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Two Salads for Speedy Triathletes

By Marni Sumbal

marniAfter one year of working as a YMCA wellness coordinator (teaching spin classes and doing personal training) and training for my first Ironman, I desired more education in the field of nutrition. Particularly, I felt very strong in my sport nutrition knowledge due to my Master of Science education but I felt very limited in my knowledge of vitamins and minerals. I always wanted to know more about what is really in food, particularly, the science of food and how it affects the body.

In terms of the food you ingest throughout the day to take your training to the next level, try to see food for the vitamins and minerals provided to you. I find this much healthier in terms of your relationship with food, instead of focusing on carbohydrates, fat or sugar. Prioritizing whole food is an easy way to accomplish this but depending on where you are in your fitness or nutrition journey, simply controlling portions and bulking up on more fruits and veggies will not only help with body composition changes but more importantly, will provide your body with more nutrient-dense foods.

This is how I eat. I don't count calories but enjoy a lot of real food. As an endurance athlete, it might benefit you to emphasize a lot of food that is minimally processed, but remember no food is off limits. Research shows that it really doesn't matter how you eat or when you eat, just what you eat. My goal for you is to find what works for you as you prioritize food for its nutritional value and how it enhances your exercise routine.

These two salad recipes can help you fuel your body for training or a race while maximizing the use of whole, nutritional foods.

marniMango Broccoli Slaw
1 mango (chopped)
1 bag broccoli slaw (can be found by packaged veggies/bagged lettuce in grocery store)
2 spoonfuls salsa (your favorite salsa, add more/less to taste)
1-2 Tbsp Tahini paste (more/less to taste)
1/8 cup chopped white or purple onions (omit onions if you don't like them)
Pepper, pinch of sea salt
2 Tbsp chopped nuts or seeds (I used sunflower seeds but walnuts would be great in this)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large container, cover with lid and shake.
  2. Refrigerate to help bring out the flavors of the slaw.

For a more satisfying meal: Top a bed of your favorite greens (I used arugula) with slaw and serve with your choice of protein (I used a hardboiled egg).

marniEdamame and Tofu Salad
Edamame (frozen and cooked in microwave, in pods, beans removed)
Tofu (cubed — cooked in olive oil on skillet on medium heat)
Lettuce (arugula and romaine)
Barley (cooked according to package on stove, under the pile of toppings)
Strawberries (sliced)
Tomatoes (sliced)
Carrots (chopped)
Onions (chopped)
Cashews (lightly salted)
Egg (hardboiled)
Dressing: Raspberry balsamic

Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) and holds a certification by the American Dietetic Association in Adult Weight Management. She is a USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach, Ironman finisher and an Oakley Women ambassador, and she has contributed articles to a number of triathlon organizations, such as Lava Magazine, Triathlete Magazine, and To contact Marni, email, visit or become a fan of TriMarni Coaching and Nutrition on Facebook.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the practices of USA Triathlon. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician and/or coach.