Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Feeling a little peckish? Suitable lunch time meals

Aims
The role of lunch for an athlete is twofold. Its first is to assist with the recovery process after a morning training session  (if relevant), and the second is to ensure that your muscle glycogen stores are topped up ready for an afternoon/evening session. It has a third role in that it will also help concentration and energy levels in the afternoon for those at college or in employment.

Your training demands and needs will influence the size and content of this meal. Those who have a hard training session in the late afternoon/evening should take care to ensure that they are adequately fuelled.

Try to avoid missing lunch - you will often find this leads to more unhealthy food choices/snacks later in the day.

Examples
Salad Bar - Salad is a good option to start your meal as it provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Energy content is low, but you can increase this by including bread, jacket potatoes, pasta or rice. Add slices of chicken, ham or beans, pulses and nuts to increase the protein content. Beware of salad dressings which can be high in fat.

Soups - Vegetable soups are another easy way of getting a variety of nutrients in, and can be a substantial energy provider which is sometimes easier to consume and welcoming in the winter months. Homemade soups can be easy to make and to suit an individual’s taste and needs. Again you can boost the energy by eating with wholegrain bread, or by adding pasta.

Pasta/rice - Pasta and rise dishes are a good source of carbohydrate and are an even better option if you can choose wholegrain. Combine with a protein source such as fish or chicken and a sauce for a flavor. Adding a variety of vegetables to your pasta meal is a quick and easy way to increase nutrient variety of your meal.

Jacket Potato - Jacket potatoes can provide a quick easy energy source, and will digest quickly avoiding leaving you feeling uncomfortable before your training session. Including a high protein source such as tuna or chicken or even baked beans will give you an all-round high quality meal.

Dessert
Yoghurts and fruit are excellent choices for dessert, due to their nutritional value and low fat content. Although treat desserts are appealing, try to limit the intake of these at every meal and have a varied choice. Yoghurt is a good source of protein and good choices offer a good source of vitamins and low in fat and sugars. Combining with fruit will also add to the nutritional content of the meal.

Alongside the meal, ensure that at lunch and throughout the day you are taking fluids in to ensure hydration before a later training session.

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