Menu Planning for Ironman Training

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After my first week of swimming for Ironman training (coupled with marathon training), I realized I needed to make some major changes with my daily routine.  One area I knew I needed to focus on was my family’s meals – especially dinner.  They had become boring, sometimes very unhealthy, and often lacking in the nutrition that I would need to swim + bike + run.

The last two weeks I have been meal / menu planning throughout the week for our weekend supermarket trip.  I’ve tried to include 2-3 new recipes each week while also ensuring a few are crockpot recipes.  I have found that trying to cook past 5pm is often difficult with the two little ones – they are much more self-entertained in the early afternoon hours.

Some of these recipes have come from cookbooks, websites, blogs (check out The Lean Green Bean and Making Good Choices for some yummy recipes), Instagram photos…

I’ve been posting some of the dinners on Instagram and have been asked to share the recipes.  Let me preface this all by saying a few things:

  • I do not consider myself a foodie  
  • This is one of the few times I will put recipes on my blog (it will still be mostly focused on running) =)
  • I love cooking – but I’m not one to experiment with recipes.  I’m more of a let me find a good recipe and follow it type of girl.  
  • The meals are not gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo, etc.  I don’t follow any sort of diet or have any food restrictions – I eat almost anything (sans pork and veal) and follow the everything in moderation diet. 
  • I consider them to be pretty healthy recipes since they aren’t deep fried or soaked in butter
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Braised Garlic Chicken (crockpot) (adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking Cookbook)

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken (2-4 lb) cut into pieces
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 heads garlic, separated into cloves (recipe calls for unpeeled but I peel them)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (chardonney or sauvignon blanc)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

Preparation

Season chicken w/ salt and pepper. In large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil. Add chicken and cook (may need to work in batches), turning frequently, until well browned 7-10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat in pan. Add garlic cloves and saute over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan with a wooden spoon.

Transfer chicken to slow cooker. Sprinkle with thyme and add the garlic mixture.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender, about 3 hours on low-heat setting.

Optional: You can strain the juices from the crockpot + press on garlic cloves to extract as much liquid as possible.  Simmer over medium-high heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup (Recipe from my sister, Danielle – she makes some really yummy meals and posts some of the pictures on her IG account – you should follow her!)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of corn kernels, drained
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • About three quarters pound/1 pound of chicken
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1 cup water
  • Rice (brown or white)
  • Few dashes of Tobasco sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 24 ounces fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup crushed baked tortilla chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

Preparation

Cook rice and set aside in a bowl.  (The amount of rice is your preference, as it just adds texture to the dish.  You’ll put the rice in your soup bowls and simply ladle the soup over it once ready to eat – I use 1 cup of dry rice)

Season chicken cutlets with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and grill on a non-stick pan, until cooked through.  After cooked, set aside.  Going piece by piece, you’ll want to dice/shred the chicken into bite-size pieces.

In a separate bowl, empty the can of Stewed Tomatoes, and cut up the chunks of tomatoes into smaller pieces, keeping all the juices with it.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add canola oil. Add onion, celery and garlic. Cook for 4 minutes, or until tender and becoming translucent. Stir in flour over low heat 1 tablespoon at a time so that it doesn’t get stuck to bottom of pan. Add corn, beans and chicken, stirring all together.  Add chile powder; stir well. Add water, salt, chicken broth, and stewed tomatoes; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add a few dashes of Tobasco sauce – to taste – or another dash of chile powder to taste.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls filled with a quarter/half of rice.  Top each with tortilla chips and cilantro, a dash of shredded cheese and a squeeze of lime juice to taste.

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Southwestern salad (I love this salad from a local restaurant and on a whim one night, decided to throw some ingredients together – my husband and I were both surprised at how good it tasted!)

 

Ingredients

  • Romaine Lettuce (I plan to use some spinach next time – didn’t have any in house)
  • Can of corn – drained
  • Can of black beans – drained and rinsed
  • Avocado – chopped
  • Sliced Almonds
  • Grilled chicken (1/2 – 3/4 lb)
  • Olive Oil
  • Ranch Dressing (small amount for flavor)

Preparation

Season chicken cutlets with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and grill on a non-stick pan, until cooked through.  After cooked, set aside.  Going piece by piece, you’ll want to dice/shred the chicken into bite-size pieces.

Warm / cook the corn and black beans on low flame (I cooked them both at the same time).

Combine the lettuce, avocado, corn, black beans, chicken and almonds in large bowl.  Add salt, pepper, touch of olive oil and ranch dressing.

Do you menu plan? 

Any good websites for yummy, easy, healthy recipes? 

What did you eat for dinner last night? 

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    23 thoughts on “Menu Planning for Ironman Training

    1. Never commented here before, and I know this is way late on this post, but I love following along with your adventures- you’re such an inspiration! I have a hard enough time fitting in my workouts (currently training for my first half!) around my job and my side business- and I’m single with no kids! Go you!

      I have a couple of awesome, healthy, fairly easy recipes- one of which is a relative’s famous taco soup that I make in the crockpot. I’d be happy to email you a few of my favorite recipes- I know you’re done with your Ironman training, but I always love finding new recipes to add into the rotation :)

    2. My favorite website for slow cooker recipes is crockpot365.blogspot.com. I like almost everything of hers I’ve ever made. I use the crockpot at least twice a week it’s so much easier to make dinner at 10 am than in the evening. My meal planning is sporadic but life always runs more smoothly when I have a plan (including after school snacks-that’s critical) even if I deviate from it because of circumstances that pop up.

    3. These look super yummy! And I have to check out that Williams and Sonoma crockpot cookbook. I’ve got some standby crockpot recipes but I need some new ideas:) I agree, trying to throw together dinner after 5pm with two kids and no plan is a recipe for disaster! Meal planning is essential:)
      Sarah @RunFarGirl recently posted..I Wish I Hadn’t Run During PregnancyMy Profile

    4. This was the first week that I actually menu planned and I also prepped food over the weekend. I’m SO glad that I did because it’s made this hectic week a little smoother. I admit that I have a hard time menu planning because sometimes I just don’t feel like having what I planned and I just want scrambled eggs. But it is nice to have an idea of what’s for dinner without going into a panic. These look delicious!
      Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Friday Round-Up: Fueling the SoulMy Profile

    5. That chicken is RIGHT UP GiGi Alley! 😉

      Last night I went to TOP CHEF CONTESTANT STEFAN’S restaurant! Not sure if you watch TOP CHEF or not, but HOLY HELL the food was scrumptious and Stefan was there… And well, yeah, he asked me OUT! LMFAOOO!! Oh and TOP CHEF Finale was on last night too so it was all kind of cool! :) By far the best part of dinner though were the BRUSSELS SPROUTS! They tasted like POP CORN! YUM!!
      GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted..And The Binge Eating Award Goes To…My Profile

    6. i love that you are making more effort in the kitchen, it all sounds amazing! and ironman meal planning, yes, been there, and I LOVE IT!

    7. I do try to meal plan, some weeks are good others not so… I also try for at least one slow cooker meal, along with a leftover day.

      Another idea is to spend a few concentrated hours on the weekends doing prep for freezer meals. Before I had my second daughter I stocked up my freezer with some casseroles, and still have a few that I can pull out if I have a busy day. You should check out my friend Kelly’s recipe book on freezer/slowcooker meals – http://www.newleafwellness.biz/

      The hardest part for me has been going from grabbing a few items at the store almost daily, do trying to shop once a week. It’s so much harder to run to the store when I have to pack everyone up to go…
      Terry recently posted..Injury ProofMy Profile

    8. These are some great recipes (and I’m so glad to get that Instagram recipe!) that are right up my cooking alley. We sound exactly alike when it comes to cooking!

      The biggest thing I remember about eating when IM training was the quantity–you’ll reach a point where you are hungry all the time! The hard part was bringing that quantity back down after!
      misszippy1 recently posted..Pull back the curtainMy Profile

    9. Ooh, these both sound so yummy! It’s so easy to eat whatever and whenever when you’re training for an endurance event, because you need so many extra calories. I love that you’re focusing on getting more nutrition from your meals- it will pay off in your training, too!
      Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..Why I Run: No ExcusesMy Profile

    10. I have a hard time cooking past 5pm, and I don’t have two little people under foot! I don’t usually meal plan, but I may start since it seems helpful for busy weeknights. Last night’s dinner was roasted pork and mashed potatoes. A little more involved than a typical weeknight dinner (the potatoes were prepped in the morning while the meat cooked and just needed to be boiled and mashed last night while reheating the meat), but it was delicious!
      Maureen recently posted..Light at the End of the TunnelMy Profile