Smoked Mackerel saladThis is my take on the traditional tuna nicoise salad, with some different ingredients to help optimise your nutritional intake as an endurance athlete. For example:

Smoked mackerel fillet in place of tinned tuna. The omega 3 content is higher, giving a greater anti-inflammatory benefit.

Avocado to provide monounsaturated fats to support heart health and vitamin E, an important anti-oxidant. More monounsaturated fats and vitamin E come from the traditional olives and the olive oil in the dressing.

Watercress, rocket and spinach instead of French beans to provide folic acid, which supports red blood cell production and therefore oxygen delivery, and vitamin C. Vitamin C is another anti-oxidant which works in concert with vitamin E, and is also required for a healthy immune system. Athletes have higher requirements for vitamin C than the general population, and it is also found in the tomato and the new potatoes.

Preparation & cooking time: 20 mins

Serves 1

Ingredients

100g new potatoes, chopped small to cook quickly

1 smoked mackerel fillet (pre-cooked)

1 egg

½ avocado

2 handfuls of rocket, watercress and spinach salad

2 large tomatoes, quartered, or 8 cherry tomatoes

1 inch chunk of cucumber, chopped

6 black olives, pitted and halved

2 tsp of capers (optional)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

Instructions

  1. Steam or boil the new potatoes for 15-20 minutes
  2. Hard boil the egg for 9-11 minutes (7 minutes if you like it softer)
  3. Chop the mackerel, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and olives into smaller pieces.
  4. Mix the lemon juice and olive oil into a dressing.
  5. Make a bed of the salad leaves then add the other vegetables.
  6. Cut the hard-boiled egg into slices or quarters
  7. Add the new potatoes, mackerel and egg to the salad.
  8. Top with the olives and capers.
  9. Pour over the dressing.

If you are having this as a recovery meal after exercise, consider having two eggs and a double portion of new potatoes to increase your protein and carbohydrate intake. This will aid your recovery. I also suggest making the salad up earlier in the day so that you can eat it as soon as you return from your training session.

Jo Scott-Dalgleish BSc (Hons) is a BANT Registered Nutritionist, writing and giving talks about nutrition for endurance sportBased in London, she also works as a Registered Nutritional Therapist, conducting onetoone 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