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I’m training for Ironman…you expect me to cook too?!

Healthy eating can be daunting for a triathlete. It’s easier to eat well at home than in a restaurant. Yet we’re already squeezing in hours of swimbikerun and strength training around work and family; we’re supposed to sleep eight hours a night; when are we supposed to shop and cook? A few tips:

Cook for multiple meals at once. Making a big batch means you can savor your cooking efforts for days (or at least several meals over one day). This is easy for stews, stir fry, quinoa salads, etc. but you can also freeze soups and baked goods. A friend and triathlon veteran grills chicken Sunday nights and builds salads for each weekday lunch in individual Tupperwares; then he just throws one in his commuter bag each morning. Convenient, and cheaper than Sweetgreen!

Keep healthy staples on hand. It’s much easier to cook if you don’t have to run out to the store every few days. I keep on hand quinoa, pasta sauce, oatmeal, bell peppers, onions, frozen veggies & berries, beans, frozen farm-raised beef, eggs, coconut or almond milk, key spices, apples & bananas, and some healthy frozen meals and sauces to cut corners on busy nights.

Step back from recipes. Recipes can really inspire creativity, but most do require time and specific ingredients. Try flexible meals that don’t demand specific ingredients, like stir fry. We often mix quinoa with whatever veggies and beans we have plus a flavorful sauce or our own spice blend. Don’t get too complicated—the right spices, quality meat, and fresh veggies go a long way on their own. Extra virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon, and red pepper flakes work on so many veggies and types of fish.

Trader Joe’s is your friend! Trader Joe’s carries tons of whole foods for healthy meals as well as frozen dishes and sauces that can make tasty meal prep easy. Try the Indian shelf-stable packages—Madras Lentil and Punjab Choley are awesome and flavorful enough to add veggies and quinoa to for a full meal. With lots of $2 items (including these Indian mixes), it’s very affordable!

Happy cooking!

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About Dawn

Dawn is a top tier Age Group triathlete, long-time swim instructor, and soon to be a USAT Level I Certified Triathlon Coach. Dawn has raced 16 triathlons, including four half Ironmans; more than 35 road and trail races; open water swims and endurance ride events. She is a member of Ignite Endurance.

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