What do world-class athletes eat? And more importantly, what can we steal from their healthy food must-haves for tasty summer dishes? In this mega month of sport, score yourself some scrummy meals with these winning ideas.
How do athletes’ diets differ?
Food is fuel, which is why athletes know the importance of what’s on the menu. Whether that’s a lean protein, low carb diet or a 6000-calorie discipline depends on their sport, but one thing they have in common is a switched-on attitude to food.
Unless you’re training for a marathon or lifting some serious weights, we don’t suggest you eat just like an athlete. But there are plenty of good tips and delicious dishes that you can take on board. Check these out…
Get your day on track
A balanced breakfast boosts energy and regulates blood sugar, so be sure to tuck in. For fibre and slow energy release, you can’t go wrong with oats, porridge being a firm fave with athletes. For a change, try it savoury or go chilled with overnight oats.
A portion of fresh fruit gives plenty of vitamins, minerals, fibre and flavour. Add it to yogurt and honey, or dollop on protein pancakes or homemade waffles as loved by Roger Federer. Do like Chris Hoy and whizz it up for a delicious drink, like this super red berry smoothie.
Lunch, for those in training, depends on whether it’s pre- or post-workout, to either give energy or help repair muscles. That might not be your concern but what’s on the menu is sure to grab your attention.
Eat a rainbow of veg with these fabulous spicy black bean burritos and get a good dose of healthy fats with this tuna, avocado and quinoa salad inspired by British runner Hannah England.
High in protein and low in carbs and calories, roasted shrimp with cannellini beans and feta makes a lip-smackingly good lunch. And if you’re short on time, there’s always beans on toast. If it’s good enough for Tom Daley…
Ask an athlete what they eat for dinner and grilled protein is likely to be the response. It’s no wonder: protein boosts immunity, benefits joints, and builds and repairs muscles. Grilling it retains nutrients and uses less fats – great reasons to get grilling! Chicken is Mo Farah’s protein of choice, while fish is many a footballer’s must-eat.
Full of healthy, vitamin- and mineral-rich unprocessed food, diets like the anti-inflammatory diet and whole food, plant-based diet are popular with sports people. Follow their lead with this easy recipe for Mediterranean veg. Bonus tip: herbs and spices are a great way of boosting flavour and antioxidants.
Snacks that pack power
Oranges at half time, bananas between sets; fruit has always been a favoured sports snack. A little of the dried stuff is great too so use it in mood-boosting trail mix, tasty fruit and nut bars and slump-busting energy balls.
Said to be one of Venus William’s go-to snacks, kale crisps are easy to make and incredibly moreish. And there’s no need to pass up the chocolate, just go dark. Make Olympic medallist Jazmin Carlin’s favourite chocolate and banana loaf with a little help from the Cake Factory.
With recipes this tasty, you’ll ace this summer’s menu!