Bookworm: Don't forget the value behind cookbooks

Kathleen Duncan

Oct. 16, 2013 at 5:16 a.m.

   Blaine Hefner for The Victoria Advocate

Recently, I've gotten out of the habit of eating running food, and unfortunately, I have been eating more regular food. As any runner knows, what you put into your body makes a big difference on whether you can run three miles or eight miles without collapsing.

If you're tired and in a sugar coma, you're more likely to nap on the grass instead of running that 10 miles you had scheduled for training.

Admittedly, I'm not a big fan of cookbooks. Recipes online help me shop in the store with a tap or two on my iPhone. But since I'm starting to train again for a half marathon in January, I've got to get back into the right eating mode for long-distance running.

After scouring the shelves of the many cookbook choices, I think anyone who wants to eat healthier, run better or just change their routine a bit will enjoy "The Runner's World Cookbook."

Last night, I made their hearty whole grain muffins. It takes about 30 minutes. The main ingredients are wheat flour, oat flour, oat bran, flaxseed, a little brown sugar, milk, unsweetened applesauce, nuts and fruit - all of which I found at H-E-B Plus.

It's quite healthy, easy to put together and good running fuel so you can chow down before hitting the park or the trail.

One of my favorite parts of this cookbook is that each recipe is labeled with specific categories like "pre-run," "vegetarian," "low-calorie," "fast" or "recovery."

When you're flipping through the chapters, you can find that snack you want to eat before your long run or that hearty meal to recover afterward.

If you're looking to eat healthier, the low-calorie options are great, and the fast recipes average around 10 minutes to throw together.

For dinner, I made the roast beef pita with cucumber-yogurt sauce because I was already baking my hearty muffins and didn't want to get too crazy. It's a pretty simple concoction made of lean roast beef, some plain yogurt with dill, cucumbers and delicious hummus. It's filling and tasty with your necessary carbs, protein and fiber.

"The Runner's World Cookbook" is a great option for anyone, novice or home chef, who wishes to try eating healthier, running farther or just needs some great recipes to accent their new workout routine. So far, everything has tasted great and has been easy to put together, which is always the main challenge with cookbooks.

For those with a sweet tooth or three, there is even a dessert chapter full of healthy, low-calorie choices. Roasted pink grapefruit with honey yogurt, marinated peaches, strawberry shortcake and chocolate-berry crisp are a few options. Most of these recipes are 100 to 300 calories per a serving, so they won't kill your diet but will still satisfy your cravings.

While I'm lacing up my running shoes tonight and hitting the road, I know I'll be thinking about my next recipe of choice.

I've got my eye on the maple-pumpkin pie smoothie. It's made with soy milk, pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon and peanut butter. After a long run, I don't think it can get any better than that.



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