I'd rather stick to plant-based sources of protein and iron, but my desire to regain energy and strength and fuel in a manner that best supports my training outweighs my desire to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet at the moment. I am trying to keep an open mind and stay flexible in making dietary adjustments as they come in regards to optimally fueling my body for performance. So if right now that means adding a few steaks to my weekly routine, then so be it! The other major perk off adding some meat back into my diet? Meals and dishes that I know WON'T magically disappear from the fridge (i.e. be consumed by my hubby)
Iron-ically (hehe), this post is suppose to be about fresh produce, not beef. BUT, I like to think my latest recipe strikes a nice balance in meeting my dietary needs in that it's both high in protein and iron, but also incorporates plenty of garden-fresh produce. In fact, I was able to attain all the veggies for this marinara sauce from either my garden or the local farmer's market.
“With produce galore, now’s a great time to enjoy lots of fruits and vegetables. Show us how you’re serving the bounty of gardens and orchards in shapes like ribbons, noodles, cut-outs or other creative cuts.”
What this recipe does NOT incorporate is creative cuts with that produce (ooops). Does it count if I had FUN while cutting the veggies? Because for some odd reason chopping veggies is one of my favorite activities (outside of swimming, biking and running, of course). Anyway, my goal for this recipe was to take a jar of simple marinara sauce and 'beef' it up with added flavor and nutrients. I added ground bison for protein and iron, and onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes and shiitake mushroom to boost the overall veggie and vitamin-mineral content.
1 jar marina sauce of choice
1/2 medium red or white onion, finely diced
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 large tomato, seeds removed, roughly chopped
1 large bell pepper, diced small
1 large zuchinni or squash, diced small
5oz shitake mushrooms
1 lb 90% lean ground bison
1 lb whole wheat spaghetti noodles (or choice noodles)
Yield: 5 cups sauce
Note: Use a cast iron skillet to boost iron content even more.
Nutrition (per 1/2 cup): 147 calories, 6g fat, 12g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 11g protein (94% DV Vitamin C, 11% DV Iron)
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and endurance athlete residing in southwest Virginia alongside her husband and dog. Through this blog she aims to share favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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