We just had Lottie Bildirici, author of the rad cookbook Running On Veggies, on the podcast, and her nutrition and cooking tips were so good that I wanted to share a few of my favorites here, in addition to on the episode. What I really appreciated was despite what the title may suggest, Lottie is all about fueling workouts with much more than just veggies, and she’s not suggesting that everyone needs to be plant-based. Rather, she has what I’ll call a plant-forward approach to eating. That means her recipes have options for adding fish, chicken or other meat, and she’s all about optimizing a diet to feel good for you, not to conform to any specific set of rules or regulations. Love it.
Don’t try for sweeping changes
Want to focus on dialing in your nutrition and eating more veggies and less ultra-processed food? Start small. “Don’t try for a huge overhaul,” she says. “Take small steps and meet yourself where you’re at. You don’t need to start cooking every single meal if you never cooked a day in your life.”
Get a good knife
Forget a ton of blenders and processors (though they can be fun too!). When it comes to tools, though, a good chef’s knife is your best friend, and makes chopping fruits and veggies so much easier, which makes eating them so much easier. For a long-lasting knife that won’t break the bank, we like our chef knife from Henckels.
Love dessert? That’s great!
Dessert isn’t a bad thing. But if you’re a “eat the whole cake” person, Lottie recommended making a great dessert (her cookbook has plenty of options!) and freezing it in individually sized portions. She even has a recipe for fudge that uses tahini, and I love that for freezing—I actually want to do that using my silicone ice cube tray so that I have really easy individual servings that I can pop out, warm up and enjoy one at a time.
Make eating well easy
Don’t reinvent dinner every single night. Figure out a few favorite sauces that make veggies tasty, a few simple dishes that you love (and maybe can prepare in bulk and freeze half for emergencies!), and keep staple ingredients on hand so you can throw together a meal in minutes. Frozen veggies work just fine, and keeping them plus some frozen salmon or shrimp in the freezer along with some quick-cook brown rice in the pantry means that in a few minutes, you can have a meal pretty much ready to roll. We love our Instant Pot, since I can toss in a can of beans, some tomato puree, frozen chopped veggies, a boullion cube or some other seasoning, and have a bean stew ready in a few minutes.)
Training? You need calories
Lottie’s biggest point was one that we really, really love. If you’re training, you need to fuel that training. End of story. (And she added that she’s a big fan of certain drinks and gels because that’s what works for her, so don’t feel like fueling has to be done with whole foods/unprocessed options only!)
Before you go, check out our book, Becoming A Consummate Athlete, right here: