YES, I believe pizza is an integral part of a runner’s diet.
You can even see my chart on miles per slice because sometimes I find it amusing. Many of you have shared your own personal pizza love and I think it’s important to know that even the elites don’t deny themselves this delicious food, which is why I’m sharing a recipe from Kara Goucher.
Can we make pizza healthier?
Since I know this goes against the grain for many of you to look at pizza and think “oh that’s a perfect pre-long run meal”, let’s talk.
Do we need to make pizza healthier? Ehhh…I dunno. I think we need to enjoy our food. I think we need to eat A LOT of nutrients (hello veggies) all day long. I think labeling food as good and bad, leads to some big time problems.
So if you want the deep dish, have a slice. If you love making it a little healthier, go to town. I’m a fan of pretty much all styles, so I’ve been know to go from a sweet potato crust to a meat lovers pie, what can I say.
Of course, we always know there are ways to make it healthier:
- Thinner crust for less blood sugar spike from carbs (except I love a thick crust)
- Cauliflower crust if you’re really pushing the limits of healthifing
- Kara has been known to make this quinoa crust as well
- Dairy free cheese (yeah I’ve found some that’s pretty stellar)
- Loading on the veggies (a great way to sneak them in on kids)
- Blot off excess grease (mostly because I think it’s gross on my hands)
This recipe is one I was granted permission to share from the Runner’s World Meals On The Run cookbook.
Let’s be honest, you know I’m not a chef, so I’m always a little skeptical, but the promise of a meal in 30 minutes or less that was geared towards my nutritional needs lured me in like a porch light on Halloween night.Sports nutrition is a tricky subject because we’re all different, but there are some commonalities that we can all benefit from and this book goes in to setting up your kitchen, some tips for fueling and then codes the meals by their different needs (i.e. dairy free, low-calorie, gluten-free, hydrating, prerun).
A quick peek at the table of contents shows meals for every type of eater: meat, vegan, seafood, salads, soups and oh yes a few snacks!
After digging through the recipes, I settled on enjoying a standard Friday night runner pizza with a little upgrade thanks to super star inspirational runner Kara Goucher.
Which leads to Kara Goucher’s Kitchen Sink Pizza, which is perfect for those pre-long run meals! And yes I have indeed seen pizza on her Instagram, so I believe it to be true!!
KARA GOUCHER'S PIZZA
- 4 whole wheat naan flatbreads
- 1/2 cup marinara sauce
- 4 teaspoons pesto
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella I skipped cheese on mine
- 1 yellow bell pepper chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/4 red onion sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 grilled chicken breast
- 8 large basil leaves I skipped this
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Arrange flatbreads on 2 baking sheets, spread on a thin layer of marinara
- Top with pesto, mozzarella, bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, chicken
- Bake the flatbreads for 12 minutes
Runner Pizza Nutrition
Calories per serving: 506
Carbs: 52 g
Fiber: 7 g
Protein: 30 g
Total fat: 19 g
Saturated fat: 7 g
Sodium: 877 mg
I modified the recipe to take advantage of the abundance of zucchini in my life right now! Veggies are easy to mix and match so you can keep everyone in the family happy, which is part of what I love.
Why pizza before long runs?
That’s a fabulous question as on the face of it this might sound like a really unhealthy meal.
For me it’s habit. I’ve done it for ages and know that I can have a slice of pizza with a side of veggies and it makes for a light healthy meal with good carbs that also honestly just makes me happy!!! And part of a great run is not going in to it totally stressed out!
Learning to eat intuitively was a big game changer here as well.
- No more guilt over choosing foods
- No more needing 3 slices because I was depriving myself other days
- A relaxed evening
- Creating a consistent habit that triggers my brain to know tomorrow we utilize these yummy carbs
Ever tried pizza before your long run?
What’s your go to topping??
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