While there is still a great deal of controversy over whether endurance athletes should follow a traditional high carbohydrate way of eating, or go completely the other way with a low carb high fat (LCHF) approach to improve the use of fat as fuel, research by sports scientists is starting to suggest that a ‘periodised’ approach to carbohydrate intake may be best. This means matching your carbohydrate intake to the training that you do. This means eating more carbohydrates on your harder training days and restricting carbohydrate on your easier days.
This recipe makes a great lunch or supper for your easier training days. You can eat it straightaway or pack it into a container for a meal away from home. It is relatively low in carbohydrate but high in protein and healthy fats. It’s also packed with vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C, zinc, magnesium and folate, to help support your general health. Including onions, garlic, ginger and chilli also provide various compounds that boost immunity in particular, which is adversely affected by heavy training.
Egg Fried Quinoa with chicken, peppers and broccoli
Serves 1 Preparation and cooking time: 20 minutes
100g ready-cooked chicken
80g tenderstem broccoli
Half a red pepper
2 salad onions
Thumb of fresh ginger (or use 1 tsp from a jar)
1 garlic clove (or use 1 tsp from a jar)
1 tsp fresh red chilli (optional)
3 tsp coconut oil
2 tsp soya sauce (tamari for gluten free)
2 tsp lime juice
- Place the quinoa in a saucepan with c 250ml water. Bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on for 12-15 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is ‘fluffy’.
- In the meantime, chop the chicken, broccoli, pepper, onion, ginger, garlic and chilli into small pieces.
- Steam the broccoli for 5 minutes until lightly cooked.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk.
- Set up a wok and add 2 tsp of the coconut oil. Fry the ginger, garlic and chilli for 1 minute.
- Add the onion, pepper and lightly-cooked broccoli to the wok. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the cooked quinoa, chicken and tamari to the wok. Mix all the ingredients together and then push to one side, leaving space to add the eggs.
- Add the third tsp of oil to the wok, then pour in the egg. Cook until set.
- Fold the cooked egg into the other ingredients, breaking up the egg as you do so.
- Add the lime juice and some fresh herbs if wished. Serve in a bowl.
You can make many variations of this dish by using different vegetables and meat or fish. Some ideas are salmon and asparagus or prawns, leeks and mushrooms.
Jo Scott-Dalgleish BSc (Hons) is a BANT Registered Nutritionist, writing and giving talks about nutrition for endurance sport. Based in London, she also works as a Registered Nutritional Therapist, conducting one–to–one consultations with triathletes, distance runners and cyclists to help them eat well, be healthy and perform better through the creation of an individual nutritional plan. To learn more about these consultations, please visit www.nutritionforendurancesports.co.uk