Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



10 Fueling Ideas That Aren’t Pasta, Bagels Or Potatoes

These 10 ideas will help you get enough carbs into your healthy pre-race meals.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

meal ideas

*Courtesy of Dashing In Style

I’ve talked before about how I’m following the Racing Weight nutrition guidelines for endurance training. The gist of Racing Weight is that the more your training volume increases (in hours, not distance), the more carbs you need. The book presents tons of studies and research to back this up, but what’s most important for me is how it works for me. When I followed the guidelines in my last training cycle using the Hansons’ method, when I was running much more than I ever had before, I found that the focus on carbs had me feeling very strong for all my workouts. And when I was running the most and eating the most carbs, I was at my lowest weight all year.

And yet, the amount of carbs the book recommends are pretty crazy. Even though I tried, I never was able to hit the amount of carbs the book called for, but I think just increasing my carb intake was enough. Here’s the chart from the book on how many carbs you should eat based on your training volume.


I’m currently running 8 hours a week, which means I should eat 471-543 grams of carbs a day! In this last training cycle, I was driving myself crazy with trying to get close to that. With such a focus on carbs, I found I just didn’t have room for all the veggies I usually eat, which made me sad. And I got soooo sick of whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and baked potatoes.

I’m following the same guidelines now but this time I’ve put a lot more thought into it. One of the things I want to do better this year is try more new recipes since I tend to eat the same things, so I’m excited to try new things that will help me get close to my carb guidelines. Here are some recipes and meal ideas I’ve found that use Racing Weight‘s recommendations for high-quality complex carbs (whole wheat pasta, bread, cereal, whole grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomato sauce, lentils).

1. Smoothies
One of my big Black Friday purchases was a Ninja, and wow is it awesome! I was debating between the Ninja and the much more expensive Vita-Mix and am really happy I got the Ninja. Time will tell whether it’s as durable as the Vita-Mix, but it’s by far the best blender/food processor I’ve ever tried. Trying to make a green smoothie with a crappy blender just doesn’t cut it…chewing kale when you’re trying to drink a peanut butter flavored drink is pretty bad. The Ninja is awesome at making smoothies, pureeing frozen fruit and greens quickly and easily. I’ve started to drink smoothies as a post-run snack. I usually use some combination of bananas, frozen berries or other fruit, flax seed, oats, soy or almond milk, and sometimes peanut butter and dates. These smoothies are high carb (usually about 60 grams) with a little protein from the soy milk or peanut butter, which is exactly what’s best to consume post-workout. My favorite smoothie I’ve been making is the following that I found from The Minimalist Baker. It’s a green smoothie, so I can get two cups of leafy greens in with the carbs and protein. If you’ve never tried a green smoothie, this is the one to try–all you can taste is peanut butter creamy goodness!

1 banana, sliced
1/2 cup frozen blueberries or mixed berries
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 cup fresh organic spinach
1 cup fresh organic mixed leafy greens (I use a blend called power greens; or, just use more spinach)
1/2 cup almond or soy milk

2. Deconstructed Pierogies
My family is from the part of the world that was Slovakia/Czechoslovakia/Ukraine (it has changed names so many times that my family is never sure where to say they’re from), so they make pierogies a lot. They taught me how to make potato and sauerkraut pierogies (you actually have to cook the sauerkraut, which I didn’t know!). But because actually making pierogies is a pain in the ass, I’ve just been making the filling and eating it in a bowl topped with browned onions. If you must have your pierogie in pasta, a quicker way to make them is to use won-ton wrappers (though they aren’t vegan).

3. Baked Leek and Sweet Potato Gratin
I found this recipe on Vegetarian Times, and it’s on my list to make.

4. Indian Samosa Casserole
A big casserole dish that’s a samosa?! Yes, please! This recipe from Vegetarian Times is also on my list to make.

5. Veggie and Brown Rice Wraps
When I’m short on time, nothing is better than a wrap. I saute whatever veggies I have on hand–usually zucchini, mushrooms, red onions, and spinach–in a bit of cooking spray and add them along with brown rice, salsa, and avocado to a whole-wheat wrap.

6. Spanikorizo
A greek rice dish, Spanikorizo has tons of spinach in it and is really easy to make. The recipe I use is from a cookbook and not online, but here’s one that’s close (I use brown rice instead of white rice).

7. Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits
Not a meal, but these are great to serve with meals. They’re easy to make and delicious. There are a bunch of recipes out there, but I use this vegan one from the book Appetite for Reduction.

8. Warm Barley Salad with Baked Tofu
This warm grain salad sounds perfect for winter. This recipe from Vegetarian Times is also on my list to make.

9. Yukon Gold and Baby Spinach Masala
Another recipe from Vegetarian Times that’s on my list to try!

10. Lentils…All the Lentils
I have so many lentil recipes to share that I’ll be doing a separate post. Lentils are pretty much my favorite food, and I eat them a ton of different ways. One of the easiest ways to eat them is to mash them up and use them in place of ground meat–seasoned with taco seasoning for tacos, in pasta sauce, etc. I love lentil and brown rice soup this time of year, and there are a lot of different recipes out there–here’s one that can be easily be made veg by using veg broth in place of chicken broth.

I’m excited to try these recipes and will post a follow-up if I find a new favorite!