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Healthy Holiday Recipes for Runners

A top-down photo of two bowls of pumpkin soup topped with pumpkin seeds, surrounded by fall slices of rustic bread, a pair of spoons, a smattering of croutons, a sprig of cilantro, and sliced and whole pumpkin.
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Looking for new runner-friendly recipes? Stock up on quinoa and chia seeds to make these two tasty, nutritious dishes.

Seasonal sustenance

Eggnog. Turkey legs. All the pies. The holidays can make it easy for you to find tasty indulgence, and that’s OK — you deserve to celebrate. But don’t forget to balance out that decadence with plenty of vegetables, lots of water, and some healthy alternatives, too. Consider dishes like a peach quinoa bowl for breakfast before running or choco-chia mousse as a nighttime protein snack. These easy-to-make and nutritious recipes are excellent options for holiday treats.

Get peachy

This hearty and warming quinoa-for-breakfast recipe fills you with long-lasting energy for those early morning runs in the chilly fall and winter mornings. Plus, it has fiber and plant-based protein to keep you satisfied for hours. Spice it up with a little pumpkin pie spice for holiday flair, or stir in some chia sees for extra texture and extra omega-3s. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and can be modified in many ways by swapping different types of plant-based milks, nuts and seeds, fruit, and spices. It’s a great pre-workout meal option and travels well in an airtight container so you can take it on the go. It’s a nourishing way to start the day.

A top-down photo of the peachy quinoa breakfast bowl topped with sliced almonds, pieces of fresh peach, and brown sugar.

Peachy quinoa breakfast bowl

Servings: 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes


1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1 pinch sea salt
1 ½ cups sliced fresh or frozen peaches
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
Optional: sweetener of choice to taste


1. Thoroughly wash and drain uncooked quinoa.

2. Place quinoa, almond milk, allspice, salt, and peaches in a medium saucepan.

3. Bring to a boil. Stir frequently.

4. Reduce heat, cover, and continue to simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed.

5. Fluff quinoa with a fork, divide into 4 bowls, and serve topped with ground flaxseed and chopped nuts. Add sweetener of choice, if desired.


  • Vary your liquid: try soy milk, cashew milk, flax milk, or others.
  • Top your bowls with any chopped nuts you happen to have on hand.
  • Keep leftovers in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to a week.

Chia treat

I love this choco-chia mousse as a nighttime protein snack before bed. That’s when something with just a little sweetness really hits the spot. It’s great for runners who need to focus on recovery from tough workouts and can be prepared vegan and gluten free. It would also make a great post-workout recovery option topped with some fresh fruit. A thick and decadent chocolate mousse that delivers big on flavor, but also nutrition, this recipe features chia seeds known for their anti-inflammatory omega 3’s and fiber, cacao which is high in antioxidants, and, of course, protein. This mousse is a great way to balance out some of the other holiday indulgences you may be enjoying this time of year.

A top-down photos of choco-chia mousse topped with fresh raspberries, peanuts, and maple syrup.

Choco-chia mousse

Servings: 1
Prep time: 5 minutes
Active time: 60 minutes (fridge)


1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 serving vegan protein powder, chocolate or vanilla flavor
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
¼ cup fresh berries (optional)


1. In a high-powered blender, add chia seeds first, then almond milk (or other non-dairy beverage of choice). Blend for 30 seconds.

2. Add the cocoa powder, protein powder, and sweetener (if desired). Blend until smooth. Add liquid if too thick, 1 tablespoon at a time.

3. Scoop mixture into lidded container and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight.

4. Top with fresh berries (optional) and serve chilled.


  • Make ahead for a great take-and-go breakfast or satisfying pre-bedtime snack.
  • Top with unsweetened coconut shreds, chopped nuts, or raw cacao nibs for a satisfying crunch.
  • Try with different flavors of protein powder, such as mocha. Look for varieties with 20-30 g protein per serving.
Written By
Roxanne Vogel
A profile photo of the author, Roxanne Vogel, smiling widely in a bright orange jacket.

Roxanne Vogel is the nutrition and performance research manager at GU Energy Labs in Berkeley, CA. She oversees the Performance Lab, works with sponsored and elite athletes on nutrition planning, and innovates new products in Research & Development. Vogel is a high-altitude mountaineer and ultra-endurance athlete who recently completed the “Seven Summits” by climbing the highest mountain on each continent, including a 14-day speed ascent of Mount Everest.