This recipe is the perfect addition to a runner’s training program. It provides an excellent, nutritionally balanced meal complete with nutritious carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals and the all-important omega-3 fatty acids.
Firstly, nutritious carbohydrates are essential to provide the body with an easily-accessible energy source. Carbohydrates are the most readily available source of energy and help to supply our muscles with glycogen, critical for muscle recovery and replenishment. Carbohydrate containing foods such as sweet potato are also low GI, meaning that they are slowly broken down to glucose and do not cause a sharp increase in blood sugar levels, providing sustained energy.
The monounsaturated fats from olive oil and omega 3s from oily fish like salmon act to enhance the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and also provide essential fatty acids. The beta carotene (precursor to vitamin A) from the sweet potato acts as an antioxidant important for disease prevention and protection against free radicals. Salmon is also one of the few food sources that contain naturally-occurring Vitamin D, a common deficiency in Australia, particularly during Winter. The vitamin K from the broccolini and choy sum is important for blood health and also bone health, and has been shown to help in the prevention of fractures.
Omega-3 fatty-acids, such as those found in salmon, have also been shown to reduce inflammation. It is important for distance runners to keep inflammation as low as possible due the high training loads placed on the body. In addition to providing a healthy dose of fats, salmon is also a key source of protein. Good quality protein sources are needed for runners in order to replenish muscle tissue and ensure recovery after training sessions. It is recommended that oily fish such as salmon be included in your diet two to three times a week.
The sesame seeds are a good source of calcium even though the calcium from plant sources is not generally as well absorbed compared to dairy foods. Asian greens being the exception Calcium is essential for bone health, and is particularly important for distance runners due to the incidence of stress fractures and strain placed on joints during heavy training periods.
Seared Salmon fillet with sweet potato, broccolini & choy sum
4 x 150g fresh salmon fillets (skin on)
1 Tbls olive oil
1 large sweet potato
2 bunches broccolini (also known as baby broccoli)
1 bunch choy sum, cut into 8cm lengths
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
2 tsp sesame seeds
Salt & Pepper
Step 1: Peel and roughly dice sweet potato. Place in saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to boil and simmer until sweet potato is cooked (approx. 15-25 minutes).
Step 2: While sweet potato is cooking prepare broccolini - trim the end 2-3cm of broccolini, choy sum - cut into lengths and rinse to remove any dirt.
Step 3: Pat dry salmon fillets to remove excess moisture, season with salt and pepper. Place half the oil in a cold large frypan, lay salmon skin side down and place pan on medium-high heat. Leave salmon for 5-7 minutes or until it easily comes away from the pan (reduce heat if skin begins to darken too much). Before turning over fillet, sprinkle 1 tsp of sesame seeds on uncooked side of fillet, then gently flip over. Cook for further 2-4 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
Step 4: While salmon and sweet potato are cooking, lightly sauté broccolini and choy sum in remaining oil and sliced garlic. Pour into a strainer to allow excess water to drain off.
Step 5: Once sweet potato is cooked, drain water keeping some aside. Roughly mash and season to taste. If a little thick add some of the cooking water to thin until the desired consistency.
Step 6: To serve- evenly divide sweet potato onto plates, divide choy sum and broccolini, sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds then lay salmon fillet over sweet potato. Add a wedge of lemon and serve.
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