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Healthy meal ideas fit for an Olympic athlete

Healthy meal ideas fit for an Olympic athlete

Wondering how Olympic athletes keep their bodies and minds fuelled for long training sessions? Beyond the regular protein shakes and quick healthy snacks, athletes must keep themselves nourished with healthy meals, packed with all the right nutrients and vitamins to help aid recovery between sessions.

With searches for ‘benefits of a healthy diet’ up 100% in the past year, it’s clear many of us are becoming more concerned with what we’re eating and how important it is to keep ourselves nourished with all the right foods. So, why not try out a meal inspired by those consumed by the diets of a professional athlete?

We’ve teamed up with nutritionist consultant Jenna Hope to reveal two recipes fit for an Olympian. Whilst these are incredibly healthy and nutritious, they’re also easy to make with ingredients you probably already have at home!

Quinoa and Black Bean Burrito Recipe

Ingredients:

Serves 2

For the quinoa: 

  • 60g Red and white quinoa (you can use white quinoa) 
  • Pinch of salt and pepper 
  • Juice of half a lime 

For the black beans: 

  • 1 Tsp of olive oil
  • 1 Tsp minced garlic 
  • 1 Tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1 Tsp cumin 
  • 1 Tsp paprika 
  • 2 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g can black beans
  • Generous pinch of salt and pepper 

For the tomato salsa: 

  • 1 White onion 
  • 2 Large tomatoes 
  • Handful of coriander 
  • Juice of half a lime 
  • Pinch of chilli flakes (optional) 
  • Pinch of salt and pepper 

To serve: 

  • 2 Wholemeal wraps 
  • 2 Tbsp Greek yoghurt or dairy free alternative 
  • 1 Handful of fresh spinach 

Method:

1. Cook the quinoa as per the cooking instructions. 

2. Whilst the quinoa is cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan, once heated stir in the garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, paprika, tomato puree and chopped tomatoes and leave to cook over a low heat for 2- 3 minutes. 

3. Next, stir in the black beans and cook for a further 15-20 minutes on a medium heat. 

4. Once the quinoa is cooked stir through the salt, pepper and lime juice. 

5. Next, chop the onion and tomatoes into chunks, add the coriander, lime juice, chilli flakes (if you’re using them), salt and pepper. Stir well. 

6. Finally serve up by laying the spinach, quinoa and bean mix into a wholemeal wrap, then add the salsa and the Greek yoghurt or dairy free alternative and wrap up well! Enjoy! 

This recipe is the perfect post workout meal as it’s quick to make but rich in plant-based protein to help support muscle recovery. Quinoa is considered a complete protein meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, however the essential ones we need cannot be synthesised in the body and must be consumed through the diet. 

The black beans, quinoa and wholemeal wrap provides a source of carbohydrates to help replenish used glycogen stores. Black beans are also rich in magnesium which is important in supporting recovery through muscle and nerve relaxation. 

Lastly, the spices and tomatoes provide antioxidants which help to remove free radicals produced naturally through exercise. High levels of free radicals can contribute to cell damage and therefore consume antioxidant rich foods such as spices and tomatoes is an important component of training recovery.

Salmon and Deep Greens Gnocchi

Ingredients:

Serves 2

  • 2 Filets of salmon 
  • Juice of ½ lemon 
  • Handful of fresh dill 300g of fresh gnocchi 
  • 60g Reduced fat cream cheese 
  • 100g peas 
  • 100g spinach 
  • Generous pinch of salt and pepper 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. 

2. Place the salmon on a lined tray. Add the salt, pepper and lemon juice, finely chop the fresh dill and then cover over into a parcel. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes. 

3. Heat a pan of boiling water and boil the gnocchi for 2-3 minutes. 

4. Drain the gnocchi and return to the pot with the peas, spinach and reduced fat cream cheese. Place over a low to medium heat and stir until the spinach and peas are cooked. You may wish to add a touch more salt, pepper or lemon at this stage. 

5. Once the salmon is cooked, remove the skin and flake into the Gnocchi. Serve immediately and enjoy! 

This recipe is ideal for a quick post training meal and is full of B vitamins needed for supporting energy production. 

Gnocchi is made of potatoes which provide a great source of carbohydrates to help replenish lost glycogen, and the salmon is a source of protein and omega-3. Protein is important for muscle repair and recovery whilst the omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce inflammation that can occur through exercise. 

The peas (another source of protein) and the spinach contain magnesium and iron which are crucial for transporting oxygen around the body, a vital necessity for those engaging in aerobic exercise. Finally, the cream cheese also provides a source of calcium to help support bone health which is essential if you’re exercising regularly. 

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our recipe blog for more meal ideas.

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