BY JEN LAHEY
Can’t Miss Chicken Stir-Fry
By Jennifer Sygo, M.Sc., RD Chicken Protein-packed! As a runner, you need more protein than non-runners and just 4 ounces of it gives you half your daily requirements.
iRun for the health
Brown Rice Rich in vitamins and minerals, this rich carb choice gives you energy to burn!
of my mind, body and spirit. — Jen Lahey
Build the ideal recovery meal
Red Peppers A great source of Vitamin C and fibre!
Ready in minutes, there’s even enough for post-run left overs!
he stir-fry dinner is loved for its seemingly endless versatility and quick prep time. But did you know that this simple-yet-elegant combo of crisp veggies, savoury protein and satisfying carbohydrates is also a just-about-perfect recovery meal? According to Jennifer Sygo, registered dietician and sports nutritionist with the Cleveland Clinic of Canada, a stir-fry dinner really is a runners’ go-to meal with the all the musthave components you need for post-run recovery. Building it in steps is the key to quick and easy prep time, says Sygo. Start with protein – chicken, beef, shrimp, tofu – then add vegetables and rice or quinoa. “It’s that simple,” she says.
Build ‘em up!
Protein is key to muscle recovery, says Sygo, because when you run (or do any strenuous workout), you create “micro-tears” in the muscles, which are “important for getting
your muscles stronger and more fit. As your muscles strengthen after that … workout, you become stronger. You can accelerate that recovery and improve the health of muscles by giving them amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. So by feeding the body protein after a damaging workout, you give them a better shot at being prepared for the next workout,” explains Sygo. Replenishing your carbohydrates is another piece of the recovery puzzle, she says. “If you’re not doing a good enough job replenishing carbohydrate [from one workout to another] you may not even have two hours [of stored glycogen] worth for a workout. You may only have an hour’s worth because you haven’t been recovering properly,” says Sygo. And according to Sygo, those basic components mean that a stir-fry is an ideal recovery meal for runners, “because of the fact that you’re hitting on the two key
Broccoli Loaded with potassium, it helps with muscle recovery!
components that you’re looking for in recovery, which is a protein source, and carbohydrates,” says Sygo. “Specifically, numerically, about 20 grams of protein, which is a little less than the palm of a hand. You don’t need a huge amount of protein in recovery, but you do need a good dose of it. And so you have that, and then you want some carbohydrates, and the longer the run, and the sooner you’re going to be training again, and the more intense your training is overall, the more carbohydrates that you need overall. If it’s a light workout, or you’re not going to be training for a few days, you might be ok just sticking with vegetables [for your carbohydrate source].” Continues on next page
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2013 ISSUE 06
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Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Makes: 6 servings 2 x 5 ounce (~140 gram) skinless, boneless chicken breasts 1 cup uncooked brown rice 1/2 green pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces 1/2 red pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces 1/2 cup baby carrots, cut length-wise 1/2 large sweet onion, cut into 1” wide segments 1/2 head broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets (about 1 cup) 1/3 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets (about 1 cup) 4-5 button mushrooms, sliced 1 cup snow or snap peas 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 Tbsp. olive oil 2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce 1 tsp. honey Dash of hot sauce or red pepper flakes 1/2 tsp. corn starch Salt and pepper to taste In a medium saucepan, cook brown rice according to instructions Slice the uncooked chicken into long, thin slices. In a large skillet or wok, heat the chicken over medium heat, turning regularly, until just cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Add olive oil to pan, and over medium-high heat, stir-fry garlic, broccoli, and cauliflower for 3-4 minutes, until just starting to soften. Add onions, peppers, mushrooms, and snap peas, and stir-fry until vegetables are tender, about 5-8 minutes. Add soy sauce, honey, hot sauce or red peppers, corn starch, salt and pepper, and adjust seasonings to taste, if desired. Add chicken back and stir-fry until warm, 1-2 minutes. Serve with cooked rice.
iRun to push my limits - Eva Thompson, Québec