Your lunch hour is a great time to cram in an extra run. But, if you’re looking to get the most from your training, don’t skip lunch. While it may be tempting to grab an energy bar at your desk, it is unlikely to provide sufficient nutrients to sustain energy levels and avoid the afternoon slump. A little planning can help you to create a nourishing lunch that’s quick and will refuel you fast. Try these delicious recipes put together by nutritioust Christine Bailey.
Hearty minestrone soup
This soup can be taken into work and reheated. Serve with plain oatcakes for additional slow-releasing carbs and follow with a small pot of Greek yogurt with a handful of goji berries and nuts.
Why eat it?
This soup is a good source of protein, fibre and antioxidants to keep you feeling full and energised. Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, potassium and iron, plus plenty of beta-carotene to support immune function. The yogurt provides probiotics to support a healthy immune system and the nuts, fruit and vegetables deliver antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin E to improve recovery.
■ 2tbsp olive oil
■ 2 carrots, roughly chopped
■ 1 red onion, chopped
■ 4 rashers bacon, finely chopped
■ 3 sticks celery, chopped
■ 2 garlic cloves, crushed
■ 2 leeks, sliced
■ 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into dice
■ 400g can chopped tomatoes
■ 600ml chicken or vegetable stock
■ 1/4 Savoy cabbage, shredded, or bunch of Swiss chard stemmed and chopped
■ 410g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
■ 2tbsp parsley, chopped
■ 2tbsp freshly grated parmesan
■ Sea salt and black pepper to serve
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the bacon, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, leeks and potato over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cabbage and beans and cook for a further 10 minutes. Season to taste.
- Stir in the parsley and scatter over the Parmesan cheese.
253kcal, protein 11.9g, carbohydrates 28.9g, sugars 13.6g, fat 9.9g, saturates 2.9g
Per serving including oat cakes yoghurt, berries and nuts:
642kcal, protein 30.3g, carbohydrates 71.1g, sugars 29.8g, fat 26.4g, saturates 5.2g
Feta cheese spinach frittata
Make this frittata the day before and eat cold or reheat when needed. Serve with a bag of mixed salad and follow with our chocolate protein brownie (see recipe opposite).
Why eat it?
Eggs are a high-protein food and contain all the crucial amino acids your hard-working muscles need to promote recovery. They also contain vitamin K, which is vital for healthy bones, plus choline, a brain nutrient that aids memory. Serve with plenty of leafy greens to provide magnesium, B vitamins and folate – all important for energy levels.
■ 1tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
■ 1 small onion, diced
■ 1/2 red pepper, chopped
■ 1/2 cooked sweet potato, sliced
■ 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
■ 10 eggs
■ 100g feta cheese, crumbled
■ Sea salt and black pepper
■ Bag of salad to serve
- Preheat the grill to high.
- Whisk the eggs in a bowl and season.
- Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan. Add the onion, pepper and sauté for one minute to soften. Stir in the spinach and sweet potato and stir until the spinach has wilted. Pour the vegetables into the egg mixture.
- Add a little more oil in the pan and pour in the egg and vegetables. Cook over a low heat for two to three minutes. Place under the grill and cook for five to six minutes until golden.
320kcal, protein 20.7g, carbohydrates 10.5g, sugars 4.8g, fat 21.6g, saturates 7.8g
Salmon niçoise salad
This is a delicious, protein-packed salad full of beneficial omega 3 antiinflammatory fats. Using walnut oil or an omega blend oil in the dressing is an easy way to further boost your intake of these healthy fats. This can be assembled the night before in minutes.
Why eat it?
Leafy greens are packed with antioxidants to ward off muscle damage brought on by workouts. Salmon is a great source of protein and omega-3 fats. These fats help balance the body’s inflammation response, reducing muscle soreness.
■ 2 cooked and hot smoked salmon fillets, flaked (or whole)
■ 1 sweet potato cut into large chunks
■ 60g French beans
■ 30g black olives, pitted
■ Bag of leafy greens
■ 2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
■ 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
■ 3tbsp olive oil
■ 2tbsp capers
■ Juice of 1/2 lemon
■ Zest of 1 lemon
■ 1tsp Dijon mustard
■ 2tbsp chopped fresh herbs e.g.
■ Salt and black pepper
- Cook the sweet potato in boiling water for five minutes or until just tender. At the end of cooking add the beans and blanch for one to two minutes, then drain with the potato.
- Place the potato and beans in a large bowl and gently toss in the salad leaves, olives and tomatoes. Add the salmon and eggs.
- Whisk all the dressing ingredients together. Season to taste. Drizzle over the salad just before serving.
504kcal, protein 30.2g, carbohydrates 21.9g sugars 7.3g fat 32.8g saturates 5.8g