Ever heard the saying 'you are what you eat'? As runners, we need the proper nutrients that will not only help us to maintain good health but also promote peak performance. However, in between our busy work schedules, social commitments and exercising, it is hard to find the time to prepare healthy meals and we often opt for the easy way of dining out. This means that we have little control over the kind of ingredients that go into our food and the way it is prepared.
With the Great Eastern Women’s Run 2012 coming up in November, these ladies had gathered on a Sunday morning at Rangoon Road to learn how to prepare palate pleasing meals that are not only non time consuming but fuel the body the right way.
The cooking party conducted by Cookyn Inc was one of the many Great Eastern Women’s Run 2012 Fringe Activities organised specially for the race participants and RunSociety was invited to participate in it.
Creating healthy meals to satisfy the runner’s appetite
The morning was off to a great start as we were pleasantly surprised to have DJ Yasmin from Class 95FM join us in our cooking party. As there was a fairly large amount of people, we were split into two groups so that there could be a better facilitation of the workshop. Dexter and Kelvin who were the station masters for the day each took a group under their wing. After a briefing on kitchen safety and hygiene requirements, the real fun began.
- Brown/wild rice salad with tiger prawns and orange wedges
- Roasted chicken leg stuffed with feta cheese Mediterranean style
- Asian fruit pastry with vanilla and lemon grass-infused whipped cream
Although this may have sounded intimidating to non cooks, Dexter quickly reassured us that the meals would be a cinch to whip up. Besides, every participant was given a copy of the recipes complete with instructions to take home.
Neatly displayed in front of us were the ingredients needed for each dish. As this was going to be a communal style cooking session, Dexter quickly demonstrated to us how to go about preparing the ingredients such as chopping fresh vegetables, making lemon grass sugar and how to stuff the chicken leg.
Much laughter and chatting could be heard as we went about helping one another prepare the dishes. The atmosphere of the class was extremely relaxing and refreshing at the same time.
Dexter went about giving great culinary tips such as: rolling a lemon firmly before cutting it would yield more juice and that the reason why we peel off the skin of the carrots is that the skin gives off a bitter taste.
Picking the right ingredients to fuel your body
With such fresh and nutritious ingredients used in these recipes, these meals would actually help runners to replenish lost nutrients, supplement the body with vitamins and help their bodies recover from intensive workouts or injuries.
The wild rice salad, as Dexter explained was the perfect choice for carbo-loading before a long run. He added however, not to try new things to eat in the week leading up to our run as our bodies might not be accustomed to new ingredients. Introduce new dishes a few months before your race to see what works for you.
Meat is a great source of protein to help repair muscles and the chicken leg was the perfect choice as it was just the right size to make a satiating meal but not one that was over filling. With roasted vegetables as the perfect accompaniment, this was certainly a healthy dish as it was oven roasted and not fried.
Of course, to satisfy sweet cravings, we learnt how to prepare bite-sized desserts that were big on flavour but kind to the waistline. After all, no one wants that running to go to waste. The puff pastry was cut into small circles and topped with fruits such as bananas and strawberries and a sprinkling of lemon grass sugar. The benefit of using fruits in desserts is that it is naturally sweet so this allows you to cut down on consuming too much refined white sugar.
Customise your meals
The perfect thing about preparing the meals was that each and every recipe was customisable according to one’s preference. Substitute or omit some ingredients that you don’t fancy with your favourite vegetables, herbs or get creative by adding new ingredients to the dish.
For instance, the feta cheese with honey stuffing for the chicken leg could be substituted with other cheeses or even pesto or tomato sauce if cheese is not to your liking.
Bonding over a nutritious meal
As we sat down to taste the fruits of our labour, we mingled and got to know one another better. I met Barbara, a Canadian who has been living in Singapore for over a year. She said that she had joined this fringe event as she didn’t know how to cook and wanted to learn how to make healthy meals for herself. I also met Yan Mae, a student and part time kayak instructor who had been diligently participating in the other fringe activities and loved it!
There was even a surprise birthday cake for one of the participants. This cooking party was truly an enjoyable experience and a great bonding session for everyone and amidst exchanging running tips, it was really inspiring to see so many people taking a strong interest in wanting to learn how to eat healthy and stay fit.
To get involved with other fringe activities, visit the Great Eastern Women’s Run official website at: http://www.greateasternwomensrun.com.