Cookbooks For Runners From RW + No Meat Athlete

cookbooks for runners

Spicy Fish Tacos with Pineapple Slaw. (Photo: The Runner’s World Cookbook)

‘Runner’s World’ & ‘No Meat Athlete’ Offer New Cookbooks For Runners

If you are kitchen-challenged like me, you might need the help of a recipe or two to feed yourself and your family. Even if you are an expert at-home chef like my husband, sometimes it’s easy to get caught in a food rut.

So I appreciated the thoughtful care that went into two new cookbooks for runners that hit shelves this month: “The Runner’s World Cookbook,” a collection of 150 recipes from the monthly’s pages; and “No Meat Athlete: Run on Plants and Discover Your Fittest, Fastest, Happiest Self” by running blogger Matt Frazier with Matt Ruscigno, featuring 55 recipes and a guide to running on a meat-free diet.

cookbooks for runners

The Runner’s World Cookbook

The Runner’s World Cookbook

Edited by Runner’s World nutrition editor Joanna Golub, “The Runner’s World Cookbook” takes out a lot of the guess work for eating healthy as a runner. The book includes a guide to choosing the best ingredients and a pantry list of items to keep stocked in your kitchen. Full-page photos accompany about one-third of the recipes, which have all been tested in the publisher’s kitchen.

My favorite thing about “The Runner’s World Cookbook,” though, are handy tabs at the top of each recipe that categorize dishes by diet or type of meal—including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, recovery, prerun, fast or low-calorie—along with an index in the back by recipe type. So when I’m looking for a low-calorie, prerun snack, it’s really easy to find. Genius.

Case in point: sliced apple with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. It takes five minutes to make a one apple serving with 289 calories. Delicious. As is the spinach-kiwi cooler as a fast, low-calorie prerun drink.

cookbooks for runners

Spicy sausage and mushroom soup (Photo: The Runner’s World Cookbook)

Recipes come from an array of chefs, runners and writers. Because the authors are so diverse, the book offers a little something for everyone, whether you’re vegan, a meat-eater or sugar obsessed.

Plus, the book managed to stump me on a few food items. Ever heard of teff? Me neither. But “The Runner’s World Cookbook” tells me it’s an iron, calcium and fiber rich “staple of Ethiopian runners’ diets” that can be used in place of oats. Well, if it’s good enough for Haile Gebrselassie and Tirunesh Dibaba, it’s certainly good enough for me. Whether or not I can find it in my local grocery store is another question.

If experimenting with spelt and amaranth isn’t your thing, not to worry. The recipes use largely American-familiar ingredients. The others are merely there as alternative options for runners who want to branch out.

Mostly, the recipes aim to spice up “healthy” food in a flavorful way. Instead of a basic pesto, you’ll find basil-mint pesto, kale-almond pesto and cilantro-pumpkin pesto. And the spicy sausage and mushroom soup uses chicken sausage and kale along with mushrooms for a meaty meal without the fat and calories that come with pork or beef sausage.

“The Runner’s World Cookbook” is a valuable compendium for the runner who’s wondering what to eat. Let’s put it this way: I’ve got the cookbook sitting on my kitchen counter right now.

No Meat Athlete: Run On Plants and Discover Your Fittest, Fastest, Happiest Self
cookbooks for runners

No Meat Athlete

“No Meat Athlete” is part cookbook, part how-to guide for running on a plant-based diet from the blogger behind

I’m mostly a pescatarian at home, with the occasional meaty meal. But when I eat out, I let myself go hog-wild, pun intended. I never make bacon at home, pork or turkey, and eat solely veggie “sausage” patties. But at a post-race brunch? I’ll have a side of bacon with that, please.

I’m also a dairy fiend. I’ve tried almond milk. Blech. Soy milk. Double blech. And rice milk, which is merely tolerable. Try as I might, I haven’t been able to give up old-fashioned cow milk. I drink at least one glass of milk a day and love ice cream and cheese.

So I may not, at first glance, seem like the target audience for “No Meat Athlete.” But I’m exactly the kind of runner Frazier aims to reach: the “veg-curious,” as he puts it. As someone who has consciously tried to east less meat and more veggies over the years, but isn’t ready to give up meat completely, I really like the thorough approach to nutrition that Frazier takes. It helps that he enlisted registered vegan dietician and ultra-endurance athlete Matt Ruscigno, M.P.H., R.D., to help him write the book.

I also like that the book doesn’t preach or judge people like me who still want to eat meat, but want to eat less of it. Actually, Frazier doesn’t advocate going cold-turkey at all. Instead, he suggests a tiered and gradual approach to going plant-based.

There are also some great recipes for make-at-home energy bars, gels, and sports drinks. As a GERD-sufferer, most gels and sports drinks make me “vurp.” Gross, but true. I find that the fewer “fake” and more “natural” ingredients a product has, the easier it is on my tummy. So it’s great to have an arsenal of recipes I can make for myself.

The book also looks at training as a plant-fueled runner, and offers training plans, advice and tips.

So even if you’re a meat eater, don’t be scared by the title. There’s something all “veg-curious” folks can gain from the book.

Read my entire review of both cookbooks for runners at The Washington Times Communities.

Runner’s World and No Meat Athlete sent me review copies of the books included here.

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


10 2013

11 Comments Add Yours ↓

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  1. 1

    I like No Meat Athlete’s blog and have been thinking I should pick up his cookbook. Like you, I pretty much only eat meat when I’m out BUT I’m also not much of a cook. I’m good at it when I do it, but I rarely have the time (or at least that’s my excuse). I usually make one really big meal on Sunday and then eat leftovers for dinner the rest of the week (so exciting, I know). Since I don’t cook much I’m always nervous to invest in a cookbook…

  2. 3

    Love this review, Karla! And I’m esp. glad to see the No Meat Athlete review (as another plant-based runner, I’ve definitely consulted his blog for ideas).

    As for teff, if you’re interested in trying it, your Whole Foods should have it; also available through amazon.

  3. 5

    Definitely interested in the No Meat Athlete cookbook, I’m always looking for more vegetarian ideas and I am SUCH a lazy cool, I tend to make the same few things over and over!
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  4. 7

    I definitely want to check out the Runner’s World Cookbook! Especially with the directory so you can find the appropriate food for the appropriate occasion. And I love to cook and I’ve definitely felt the difference in my running when I was living off my take-out mostly diet this summer. I may have to pass on the No Meat Athlete one tho…I don’t need to eat meat all the time, but, ummm, yeah, I love meat lol.

  5. 9

    I might try these and get out of my food rut… but probably next week because it’s just too much work to grocery shop right now and lipton noodle soup is just so easy.

  6. 11

    Cool reviews. I think I might check out that RW book soon. As for NMA, I have followed Matt Frazier’s blog and podcast for a while now, even though I do eat meat! I find his advice to be useful for “low meat athletes” like me… I have learned a lot. I got a chance to interview Matt for an article (‘No Meat Athlete’ says you can power your marathons with plants > ) — he was really nice and interesting to talk to. His book is a quick read but has a lot of good information and recipes. I can’t wait to try some of them.

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