Loving the BITE: Nutritious Zucchini Pasta

06
Sep
2012

From apples to sports drinks to supplements to zucchini, Loving the Bike’s got your nutrition needs covered on and off the bike.  This week, let’s go ahead and talk zucchini.  If you grow it, in all your spare time off the bike, you likely have it coming out of your ears by now.  And even if not, you can surely find some on sale at the grocery store or Farmer’s Market.

But, why should cyclists eat it?

Turns out, it’s got lots nutrients to offer, and it makes a good pasta dish.  In fact, it takes the place of the pasta.

Recipe of the Week: Zucchini Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Tbsp. coconut oil (or avocado oil)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 3 zucchini, peeled into long strips (skin, seeds, and all)
  • 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan, grated (optional, if omitted, add salt to taste)
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions:

1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and lightly brown. Add sesame seeds.

2. Stir-fry zucchini until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Top with parmesan and fresh ground pepper, to taste.

4. As you would regular pasta, you can also top with extra virgin olive oil, homemade or commercial organic tomato sauce,  and/or cooked chicken, if desired.

Comments:

You’ve heard it here before; dinner is a great time for vegetables.  A lot of vegetables.  I recommend that you cover half your plate with them, every night.  There are a few good reasons.

1) If you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight to improve your power to strength ratio, these low-calorie, nutrient rich foods will give you a lot of benefit, without promoting fat storage (I’ve never had a client ruin their fat loss plan by eating too much zucchini).  They’ll also fill you up with volume, and help you control the portions of other foods at dinner.

2) As an athlete, you need the extra antioxidants.  All of us have a lot of damaging free radicals in our bodies; they are a natural product of many biochemical processes.  As an athlete, you likely have some extra oxidative stress because you engage in extra biochemical processes: all the extra breathing, muscle contracting, and fuel metabolizing during training.  Never fear, you just need some extra antioxidants from food like zucchini.

3) Disease prevention.  Vegetables’ fiber, anti-inflammatory components, and cellular detoxifying agents simply promote cellular health and whole-body health.  From the cells on up, they reduce our risk of many chronic diseases including Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer.

This week, blow it out of the water and get your vegetables as your main dish, zucchini pasta.  In just one cup of zucchini, you’ll get:

  • Twenty calories (compare this to 80-120 from pasta).  Four grams of carbohydrates, 2.5 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.
  • Vitamin C (potent antioxidant), beta-carotene (potent antioxidant), folate, and potassium.  After riding hard, zucchini can help you replenish potassium and fend off leg cramps.
  • Anti-inflammatory components: The seeds of summer squash contain omega-3s, carotenoids like lutein, zeaxanthin, and anti-inflammatory starches.
  • Anti-microbial and anti-parasitic properties: Dried summer squash seeds are often used in folk-medicine as treatment of intestinal parasites in some parts of the world.

Bonus Recipe:  Frozen Zucchini Shreds

If you’re still wondering what to do with all that zucchini, grate it (skin and all), and freeze it in individual portions.  Add it to smoothies for a vegetable kick and a thickener.

It’s not flashy, it’s not trendy, it’s zucchini.  And, that’s just fine with me.  It provides antioxidants, fiber, protein, and anti-inflammatory components for very little calories.  If you’re striving to be lean, strong cycling, it’s a good choice this week.

Fuel Your Ride.  Nourish Your Body. 

Enjoy Your Ride

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9 Responses to “ Loving the BITE: Nutritious Zucchini Pasta ”

  1. Robert Martin on September 13, 2012 at 5:19 am

    thanks

  2. G on September 11, 2012 at 9:33 am

    My wife make great zucchini cakes that taste just like Crab cakes. Love them. Taste just like Crab cakes. Have them for breakfast lunch or dinner. Also most excellent for after ride recovery. There is also zucchini bread and her zucchini chocolate cake. Good stuff.

    • Kelli Jennings on September 11, 2012 at 11:44 am

      Good stuff – thanks G! I will definitely look into zucchini crab cakes!

  3. AmandaGaleKotyk on September 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    This sounds SO good!! We just received some zucchini from a friends garden, yesterday….now I know what I want to make with it!

  4. Ben on September 6, 2012 at 9:36 am

    If it will make the zucchini taste better, I’m all over it. I don’t really like the taste of it, but my wife seems to always cook it around this time of year. I’m passing this on to her.

    • Kelli Jennings on September 11, 2012 at 11:45 am

      Hi Ben…let us know if it makes you a zucchini-lovin-convert. Enjoy!

  5. Sarah on September 6, 2012 at 8:02 am

    This comes as perfect timing as I have a bunch of zucchini here that I have been wondering what I could make with it. The pasta looks wonderfully good.

    • Kelli Jennings on September 11, 2012 at 11:45 am

      Hi Sarah – I’m a big fan of the pasta, and the shred and freeze method really helps you to have zucchini all year. Let us know what you think…

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Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.

Answer:

Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

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Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

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