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  • Writer's pictureAshley Besecker, RDN, CD

3 Must Have Cookbooks for Athletes

Updated: Jan 10

Run Fast Eat Slow Cookbook for Athletes

Written by 2 kick-ass runners, Shalene Flanagan, a 4x Olympian and NYC Marathon winner, and Elyse Kopecky, a former D1 Runner and Nike Running exec turned chef. They have experienced first hand what proper fueling feels like and how it translates into performance as an athlete.

With 9 food sections including drinks, mains, sides, treats and more, this cookbook is such a great introduction to having a positive relationship with food, a focus on whole foods and a balanced diet as an athlete.

Definitely try the Wild Salmon Sweet Potato Cakes (I suggest using Premier Catch Wild Alaskan King Salmon) which is one of my favorite athlete’s go-to dinners, and the famous Lemon Miso Dressing that helped kick off the idea of this wonderful cookbook.

Blue Zones Kitchen Cookbook for Athletes

If you have ever worked with me as an athlete, chances are you have “The Blue Zones” book. The concept of The Blue Zones was created by a National Geographic Fellow and Author, Dan Buettner, who set out to research the longest lived people in the world. Out of that adventure came 5 “Blue Zones” including Okinawa, Japan, Ikaria, Greece, Sardinia, Italy, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, and Loma Linda, California. Blue Zones Kitchen is the cookbook associated with his initial book, and highlights incredible recipes from each region.

Check out the foods you may not be as familiar with in the kitchen, like Hearts of Palm Ceviche from Costa Rica, Homemade Hummus from Greece, and Quinoa Stuffed Spring Rolls and Peanut Dipping Sauce from Loma Linda - the only US Blue Zone.

Happy Healthy Brain Cookbook for Athletes

These are anti-inflammatory recipes at their finest. Written by fellow dietitian Michelle Babb, this cookbook highlights how food can help with things like depression and anxiety, but also a focus on foods that curb inflammation all over the body - a huge deal for athletes. She has a great example of a balanced healthy plate for you to build your own meals no matter what you’re eating, and an awesome list of “Mind Altering Foods” such as foods to feel alert, calm, happy, or focused.

Try having salad for breakfast with her “Breakfast Salad Sunny Side Up” and the “Asian Sesame Ginger Bowl” a perfectly well-rounded meal for post game.

Have other fav cookbooks perfect for athletes? Post your favs and tag me on instagram @ashleyabesecker!

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