What Athletes Eat: Morgan Uceny's Pre-Long Run Dinner

We caught up with 1,500-meter specialist Morgan Uceny to find out how she fuels the miles. The 2012 Olympian is qualified for the USATF Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, this weekend and is looking forward to a summer on the European racing circuit, with her eyes firmly on the big picture, the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year. Her dietary MO: meat and veggies. Here's a spaghetti (squash) and meatball dish Uceny tucked into on a recent Saturday night -- her perfect fuel for Sunday's long run.

Courtesy of Morgan Uceny

Day and time: Saturday night, 7:30 p.m.

Place: My apartment in Brighton, Massachusetts

What I'm eating: "Spaghetti" and meatballs using spaghetti squash, pork and kale meatballs, and a spicy Arrabiata marinara sauce.

Whose recipe? I try to avoid grains and dairy in my diet, so I find a lot of culinary inspiration via Paleo recipes. Some of my favorites are nom nom paleo and The Domestic Man. I don't follow a strict Paleo diet, but it's helpful having these recipes as a starting point. Then I can substitute where I want.

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Why I'm eating it: This recipe is a nice, hearty meal I like to have on workout days or, in this case, when I have a long run the following morning. "Meat and veggies" is my dietary motto, so this tasty meal covers all of my bases. Eating carbs like spaghetti squash helps me feel more satiated and is a perfect nest for the meatballs (aka protein nuggets) and sauce.

My recipe:
1 roasted spaghetti squash
1 pound ground pork (or meat of your choosing)
1 cup finely chopped kale
1 egg
1/4 to 1/8 cup breadcrumbs (optional)
1 yellow squash
Prepared marinara sauce (I look for something low in sugar and without dairy) Seasonings: garlic, cumin, paprika, ground mustard seed, ground ginger, ground coriander, salt, pepper. I'm more heavy-handed with the garlic and cumin, as those are the flavors I like, but you can use whatever you have/like. Some fresh parsley would have really topped this meal off, but I didn't have any!

Get your hands dirty and mix the ground meat, kale, egg, breadcrumbs (if using) and seasonings. When it's mixed, form into small balls. Pan-fry them on the stovetop over medium heat, turning after each side has nicely browned.

When the meatballs are about halfway cooked, add the chopped squash to get a quick sauté on it. After 3 to 4 minutes, add the marinara sauce and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until everything is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly. Scoop over the cooked spaghetti squash.

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