Our bodies are designed to move and everyone should try to be active, even if you live an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. Make sure you're getting these 5 important foods into your diet whether you're a triathlete, bodybuilder, or weekend warrior.
Top of the list for their many health benefits are eggs. This natural 'super food' sometimes gets a bad rap due to the high cholesterol levels, however a healthy dose of eggs in your daily diet coupled with regular exercise and living a generally healthy lifestyle is nothing bad at all.
Why are eggs good for you?
The reason eggs are so good for building muscle is because they are a 'complete protein' meaning they contain all 9 essential amino acids, the ones that the human body can't produce itself, as well as 9 other non-essential amino acids. You can get around 13g of protein by eating two eggs which isn't a huge amount but will still be beneficial for building muscle.
Lean meat like turkey and chicken are fantastic foods for building muscle as they contain a high amount of protein and not much else; they have a very low carb and fat content and no nasties if they are not overly processed.
Why is turkey good for you? Why is turkey healthier than chicken?
Turkey has a marginally higher protein content than chicken – turkey on average has 29g of protein per 100g while chicken has 27g per 100g – and on average has fewer calories and a slightly lower fat content and so this means it is the poultry of choice for many bodybuilders. However, turkey can often be more expensive than chicken so really it's up to you as the differences in nutrition are minimal.
The white meat is lower in calories and fat than the dark meat so it's best to opt for the breast rather than leg if you can.
Grilled turkey breast served with vegetables is the ideal muscle-building meal and will also aid with fat loss as part of an overall healthy diet along with regular exercise.
When we think tuna, most people will think of canned tuna which has suffered a bad reputation n the past due to the fear that the elevated mercury levels can harm your health. However, tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can improve your heart health and strengthen your immune system.
Why is tuna good for you?
Tuna is another food that is very rich in protein, delivering around 30g of protein per 100g which puts it above everything else on this list in terms of protein content. It is also rich in potassium which can lower your blood pressure as well as Vitamin B which strengthens your bones.
Tuna is popular in Asian cuisine and is very healthy and rich in protein.
The 'low fat' movement was hugely debunked by many scientists, bloggers, and anyone interested in being truly healthy. We now know that if a food is being marketed as 'low fat' it's probably high in sugar and/or various other nasty chemicals. However, Greek yogurt will always be a great option that is truly low in fat without any of the compromise.
Why is Greek yogurt good for you?
Greek yogurt is unique because it goes through a straining process to remove the whey which contains lactose, a natural sugar found in dairy. It is the removal of the whey that makes Greek yogurt taste so much sharper than other yogurts but it is also what makes it lower in sugar and therefore better for your health.
Unflavoured Greek yogurt with no added sugar or flavourings contains on average only around 60 calories per 100 g and 10 g of protein, so nearly as much as your two eggs with a tiny fraction of the cholesterol. Greek yogurt is also rich in calcium and potassium, two nutrients which are great for building bone strength and keeping you healthy.
Due to the fact the lactose is strained out of Greek yogurt, it is one of the most easily digestible dairy products and can even be eaten by some people who need to follow a free-from diet.
Greek yogurt is strained to remove the lactose so it is healthier than regular yogurt, but be careful how you eat it as added sugar in toppings could undo its healthiness.
Not many people realise this but a truly healthy diet will feature two portions of fish and/or oily fish per week, of which salmon is a prime example.
Why is salmon good for you?
Oily fish like salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are excellent for heart health and the equally rich protein content will help with your muscle building endeavours. Salmon contains on average 20g of protein per 100g putting in the middle of the range on this list but still putting it in the 'high' category in general.
Do you struggle to get enough protein into your diet? Did you buy an expensive protein powder and have no idea how to introduce it into your diet? Or just looking for a new and healthy breakfast to replace that boring cereal? Protein pancakes are a quick and easy way to have a highly nutritious and tasty breakfast! Here is one of our favourite recipes!
- 1 sachet of Wheybox chocolate orange whey protein
- 50g egg whites
- 1 medium-sized overripe banana
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Use a hand mixer to blend up all the ingredients until well mixed.
- Heat some coconut oil in a pan and tip in your pancake mix, 1 heaped tbsp at a time.
- Leave to cook for a couple of minutes. These pancakes don't use flour so they are slightly more fragile than usual, therefore you should cook the other side by folding them in half into a half moon shape!
- Leave for another couple of minutes then pile on your plate and top with yogurt, nut butter and popcorn!
Thanks to the banana, these pancakes have a soft texture and are naturally quite sweet.
Chocolate brownies are a classic indulgence. Soft, stodgy, and moreish - they can be a difficult craving to ignore! Which is why we're bringing you this fantastic healthy brownie recipe, which is vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and even high protein! It's a delicious recipe and will make the perfect post-workout snack without the guilt!
- 2 medium, overripe bananas
- 113g smooth peanut butter
- 57g protein powder (use plant-based for vegan)
- 28g cocoa powder
- Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 4. Line a small square baking dish or skillet with parchment paper or grease well. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mash the banana with a fork and then mix in the peanut butter. Whisk until fully combined.
- Stir in the protein powder and cocoa powder with a wooden spoon. Pour the batter into the greased/lined pan.
- Bake for 12-20 minutes or until cooked through.
- Cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting.
- Cover the leftovers and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Enjoy cold or at room temperature!
Ever wondered what a personal trainer eats in a day? How do they stay so lean and fit? Sundried ambassador Matt Boyles talks us through what he eats in a day.
Breakfast - Protein Shake
Some people take a while to recover their appetite in the morning, but as soon as I open my eyes I’m ravenous and I’m always thinking about food. As a Personal Trainer, I have to be up early to train clients, so I need something convenient that feeds me and my muscles without needing to get up two hours early to chew and digest it. Because of that, I usually start with a high calorie, high protein, high carb Mass Gainer shake. It tastes delicious and delivers the macros and energy I need to get me through three consecutive sessions on Clapham Common from 6.15am. I also add in some fibre in the form of 5g of Psyllium husks and top it off with 3g of Creatine.
I’m always studying and researching health, fitness and mindset as I know I don’t have all the answers. Over the summer, I’ve specifically been using flexible dieting on myself, and introducing the concept to various clients.
Flexible dieting means eating set ratios of protein, carbs and fats each day, keeping to an overall calorie target too. It was surprisingly easy to fit into my life, just using a food diary to track what I eat, getting better at hitting my numbers each day.
What this means is I can eat what I want, as long as it fits into my macros. Not that I’m advocating eating 3,000 calories of ice cream, it's within reason! I apply the 80:20 rule to the quality of food I eat (80% of it is good quality, healthy stuff, 20%... is less so), but it means that if I do want to eat something ‘bad’ I can, as long as I keep an eye on my tracker.
When I’m on it and being really good, I’ll prep lots of meals on Sunday night so they’re always to hand and this means I don’t have to make any stressful decisions when I’m hungry. Plus, I know what’s gone into them, so they’re traceable.
Lunch - Sushi Box
I believe I invented sushi boxes! Very simply, you cook up some sushi rice, buy some sushi-grade fish, then line a Tupperware box with Nori seaweed, chuck in the rice, chuck in the fish (chopped into chunks for convenience), chuck in half an avocado (also chopped up), pop some wasabi in the corner and you’re done! (My Japanese client says I haven’t invented these and they’ve been around for years, but what does she know).
Three of these boxes will keep me going during the day.
If I’m going to the gym for me, I’ll also have a post workout shake, containing 50g of whey protein, 500ml of skimmed milk, a squeeze of honey and 3g of creatine.
Dinner - Home cooked meal
My partner Tom and I will alternate turns cooking. Generally it will follow the formula I’ve applied all day: good protein, good carbs, some veg. However Tom is French, so there will also usually be some bread and cheese on the table, but you know, everything in moderation!
If you're anything like me, getting your five-a-day is pretty hard, especially those bitter green vegetables. Making your own homemade smoothies is an amazing way to get some extra vitamins and nutrients into your daily diet, as well as keeping hunger at bay between meals!
My Superfood Spinach Smoothie is something I make daily as it has so many amazing health benefits and kerbs the afternoon hunger cravings before dinner. It contains matcha green tea powder which has the same health benefits as drinking 10 cups of green tea! I personally cannot stand the taste of green tea, so drinking 1 cup a day would be a struggle, let alone 10! However, green tea has some incredible proven health benefits such as balancing your hormones, increasing your metabolism, and improving the quality of your skin, hair, and nails.
This recipe also contains protein powder making it very high in protein so it's a great boost if you struggle to hit your daily protein intake or are just fed up of eating endless chicken breasts. The smoothie is packed with spinach so that you can also reap the many health benefits of this vegetable, which include improving iron levels, improving your mood, and preventing you from getting lethargic! It really is a magic recipe, it almost feels like cheating the system! It tastes great, and will really help you to achieve your health and fitness goals.
300ml of soy milk (or almond/coconut milk if you prefer)
1 scoop of protein powder (of your choice, I use chocolate flavoured whey protein)
1 scoop of matcha green tea powder
1/2 a banana
2 generous handfuls of spinach
Place all the ingredients into a processor and blend them together until you have a smoothie. I use a hand whizzer, similar to the Nutribullet.
Makes 1 serving - drink immediately, do not store
Calories - 255
Fat - 4.7g
Carbs - 19.4g
Protein - 31.4g
Please note that this smoothie is not designed to be used a meal replacement and we do not recommend skipping meals to achieve weight loss.