An athlete who performs at their best is also a healthy athlete. Fundamental to good health is meeting your vitamin and mineral requirements. A healthy diet for an endurance athlete isn’t just about making sure you are eating enough calories to meet the energy requirements of your training and everyday life, and within that a suitable balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein. Continue reading
This curry makes a perfect winter recovery meal after a chilly bike ride or long run. The potatoes and five different vegetables provide carbohydrates to replenish muscle glycogen stores, while the hard-boiled eggs, peas and red lentils provide protein to support muscle recovery.
The various vegetables and spices add extra nutritional benefits to help keep you healthy through the winter months:
- Potatoes, red pepper and onion are great sources of vitamin C to support immune function.
- Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and anti-microbial garlic helps to fight bacterial infections.
- Ginger has been shown to help reduce muscle soreness after exercise.
- Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable containing glucosinolates that help support your body’s detoxication processes.
- This curry is also high in fibre to help maintain a healthy digestive function.
- Lastly, the salt in the Bouillon powder will contribute towards replenishing sodium lost in sweat, as will the natural sodium in the plant foods. Continue reading
A gel, a sugary sports drink or a bar packed with synthetic ingredients is the last thing that some endurance athletes want to consume while they are training or even racing. It might be that their digestive system simply cannot cope, particularly over a long session or race. It might be that they resent paying for often expensive branded products, which may include unnecessary ingredients in small, ineffective amounts. Or it might be that they simply prefer eating foods that are in their natural form or at least minimally processed, such as a bar with all natural ingredients. If you are one of these athletes, then this blog post is for you. Continue reading
If you are training for an endurance sports event, when it comes to nutrition you probably think about starchy carbs for energy first, followed by protein for recovery and muscle repair. But how much thought do you give to the amount and type of vegetables and fruit that you consume each day? Continue reading
I hear your comment as you read the title of this blog post: Eat seven different vegetables and fruit a day? Surely we should be aiming for five a day? But what you may not realise is that the original ‘5 a Day’ message that was introduced into the UK and elsewhere about 20 years ago as a public health target is just a marketing term. It isn’t actually based on any research that suggests that getting your five a day is some kind of ‘magic bullet’ which reduces risk of ill health and disease. The sad fact is that the majority of the population are still falling well short of consuming 5 portions of vegetables and fruit on a daily basis. Just getting them to ‘5 A Day’ would be an achievement.
I love the concept of ‘nutrient density’ – packing as much nutrition into my meals and snacks as possible, to ensure that I have sufficient vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to meet my energy production and recovery needs. Good nutrition is, after all, about much more than just how many calories to eat and how much should come from carbohydrates, protein and fat.
Here is one of my favourite lunch recipes, Superfoods Salad, where I combine many highly nutritious ingredients together in a bowl. It works well as my lunch on a day when I have trained in the morning before breakfast and might be training again in the early evening, after a further snack. If you are training in the afternoon, I suggest adding some extra carbohydrate to your lunch such as a banana or slice of wholegrain bread with honey or almond butter.
Recipe makes enough for 1 person.
Preparation time: up to 30 minutes, quicker if you used pre-cooked rice and salmon.
Half a pack of watercress, rocket and spinach salad
60g of brown rice (or 100g pre-cooked)
30g of quinoa (or 50g pre-cooked)
100-150g salmon fillet
1 large raw carrot
1 small raw beetroot
5 broccoli florets or 5 stems of tenderstem broccoli
Half an avocado
2 teaspoons of pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds
1 tsp of olive oil for the salmon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for the dressing
Juice of half a lemon
- Cook the rice in boiling water for 30 minutes and the quinoa for 15 minutes (unless pre-cooked from a sachet – try the Seeds of Change range in the UK).
- Wrap the salmon in foil with a tsp of olive oil drizzled over. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes at gas mark 6, 180 degrees. Or buy pre-cooked.
- Steam the broccoli for 7-8 minutes.
- Chop the avocado
- Make a base for the salad from the dark green leaves and then add the cooked rice and quinoa.
- Grate the carrot and beetroot over the leaves and grains.
- Add the cooked salmon, the steamed broccoli and the chopped avocado to your bowl.
- Sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds.
- Mix the extra virgin olive oil together with the lemon juice and add to the salad as a dressing.
Here’s a summary of the nutrients you’ll be obtaining from this salad:
|Folate||Red blood cell production, DNA synthesis and repair||Broccoli, watercress, spinach, rocket, beetroot|
|Vitamin C||Immune system support, anti-oxidant||Broccoli, watercress, spinach, rocket, pomegranate, beetroot, lemon juice|
|B vitamins||Energy production||Brown rice, quinoa, salmon|
|Vitamin E||Anti-oxidant, skin health||Avocado, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate|
|Beta carotene (converted to vitamin A)||Immune system support, anti-oxidant, digestive health||Carrot, pomegranate, beetroot|
|Vitamin B12||Red blood cell production, nervous system support, energy production||Salmon|
|Magnesium||Energy production, muscle recovery||Brown rice, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, spinach, rocket, watercress, beetroot|
|Iron||Red blood cell production, energy production||Pumpkin seeds, pomegranate, beetroot|
|Calcium||Bone health||Pumpkin seeds|
|Zinc||Immune system support, digestive health||Pumpkin seeds|
|Selenium||Anti-oxidant, thyroid function||Salmon|
|Fibre||Digestive health||Brown rice, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate, broccoli, beetroot|
|Nitrate||Efficient use of oxygen||Beetroot, broccoli, watercress|
|Omega 3 polyunsaturated fat||Anti-inflammatory||Salmon, pumpkin seeds|
|Monounsaturated fat||Heart health||Olive oil, avocado|
|Protein||Muscle recovery, hormonal health, bone and joint health, immune system support||Salmon, quinoa, pumpkin seeds|
|Carbohydrate||Energy availability||Brown rice, quinoa and all the vegetables.|
That’s quite a list of benefits from one salad. I hope you’ll agree that this Superfoods Salad is well worth making. Enjoy!
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
If you are training for and competing in endurance sports, such as running, cycling and triathlon, there’s a good chance that your personal characteristics include being determined, driven, purposeful, competitive and even perfectionist. You probably set high standards and targets for yourself, and challenge yourself to meet them. This is likely to be the case in your work life and personal life, as well as in relation to your chosen sport. These characteristics help to make you a winner! Continue reading