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No.1 Meal for runners - Chicken Burritos

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Recovering post event – The Mexican Way - Chicken Burritos

After months of training for your event, the big day finally arrived! Whether you ran a new personal best, or struggled a little more than you thought, your body will have been put through its paces and you’re probably feeling a little sore. Muscle degradation and local trauma can cause discomfort and weakness for a few days post-run, so it’s important to give yourself the rest and recovery that you need so you can jump straight back into it next week and ready to sign up for the next race!

Protein is the major macronutrient responsible for muscle repair and regeneration. When we exercise and train hard, our muscles fibres are breaking down, meaning that we need to consume protein to help build them back up again. With endurance exercise also, our body’s carbohydrate stores will be diminished, so we need to restore them too. Timing is crucial here in order to maximise your recovery.

As soon as you finish your run, your main priority will be to rehydrate, so grab a bottle of water or electrolyte drink as soon as you can. The next step is to replenish your carbohydrate or glycogen stores. Whilst you may not feel like you have much of an appetite, try and have something small at least. Muscle glycogen resynthesis is most efficient soon after exercise, ideally within two hours of finishing. Research has shown that a meal combining protein and carbohydrates is best to aid in muscle recovery. Our recipe today incorporates all of this into a delicious Mexican feast.

Mexican food can be an excellent way to incorporate complex carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats and dairy into your meal. Make sure you use wholegrain tortillas rather than white to increase your fibre intake. Then use your imagination with toppings: load up on colourful vegetables such as lettuce, tomato and carrot; the greater variety of colour in your veggies means more antioxidants to help reduce inflammation post-run. Beans, quinoa and lean chicken are added to round out your protein. Quinoa is a complete plant-protein containing all the essential amino acids our body needs. Beans are another protein source high in dietary fibre and minerals, and lean chicken mince is also high in good quality protein and low in saturated fat.

Reduced fat shredded cheese can also provide a good protein boost as well as providing your body with calcium. Avocado is also a delicious addition to your meal providing healthy mono-unsaturated fats. Energy dense foods such as avocado and cheese will help your body regain the energy that was expended during your run. If you don’t replenish your body sufficiently, you will find that it takes longer to recover.

The post-race period is a day to celebrate and reward yourself for your hard efforts and accomplishments. Remember to eat mindfully and take some time to enjoy your food. Mexican food is always a family favourite and is a great option for the group to enjoy, so why not get everyone involved for an even better day!

Chicken Burrito Feast (serves 6)

Burrito Mix

* 2 tsp Olive Oil

* 1 medium Brown Onion, finely diced

* 2 cloves Garlic, crushed

* 2 tsp fresh Ginger, grated

* 500g Free Range chicken mince

* 1 medium Carrot, grated

* 100g Tomato paste

* ¾ cup Frozen Peas

* ¾ cup Frozen Corn kernels

* 1 x 400g can of 4 Bean mix, drained

* 3 tsp Ground Cumin

* 2 tsp Sweet Paprika

* 1tsp Ground Fenugreek (can be substituted for Ground Fennel Seeds)

* 2 tsp Dried Oregano

* Pinch Chilli Powder or to taste

* Salt & Pepper, to taste

Filling

* 6 Wholemeal Tortilla wraps

* 1½ cups cooked Quinoa

* 1 head Baby Cos lettuce, shredded

* 1 Tomato, diced

* 1 Avocado, diced (squeeze some lemon over to help prevent browning)

* 100g Shredded Cheese

* ½ Red Onion, finely diced

* ½ cup Light Sour Cream

Cooking directions

Step 1 Heat oil in large saucepan and sauté onion and garlic until lightly golden.

Step 2 Add cumin, paprika, fenugreek, oregano and chilli, stir until aroma of spices is released then add chicken mince and brown.

Step 3 Add tomato paste and 4 bean mix. Add 1 Tbls of water, bring to boil and reduce heat for 5 minutes.

Step 4 Add peas, corn, carrot and season with salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for a further 5-10 minutes.

Step 5 Once burrito filling is ready, gently heat the tortilla wraps (this softens the wrap and makes it easier to wrap up the burrito).

Step 6 To assemble burrito wrap- lay wrap on a plate, add 2-3 spoonfuls of the Chicken Burrito filling, add 1-2 spoons of cooked quinoa, a sprinkle of cheese, tomato, onion, avocado, sour cream and lettuce on top of Chicken filling. Fold up and enjoy!

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