The former University of Oregon runner and popular food blogger shares what she typically eats to fuel a day of training.
Like many teenagers, Emma Abrahamson didn’t pay much attention to what she put in her body while growing up in San Diego, California. She scarfed down packaged foods loaded with sugar after high school cross-country practice, paying little mind to how the foods affected her in workouts and races later that week.
“I was always sore, but I didn’t know why until I started cooking for myself,” Abrahamson, now 23, told Runner’s World. “I realised the impact that nutrients had on my body in college. If I ate enough protein and whole foods—rather than just a bowl of cereal—I was able to recover much faster and felt up for a hard run the day after a workout.”
Abrahamson, who ran for the University of Oregon and graduated in 2018, needed plenty of fuel to power through her cross-country and track workouts in college. As a Duck, she clocked a mile PR of 4:39 and helped the cross-country team win the NCAA championships in 2016. While running 50 to 55 miles per week in college, Abrahamson also began creating recipes for her food Instagram, One Crazed Foodie.
“Everyone who knows me knows how much I love food and love talking about food, but not many other runners talk about food regularly,” she said. “One of the main reasons I started my food Instagram was to show what I eat in a day and to hopefully inspire other runners to make wholesome, satisfying meals of their own.”
After graduating with a degree in business and sports management, Abrahamson was hired as the assistant coach of the cross-country and track teams at the University of Portland in Oregon. She now preaches the power that a well-balanced—and tasty—diet has on running performance to her team.
“There is still this idea out there that eating less is better, because you’ll be faster if you’re lighter,” Abrahamson said. “But you’re not going to run faster if you eat less. When you’re training hard, eating more than you need is always better than eating less. I’ve seen so many runners get injured or run poorly just because they’re not eating enough to fuel their bodies. Once you fuel properly, you’ll be amazed by how good you’ll feel in workouts.”
While Abrahamson isn’t running competitively anymore, she still logs around 40 miles per week and cross trains by biking and lifting weights. In her free time, she shares mouth-watering recipes with more than 36,000 hungry followers on social media.
With most of the country currently ordered to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus, now is a great time to fine-tune your cooking skills—and perhaps add a few more recipes to your repertoire (hello, fluffy pancakes). Here, Abrahamson shares what she typically eats to fuel a day of training.
Loaded-Up Protein Pancakes
HAPPY MONDAY! You know we had to start off the week on a good note so I made myself a #thicc stack of LEMON BLUEBERRY PANCAKES🥞🍋💙 for lunch! These bad boys hit the spot and satisfied my sweet tooth for sure. Shoutout to @maddiejmeyers for helping me come up with toppings for this stack over FaceTime😂. • LEMON BLUEBERRY PANCAKE DEETS💙🍋🥞👉🏼 1/3 cup @birchbenders buttermilk pancake mix🥞, 1 scoop @mrm_nutrition vanilla veggie elite protein, 1 tsp @mrm_nutrition maca powder, juice of 1/2 a lemon🍋, 1 @chinovalleyranchers egg, & water to thin. Added blueberries to the batter when cooking. Topped with @siggisdairy plain skyr, squeezed lemon juice, @grounduppdx hazelnut butter, thawed blueberries, chia seeds, maple syrup and pepitas. #onecrazedfoodie #pancakes #lemon #lemonblueberry #flapjacks #blueberry
Whenever I have a little more time in the morning, my go-to meal is a thick stack of pancakes with lots of different toppings. Recently, I made lemon-blueberry pancakes by mixing together 1/3 cup Birch Benders buttermilk pancake mix, one scoop of MRM Nutrition vanilla protein powder, one teaspoon of MRM Nutrition maca powder, the juice of half a lemon, and one egg, plus enough water to thin the batter down. I poured the batter into small circles on a heated pan, then sprinkled in fresh blueberries. Once the pancakes were done, I topped them with yogurt, lemon juice, hazelnut butter, blueberries, chia seeds, maple syrup, and pepitas.
Other days, I’ll start my mornings with a giant bowl of oatmeal. I like running on a full stomach—that way, I have plenty of energy for the workout. I usually wake up around 7:30 a.m. and make oatmeal with a cup of oats, a scoop of vanilla protein powder, and water, then top it with almond butter. I’ll also make iced coffee by blending together cold brew concentrate—which I get from Trader Joe’s—almond milk, and ice. After eating, I’ll wait about an hour and a half before working out.
Afternoon Avocado Toast
when in doubt, avocado toast it out🍞🥑🍳. doing a lot of filming in the kitchen this morning and you know we have to stay fueled. going to cycle🚴🏼♀️ later today so this is my pre-workout meal – toasted @foodforlifebaking Ezekiel bread🍞, mashed avocado🥑, two scrambled @chinovalleyranchers eggs🍳 and EBTB seasoning. what👏🏼a👏🏼classic👏🏼. i know i posted this like 2 days ago but this was too tasty not to post. SORRY NOT SORRY FELLAS! #onecrazedfoodie #avocadotoast #breakfast #brunch #lunch
After I’m done my workout, I’m usually craving avocado toast. I toast two slices of Ezekial bread and top them with a mashed avocado, two scrambled eggs prepared with ghee, and lots of “Everything but the Bagel” seasoning.
Extra-Crispy Veggie Dinners
it feels good to be back in my own kitchen again!!! and with fresh groceries stocked in the fridge. Is there any better feeling? Tonight’s din din is @traderjoes balsamic chicken breast🍗, brussels sautéed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sweet potato🍠 air fried in @chosenfoods spicy sesame oil, and @traderjoes eggplant hummus🍆! #onecrazedfoodie #dinner #chicken #sweetpotato #brusselsprouts
My dinners are always a combination of protein, potatoes, and vegetables. Lately, I’ve been throwing everything in my air fryer, which makes foods extra crispy. One of my favorite dinners is tofu with roasted sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. I toss tofu cubes with liquid amino acids, garlic, and pepper, then cook them in the air fryer at 400 degrees until crispy. To make the sweet potatoes, I chop the potatoes up into cubes, toss the cubes with olive oil and fresh chopped rosemary, then cook them in the air fryer at 425 degrees until crispy.
I don’t have a specific prerace dinner, since I learned pretty fast in college that you can’t be picky when you’re traveling to races. I try to stick with protein and vegetables the night before a race, like chicken, potatoes, and greens. I don’t carb-load before races, because I’m never deprived of energy day-to-day. I approach races just like workouts—I wouldn’t carb-load before a normal workout, so I don’t need to carb-load before a race.