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Tomatoes - Ripe and Ready!

 This article is part of a new series on Nutrition for Runners.   Heather from the blog, Trials of Training, has offered her expertise in Nutrition to runners in the Lounge to pass along information on recipes, nutrition, and running/food related questions.  She has her BS in Nutrition from Penn State, she is currently working to be a Registered Dietician, and is a loves to help runners with their questions.

by Heather

Running on food Until recently, I was not a tomato fan. Honestly, you couldn’t pay me to eat them. I only enjoyed them in disguise; ketchup, salsa, pasta sauce, soup, etc. I’m not sure when the transition occurred, but this juice fruit has gradually made its way into my diet fresh, cooked, on the side, and/or in a dish. At the farmer’s market last weekend, I couldn’t resist buying a big, juicy, plump red tomato. Apparently it’s tomato season and they were everywhere!

This is one fruit/vegetable (whatever you want to classify it as) that’s very versatile! It is very low in calories since they pack a lot of water, but they are high in nutrients! This little gem is also full of Vitamins A and C, potassium, vitamin B6, Thiamin, and lycopene (an antioxidant). Yes, you definitely get a nutritional bang for your buck here!

So, what are the options? Well, here are just a few ideas……

-Cherry/Grape tomatoes

Halved or served whole, these little things go great as a salad or pizza topper, thrown into a pasta sauce, tossed with pasta salad, fresh with a veggie mix to dip in hummus or salad dressing, thrown onto a skewer with steak or chicken (kabob), stewed in a soup for extra flavor (and nutrients!).

-Plum tomatoes

These have less seeds, so they work well for sauces and soups!

-Large/medium sized round tomatoes

Snack: slice them up and serve tossed with oil and vinegar, salt/pepper to taste, and fresh mozerella, serve on top of toasted bread for an easy “bruschetta”, or use them to top your fresh garden veggie salad

Meals: grill with chicken or steak for extra flavor, chop it up and add to Mexican casseroles, add into soups (chili, vegetable stew, beef stew, etc), sliced and added into a fajita veggie mix, etc.  

You’ll find tomatoes in abundance at local farmers’ markets and grocery stores this time of year. Get creative; it’s easy to use them in a variety of ways!

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