Protein is an important factor in our diet, along with carbohydrates and fat. Protein is a little bit like building blocks because it combines to make bone, muscles, skin and so on. They also help with moving nutrients around our bodies, so are very important.
We need a regular intake of proteins because we can’t store it very easily in our body, unlike fat. This means we need to replenish it before, during and after a workout. It helps repair and rebuild muscle, which is why we need it during and after working out.
Here are some great tasting protein packed recipes that you can try for pre, during and post workout.
- 2 large eggs
- A splash of milk
- A knob of butter
Whisk the eggs and milk together in a bowl, with a pinch of salt. Heat a non stick pan on a medium heat, and let the butter melt into it. Add the egg mixture, allowing it to cook for a few seconds and then stirring it. Repeat this until the eggs are cooked. Serve alone or on toast.
A great protein packed pre workout breakfast.
- 1 cup of porridge oats
- 1/2 cup of peanut butter
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut (optional)
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup of honey
Mix everything together in a bowl until it is well combined. You are looking for a good balance of not to dry (that it crumbles) or to sticky (that it wont set). You want the ingredients to come together just enough to roll into balls. Leave the mix to chill in the fridge for around half an hour. When the time is up, roll them into bite sized balls and you can then wrap them up individually.
These are perfect for during a run or a ride and can be eaten on the go for a more natural energy boost.
Spiced Salmon Skewers
- A handful of fresh oregano
- 1tsp ground cumin
- 1tbsp sesame seeds
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
- 2 salmon fillets (cut into 1 inch cubes)
- 2 lemons (sliced thinly)
- Drizzle of olive oil
Put your grill on medium. Mix the sesame seeds, oregano, cumin, chilli and salt together. Pierce the salmon cubes onto the skewers, with a folded slice of lemon between each piece. Drizzle some olive oil over each, ensuring it is well coated and sprinkle on your spice mix onto each. Cook under the grill, turning throughout until cooked. This will take around 5-8 minutes.
Perfect with a salad, baked potato or bread as a post workout meal.
The weather shouldn't dictate how healthy we are. Winter is notorious for making us want to stay in and eat lots. It isn't time to hibernate! Read our quick guide on how to get and maintain a healthy immune system this winter. Not only will it benefit you generally, it will really help you maintain your fitness, by being healthy from the inside out.
Dairy is your friend
Did you ever think you would get the chance to eat more cheese? Well you can! Just don't go crazy with it. Dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese and so on) are full of protein and vitamins B12 (which helps maintain energy and reduces the risk of heart disease) and A (helps your immune system work and can improve vision in low light). And of course it is full of calcium. Opt for skimmed, semi-skimmed or low fat when you can.
Catch up on your sleep
We never get enough sleep. The alarm goes off and you feel like you just closed your eyes. Winter is the perfect time to make use of the dark nights and go to bed a bit earlier. Getting the right amount of sleep will help recharge your body and brain ensuring you have enough energy to start each new day feeling refreshed. We need between 7 and 9 hours, so turn off the gadgets and get your head down.
Eat your 5 or 7 a day
Just keep it healthy. Eat well and your body will thank you. Eating fruit and vegetables is a basic fact, and we all know how it benefits us. Keep away from the sugary treats that surround us. If you get a sweet craving, hit the fruit bowl, or even dried fruits. For savoury options, root vegetables are in season and make great soups, can be roasted or mashed and added as part of a satisfying and healthy meal. See our guide on Clean Eating to give you more ideas.
Just because it is winter, it doesn't mean you need to scale back your fitness. Keeping fit naturally boosts our immune system and keeps the bugs at bay.
Supplement your diet
If you can’t get all the vitamins you need from food (and lets face it, it’s difficulty at the best of times), then consider using vitamin supplements. Zinc and vitamin C are really good for your immune system. A good all round multivitamin could be the answer.
Eat lots of fibre
Grains, like porridge, are great sources of fibre, and make the perfect winter breakfast. You can add in a portion of fruit and honey and get one of your 5 a day in. There are lots of ways to increase fibre in your diet, weather it is smoothies, raw veg, soup or cereals. Fibre helps keep your digestive track healthy, which enables your body to absorb the most out of everything you eat.
Soluble fibre, in particular, has been fond to help our immune system. It can be found in foods like peas, beans, citrus fruits and apples.
So snack healthy and keep fit.
Clean eating is one of those phrases that is being thrown about a lot at the moment, but what does it actually mean?
Well, basically, it is as simple as it sounds. There is no hidden agenda with clean eating, it just is what it is. It is the concept of eating mindfully and thinking about the foods we are eating from it’s origins to our plates. It is about eating whole foods or those that have been not processed (or processed as little as possible).
The closer they are to their natural state, the better. It sounds relatively simple right? But it can be a bit of a minefield, in that food production involves processes, even when we think we are eating whole foods. Porridge is a great example of something that we feel is good for us, but it has been processed to a point.
We also need to use a little bit of common sense here. If we make a kale smoothie (or porridge), despite the fact that it is processed (by you), it is still a cleaner food choice than a milkshake or crisps. Processed foods are linked to obesity and this is well documented, so it makes sense to avoid them as much as possible when thinking about health and fitness.
What are the benefits of clean eating?
Firstly, many studies have found that eating a plant based diet (fruit and vegetables) can really reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. And we know how important a healthy heart is. Secondly, clean foods provide vital nutrients to help maintain healthy organs, which are essential for fitness.
Eating clean doesn't put restrictions on how much you can eat, but done sensibly, it can help you lose weight. More than that, it can actually help boost your immune system and build muscle more efficiently.
By simply moving away from processed foods and additives and eating clean, can be noticed quite quickly in terms of you can see improved brain function, better sleep and better workouts. All because your body has the correct nutrients to do so.
When you go shopping it can be easy to get lured into the bargains and fattier foods. Go in with a list and stick to it. If you can, buy fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. Frozen is a good option too, but be aware of added sugar and salt. Always go for foods that look like they are in their most natural state.
Go for it!
Step away from the crisps and sugars. Make changes to your diet for a healthier inside, as well as outside. Your skin will improve as much as your gym routine. Eggs, for example, are a great clean food. And calorie for calorie the are an excellent source of protein, which we all know is essential for building muscle. Fish is another one, it is full of omega 3s (salmon is a good example), and can help slow the breakdown of muscle.
It is that simple. You spend hours training and working out to look and feel good on the outside, so make it easier on your body and consider clean eating where possible. Life is a balancing act, be flexible with your food choices and have a treat now and then.