Weeknight Winners: 5 Meals For Tough Workout Weeks

These five recipes make great meals to refuel your body during weeks of intense cardio exercise.

These five quick-and-easy weeknight recipes keep your busy schedule in mind while also packing in energy-boosting ingredients.

Monday: Ginger-Lemongrass Turkey Lettuce Cups

Ginger is known to decrease inflammation, muscle pain and soreness, aid in digestion and help fight infection, all integral parts of recovery between workouts. When you recover smarter, you will renew your energy faster and be more prepared for the next training session.


Heat a small amount of oil of choice (coconut oil rocks in this recipe) in a large skillet. Add 1 diced shallot and 2 diced carrots, season with salt and pepper, and sauté 5 minutes. Add 1 16-ounce package 93% lean ground turkey and cook until browned, about 10 minutes, breaking apart with a wooden spoon. Stir in 1 tablespoon fresh ginger puree, 1 tablespoon fresh lemongrass puree (found in squeeze bottles next to the herbs in your grocer’s produce section), 1 tablespoon honey and ½ tablespoon Sriracha during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup finely diced jicama, 1 cup cooked quinoa and ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro. Serve in butter or romaine lettuce cups.

Tuesday: Mighty Beat Bowl

Beets and chard are two of the most nutrient-dense foods to incorporate into your weekly nutrition plan. Both provide anti-inflammatory and detoxification support, and mighty doses of vitamins A, C and K. Red beets contain nitrates, shown to improve blood flow to the brain and muscles, and energize you. Steam beets before cooking to save time, or check your specialty grocer for pre-steamed beets in the produce section or salad bar.


Over medium heat on a grill or grill pan cook 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5–6 ounces each, seasoned with salt and pepper), about 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing. In a large bowl, toss together 8 heaping cups chopped fresh chard (any type), 1 cup, each, red and golden beets (steamed and diced), 2 cups cooked farro (or barley or wild rice), ¼ cup julienned fresh basil and ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds. Divide these ingredients into four bowls or storage containers (for leftovers), and top each with one sliced chicken breast and ¼ avocado. Drizzle with goddess or tahini dressing before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday: Kale Power Salad

This salad is loaded with nutrient-rich ingredients such as marinated kale, toasty almonds and sweet pomegranate seeds. Pile your plate high with this nourishing meal to power up for all of your training. You can substitute any of the veggies in this recipe with veggies you have on hand that need to be used, or you can customize it by adding more veggies, seeds, nuts or avocado.


Zest 3 limes and 3 oranges into a bowl. Combine the juice with ¼ cup olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss 6 packed cups (6 ounces) chopped kale into this dressing until well coated. Let marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes, or up to overnight. In another large bowl, toss 2 cups cooked quinoa, ⅔ cup shredded carrots, ⅔ cup diced cucumber, ½ cup diced bell pepper (any color), ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds, ½ cup whole toasted almonds and ¼ cup chopped fresh mint. Once the kale has marinated, add veggie and quinoa mixture to the bowl with the kale, and toss until everything is evenly combined and well coated with the dressing.

Thursday: Almond-Chia Overnight Oats

Having a breakfast with whole grains and protein will keep blood-sugar levels stable in the morning, preventing an energy crash. Overnight oats are an easy way to have a grab-and-go option for your busy schedule. Almonds are also loaded with healthy fats, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, iron, protein and fiber.


In a bowl, whisk together 1½ cups almond milk, ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, ¼ cup almond butter, ¼ cup maple syrup, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir in 1 cup rolled oats until thoroughly combined. Separate into four mason jars or cups and let sit in the fridge overnight. Top with chopped almonds, bananas or fruit of choice.

Friday: Blueberry Salmon

Salmon contains essential omega-3s, which help decrease inflammation and strengthen joints, and blueberries are potent antioxidants that specifically strengthen the cardiovascular system. This recipe will renew you.


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat a large oven-safe skillet over high heat. Season 4 salmon filets (5–6 ounces each, skin on) with salt and pepper. Place salmon filets, skin side up, in the skillet and sear for 1 minute. Flip salmon over and place in oven for 5–8 minutes, until salmon is just underdone in the middle (timing depends on thickness of filets). Remove from oven and place salmon on a plate (the salmon will continue to cook through; this method prevents overcooking). While salmon is cooking, place another skillet over medium heat. Add 1 pint rinsed blueberries, ¼ cup red wine (pinot noir recommended), juice of 1 large lemon, juice of 1 large orange and a pinch of sea salt to the skillet. Let cook down, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has absorbed and the mixture is slightly thick. Spoon an equal amount of blueberry sauce over each of the salmon filets before serving.


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