Athlete Recipes: Triathlete Mirinda Carfrae's Multisport Quinoa Salad With Steak

The difference between hitting the summit and hitting the wall often comes down to the fuel in your belly. Here, 11 pros share their favorite nutritional secrets and performance-enhancing recipes.

    Photo: Barbara Dudzinska/Shutterstock

THE MEAL: On a typical day, Carfrae, winner of the 2010 Ironman World Championship, swims three miles, bikes 55 miles, and runs seven and a half miles. Which means she has very little time to cook. “I love good, healthy meals,” says the 31-year-old Australian, “but I tend to keep it fairly simple—especially in the thick of the season, when I’m exhausted from training.” One of her favorites, this steak and quinoa salad dish is gluten free, fast (preparation time is about 20 minutes) and, according to Carfrae, perfect for triathletes.

WHY IT WORKS: “Other than being full of muscle-building protein, steak is a great source of iron,” says Korzun. “Hemoglobin in our red blood cells is what carries oxygen around the body, but hemoglobin can’t pick up that oxygen without iron. So for athletes who are constantly building new tissue and creating new red blood cells, iron is incredibly important.” And if you’re thinking red meat shouldn’t be a regular feature of your training table, you’re wrong. “The studies that say red meat is bad for you are usually focusing on meats that are high in fat,” says Korzun. “It’s perfectly safe to eat red meat a couple of times a week if you’re eating a lean cut like sirloin.”

SECRET INGREDIENT: Carrots and radishes contain nitrates, which, when converted to nitric oxide, cause blood vessels to widen, allowing more oxygen-rich blood to flow through the body.

GRILLED STEAK AND QUINOA SALAD
1.
Coat a lean steak with olive oil, then sprinkle with thyme, basil, sage, black pepper, and salt.
2.
Cook it on the grill, turning once, until just pink inside.
3. For the quinoa, boil two cups of water, then add one cup of quinoa and reduce to a simmer.
4.
Cook 15 minutes, occasionally fluffing.
5.
Combine quinoa with a blend of mixed baby greens, diced red or yellow bell pepper, a few slices of avocado, diced red onion, sliced cucumber, halved radishes, Greek olives, shredded carrots, and almonds for texture.

SERVINGS: One
CALORIES PER SERVING:
1,200

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