How fast can you make a filling, nutritious, post-workout snack? My IRONMAN triathlon household put five “recipes” to the test.
I recently traveled out of town for five days and left a fridge full of fresh ingredients for my husband. Upon my return, I noted the fridge was still relatively full, so I asked my husband what he’d eaten in my absence. He sheepishly confessed that he’d lived on tortillas and almond butter for every breakfast and post-workout snack. (On one occasion, he’d livened up his snack by adding some sliced banana and drizzling a little honey on the tortilla… he was pretty proud of that achievement!)
When quizzed about the lack of nutritional variety, he retorted: “It’s just so easy and simple to make when I only have five minutes after working out and before heading to the office… and I can take it to go!”
That sounded like a challenge to me. Could I come up with a few easy and healthy “to go” meals that he could prepare in less than five minutes flat?
The next morning, after a 4,000 yard swim workout followed by an easy run, we had about 15 minutes at home to shower and prepare food before heading our separate ways to work. When I reached the kitchen, I grabbed my phone, opened up the stopwatch app and hit start. I had just five minutes, but I was confident it could be done.
Egg, black bean and spinach burrito
I grabbed two eggs, whisked them together with a dash of salt and pepper and started scrambling them in a small pan. While the eggs were cooking, I took a large burrito-sized tortilla and began piling the other ingredients onto it: a small handful of baby spinach leaves, a large spoonful of canned black beans and a combination of mozzarella and feta cheese. By now the eggs were cooked so I added them to the pile on the tortilla along with a little salsa, then wrapped it up and threw it into the microwave for 30 seconds. As the microwave pinged, I hit stop on the phone and was delighted to see that the stopwatch read 4 minutes 54 seconds. Yeehaw! Thank you eggs for being so quick and easy to cook.
Over the course of the next week, I experimented with a few other ideas and recipes, timing myself on each occasion to ensure that they really could be executed in under five minutes. This challenge was certainly appealing to the competitive athlete in me. Below are three more time-tested “to go snacks,” all prepared in under five minutes and voted on by my husband’s taste buds.
Chicken pesto lavosh wrap
Take a lavosh wrap and spread a very thin layer of pesto sauce onto it. Add several slices of chicken breast (I used leftovers from the previous evening’s dinner), 3 or 4 slices of tomato, half an avocado sliced, and a thin slice of French feta (milder tasting than Greek feta). Roll it up and cut into two. You can eat as is, but I prefer to heat it up. Ideally, you’d use a Panini grill but I just heat mine in a large hot saute pan (no oil) for a couple of minutes.
English muffin ham and egg breakfast sandwich
Whisk together two eggs with a little salt and pepper. Pour into a small sauté pan and cook as if you were making an omelet, flipping over halfway through. It’s easier to make a breakfast sandwich if you have a more “solid” omelet shape, rather than more “separated” scrambled eggs. In the meantime, lightly toast an English muffin. When the muffin is warm, add your choice of sauce or condiment to the muffin. I like a little Dijon mustard, but salsa is always my husband’s first choice. Then add a slice of ham, a handful of arugula leaves, and finally, top with your egg, folding the omelet in two if necessary.
Hummus pita wrap
Take a whole wheat pita and slice the top to open it up. Smear the inside of the pita with your favorite hummus. I also happened to have some Harissa sauce in the fridge, so I added some for a little spice. Stuff a handful of mixed greens, sliced red bell peppers and halved artichoke hearts into the pita and finish off with a sprinkling of crumbed feta cheese. This no-cook recipe took second in the speed contest, taking less than four minutes, though it was a little messy to eat on the go so be sure to pack an extra napkin.
Toasted bagel with almond butter and banana
I couldn’t persuade my husband to completely forgo almond butter, but I switched up his standard tortilla snack for a bagel instead. Smear almond butter onto a toasted bagel and add slices of banana. My husband likes to drizzle a little honey on top, too. Of the five recipes, I admit that this easily won out for being fastest to prepare, but my husband did admit that he’s prepared to spend an extra minute or two to make a breakfast sandwich or burrito.