If you don’t have a properly stocked kitchen, finding the time to create training-enhancing meals that don’t taste like cardboard can be next to impossible. But just a few items can turn the average kitchen into an athlete’s dream, and these gifts are the perfect place to start.
Big Spoon Nut Butters Pack ($37)
This three-pack of handcrafted seasonal nut butters delivers an instant dose of protein, carbs, and fat when you need a quick pre- or post-workout snack or just a quick pick-me-up on the go. Spread on toast, mix in oatmeal, blend in a smoothie, or smear on a sweet potato. You can also just grab a spoon—no one’s judging.
Instant Pot ($98)
This pressure cooker meets slow cooker with a cultlike following does the job of multiple appliances, cuts cooking time by hours, and eliminates guesswork with preprogrammed buttons. It’s also tailor-made for healthy meal prep. Use it as a rice cooker or a yogurt maker, cook dried beans without presoaking, perfect the soft- or hard-boiled egg, and create juicy, fall-apart meats. Settings to keep your food warm or delay the start time make it easy to fit cooking into a busy life, so dinner can be on the table when you’re back from your long run.
‘Plantlab’ by Matthew Kenney ($40)
Trying to eat more veggies but tired of sautéing? Famed vegan and raw-food chef Matthew Kenney’s new cookbook is the guide to elevating plant-based eating, with such recipes as a plant burger with sunflower cheddar, carrot ketchup, and a vegan brioche bun; butternut squash gnocchi with farro bolognese; and sweet potato crostini with smoked almond ricotta. The recipes get progressively harder, so advise your giftee to start from the beginning (yes, you roasted a carrot!) and work their way to the end.
Kale & Herb Razor ($15)
Destem leafy greens or herbs in seconds with this stainless-steel blade. Throw greens into salads, smoothies, sautés, and soups for a hit of fiber to maintain healthy digestion, calcium to increase bone density and prevent injury in high-impact activities, and iron to boost endurance.
Dean & DeLuca Spice Tube Racks ($105)
The right seasonings can make or break your meals and keep you from relying on store-bought sauces loaded with fat and sugar. This countertop-friendly set features the essentials to get you started, like basil, cayenne, cumin, curry powder, lavender, and thyme. The herbs are sourced from all over the world for the freshest, most flavorful blends, so you can brighten up even the simplest dishes (no more boring chicken) and test out easy flavor swaps on your go-to pre- and post-workout dishes.
Fire Wire Flexible Grilling Skewers ($10)
This handy stainless-steel grilling tool makes it easy to cook up a healthy, no-mess dinner and maximize space on your grill. Marinate your favorite meat, vegetables, and potatoes on the skewers, then toss them on the grill. Pop the skewers in the dishwasher when you’re done.
Kitchen Aid 5-Speed Hand Blender ($80)
Traditional upright blenders are awesome, but they’re also cumbersome and annoying to clean. Enter the immersion blender. It’s like the reverse of a traditional blender—instead of adding food to the blender, you add the blender to the food. Creating pureed soups chock-full of vegetables, frothy single-serving smoothies, and fresh dressings and sauces becomes insanely quick, and a hand blender is way easier to clean than a dirtied blender canister. Why do we care? Fewer dishes and less time in the kitchen, more time to do epic things.
Building a performance plate is all about balance, so go ahead and buy that six-pack. But you can avoid the resulting fridge clutter by lofting your brews. Genius, we know. Affix the two magnetic strips to the top of any fridge shelf using the included peel-off adhesive, and the strong bottle-cap-sized magnets will elevate your beers out of the way.