
SIX: Stir in cream (if using), lemon zest, garlic, and dill. Cook for an additional minute.
SEVEN: Remove from heat and serve. Garnish each portion with a piece of smoked salmon, a few capers and chopped fresh dill.
Makes about 6 cups
Charmaine Broughton is a cookbook author Delicious & Doable: Recipes For Real and Everyday Life (2022), host of In Char’s Kitchen, In Char’s Kitchen Fitness Edition, cooking instructor, avid runner and eater! Click here for more recipes.