The key to exercise performance is carbohydrate. Topping up your carbohydrate stores a few hours before you start improves endurance and replacing lost stores after you have finished speeds up recovery. It is recommended that post-exercise the ideal snack should provide 1g of carbohydrate per kilogram body weight and 0.5g of protein. This should be consumed along with a bottle of water within 30 minutes of finishing training, followed by a high carbohydrate meal within two hours.
Slow burn breakfast cereal
Although there are plenty of good-quality, low sugar breakfast cereals around, you can’t beat making your own, as you then have complete control over what you put in it to suit your taste and exercise needs. This combination of fast- and slow-acting carbohydrate ingredients is perfect before a training session. The raisins and sultanas release their carbohydrate quickly giving you a burst of energy as you start to exercise. The oats, other grains, apricots and apple all provide slow-release carbohydrate, which will sustain energy levels throughout the session.
Makes 12 portions
Per portion: 168 kcal, 4g protein, 3g fat, 32g carbohydrate
- 200g rolled oats
- 100g millet flakes
- 25g rye flakes
- 100ml apple juice
- 25g sesame seeds
- 25g linseeds
- 75g dried apricots, finely chopped
- 75g dried figs, tough stalks removed, finely chopped
- 50g stoned dates, chopped
- 25g raisins
- 25g sultanas
Preheat the oven to 180′C/350′F/Gas mark 4.
Put all the ingredients except the dried fruit into a bowl and mix thoroughly, then tip onto a roasting tray. Spread the dry ingredients out so that they bake evenly. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until everything starts to turn a little toasted and golden brown. Stir the mixture a couple of times during cooking to ensure that it browns evenly. Take out of the oven and allow to cool before adding the dried fruits. Mix well and store in an airtight container for up to a month.
The night before you want to eat the cereal, put about 30-50g into a bowl and add just enough semi-skimmed or skimmed milk to cover. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning add 1/2 a grated apple and mix well.
Mango and banana smoothie
Smoothies make the perfect energy boosting snacks between meals or after exercise. The vitamins and antioxidants in the fruit will keep your body nourished and healthy.
Per portion: 95 kcal, 3g protein, 0g fat, 20g carbohydrate
- Half a mango, roughly chopped
- Small can of pineapple chunks in juice
- Small knob of root ginger, peeled
- Juice of 1 lime
- Half a banana
- 2 tbsp. 0% fat Greek yoghurt
In a blender, whiz together the mango, pineapple, ginger, lime juice and banana. Blend with the yoghurt and pour into a flask. Keep chilled in the fridge until ready to take with you.
Creamy Quinoa Mushroom Risotto
Quinoa is a superior source of protein compared with most grains, and provides plenty of the minerals magnesium and potassium. Mushrooms are also a good source of potassium making this a good dish a good choice for those worried about their blood pressure. Potassium helps to counteract the effects of sodium (salt) and keep blood pressure balanced.
Per portion: 420 kcal, 10g fat, 15g protein, 65g carbohydrate
- 300ml boiling water
- 15g mixed dried mushrooms
- 900ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 200g white closed cup mushrooms, sliced
- 200g brown closed cup mushrooms, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 175g quinoa
- 175g risotto rice
- 100ml dry white wine (cooking evapourates the alcohol)
- 25g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp. snipped fresh basil leaves
Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl, cover with the boiling water and leave to soak for 10mins, drain, reserving the liquid and chop the mushrooms. Place the chicken stock in a large pan, add the dried mushroom liquid and slowly bring to the boil, leave on a gentle simmer. Heat half the oil in a large pan, add the mushrooms and sauté over a high heat for 2-3mins until golden brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan, add the onion and sauté for 2-3mins. Add the chopped dried mushrooms, garlic, quinoa and rice and stir for 30 seconds. Add the wine and gently simmer, stirring until the liquid has evapourated. Add a ladleful of the hot stock to the rice mixture and cook, stirring until the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat until the rice is tender and the stock has all been used about 15-20mins. Stir in the reserved mushrooms, parmesan and basil.
Spaghetti with sardines and orange
Athletes need plenty of omega 3 fats to boost immunity and help prevent the colds and infections that they are prone to. Try this fresh and zesty spaghetti with the oily goodness of sardines. The pine nuts are a good source of zinc needed to build muscle and the wholewheat pasta is an easy way to eat extra fibre
Per portion: 575 kcal, 20g fat, 26g protein, 77g carbohydrate
- 25g sultanas
- Juice 1/2 orange and zest 1 orange
- 200g wholewheat spaghetti
- 1 tbsp. pine nuts
- 120g can sardines in tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
In a small bowl, soak the sultanas in the orange juice. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions. While cooking, toast the pine nuts in a small frying pan until golden brown. Drain the pasta and return to the pan with a little of the cooking water. Add the sardines and roughly flake into the pasta with a fork. Stir in the sultanas and orange juice, olive oil and season. Heat through gently then sprinkle with orange zest, parsley and chopped garlic.
Herby rice salad
Per portion: 400 kcal, 11g protein, 17g fat, 52g carbohydrate
- 150g wholegrain rice
- 100g green beans, trimmed
- 4 spears of Tenderstem broccoli
- 50g spinach leaves, washed and stalks removed
- 50g frozen peas
- 1/2 a cucumber, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 6 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 10 torn fresh basil
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh coriander
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaved parsley
- 1 avocado, stone removed, flesh chopped
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- juice of 1 lime
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Boil the rice in a large pan of water according to the packet instructions. Drain and wash through with lots of running cold water to cool it down quickly. Steam or boil the green beans, broccoli, spinach and peas for just for a couple of minutes until they’re slightly cooked but still crunchy. Run under cold water and set aside.
Place the cucumber, tomatoes, avocado and herbs in a large serving bowl. Cut the green beans in half and the broccoli into small bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl, along with the rice. Squeeze over the lime juice, drizzle over the oil, season with pepper and toss together.
Penne with asparagus
Per portion: 570 kcal, 11g fat, 25g protein, 97g carbohydrate
- 200g penne
- 100g asparagus tips, halved
- 100g fine beans, halved
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 50g fresh breadcumbs
- 2 tbsp. half fat crème fraîche
- 2 tbsp. green pesto
- 1 tbsp. grated Parmesan
- Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Tip in the pasta and cook for 8 minutes, adding the asparagus and beans for the last 2 minutes of the cooking time. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan and, when hot, fry the breadcrumbs for 2-3 minutes until they are golden. Drain the pasta and green vegetables, and then return to the pan with the crème fraîche, pesto and plenty of pepper. Serve in warmed bowls, scattered with the breadcrumbs and parmesan.
Broad bean risotto
Per portion: 545 kcal, 15g fat, 21g protein, 68g carbohydrate
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 400g shelled broad beans
- 2 tbsp. grated parmesan
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 50g olive oil spread
- 75g cubetti di pancetta
- 300g risotto rice
- 4 tbsp dry vermouth
- Freshly ground black pepper
Bring the stock to a simmer in a large pan. In another large thick-bottomed pan, melt the spread and add the onion and pancetta. Cook for 15 minutes to soften, then add the rice and stir to coat each grain. Add the vermouth, stir until it is absorbed by the rice and then add the broad beans. Add the hot stock, ladle by ladle, only adding more when the last amount has been absorbed. Stir, and continue adding the stock for about 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked. Stir in the parmesan and season with freshly ground black pepper.