Nutri­tion

Australian Mountain Bike - - Contents - WORDS: ZOE WILSON

Man­ag­ing work, fam­ily, a so­cial life and train­ing? Some­times what we eat can fall to the bot­tom of the pri­or­ity list which means we’re not fu­elling well enough to per­form at our best. In­stead, get your nutri­tion sorted with these sim­ple steps.

Rid­ing to po­ten­tial on a diet of pro­cessed foods and last minute food de­ci­sions is near im­pos­si­ble. Healthy eat­ing for train­ing re­quires a good mix of healthy carbs for en­ergy (think whole­grain bread, rice, pasta or starchy veg­gies), lean pro­teins for re­cov­ery (think lean meat, fish, eggs or dairy), healthy fats for en­ergy (olive oil, av­o­cado and nuts for ex­am­ple) and lots of vi­ta­mins and min­er­als to sup­port your im­mune sys­tem and help with re­cov­ery (this is where your fresh fruit and veg­gies come in). If you are con­stantly reach­ing for the clos­est lunch or snack op­tion or or­der­ing take­away foods to get you by, you’ll be eat­ing more un­healthy fats, salt and su­gar and com­pro­mis­ing your per­for­mance. If this sounds like you, do not fear. A few sim­ple steps can have your food or­gan­ised no mat­ter where you are and get you on the path to tear­ing up the trails with end­less en­ergy in no time.

STEP 1. Plan your meals like you do your train­ing.

You plan your train­ing each week, so think about plan­ning your meals, too. Find a few min­utes each week to sit down and plan what you’ll eat each night dur­ing the week. Think about what is on this week. Do you have any meals out planned? Are there any late fin­ishes at work, or things on the fam­ily cal­en­dar that need to be con­sid­ered? It may be that you pull some­thing out of the freezer or whip up an omelette that night. Once you’ve got din­ners sorted, move onto lunches then break­fasts and snacks. It of­ten helps to keep break­fast and lunch pretty sim­ple and to ro­tate be­tween a cou­ple of sta­ples. The less de­ci­sions you have to make, the bet­ter. Eggs on toast or oats or muesli with some stewed fruit

and nuts are sim­ple go-to break­fast op­tions. You can even dou­ble up the eggs on toast as lunch if you get stuck. Ide­ally for lunch and din­ner you want to aim for a meal that is half veg­gies or salad, a quar­ter pro­tein and quar­ter carbs. How­ever, if you’re un­der a heavy train­ing load, you’ll want to change this to thirds of each for a bit more fuel. You also want to vary your pro­tein and veg­gies so you get a good bal­ance with lots of dif­fer­ent colours. Aim for red meat 3-4 times and week, fish 2-3 times a week and chicken/pork/ turkey/eggs at other meals. Stock the kitchen Once you have your meals planned, write a shop­ping list and stock the kitchen. Ar­riv­ing home after a long day to an empty fridge is a sure fire way to push you to dial the lo­cal pizza joint. Choose a day each week to shop (go at off peak times so it’s not such a pun­ish!). Out­side of the items you need for your planned meals, make sure you have sim­ple, ver­sa­tile, healthy sta­ples that can used in an emer­gency in the fridge and pantry. Frozen veg­gies and berries, whole­grain bread, pasta and brown rice, eggs, tins of beans and tuna, a jar of pesto, nuts and seeds, mince, a packet of crisp­bread and some nut but­ter are all great ideas as they can be thrown to­gether in a mul­ti­tude of ways. Cook ahead When plan­ning your meals, think about things you can cook ahead and re­heat when you get home. At this time of year, a slow cooker will be your best friend. Chuck ev­ery­thing in, leave the house, come home and voila! Din­ner is served. The best bit about slow cooked meals like ragu, cur­ries and soups is that they freeze well so you can cook in big batches so you get mul­ti­ple meals from one bit of ef­fort. You can prep the veg­gies to go with your meals in ad­vance as well… roast a big tray of veg­gies, chop and store your stir-fry veg­gies in a con­tainer in the fridge ready to go, or prep a big salad (just save the dress­ing un­til you’re ready to eat it so it doesn’t go soggy). Also think a bit broader and prep your break­fasts too! Use con­tain­ers to make in­di­vid­ual por­tions of Bircher muesli (you can heat it in the mi­crowave in the morn­ing for a warm start to the day) or hard boil eggs so you grab one and a piece of toast on your way out the door.

STEP 4.

Dou­ble up As you might do a dou­ble ses­sion day, make lunch at the same time you’re mak­ing your din­ner. Serve any leftovers di­rectly into a con­tainer when you serve your meals – this works in two ways: you have lunch ready to go the next morn­ing, and you aren’t tempted to go back for sec­onds! You can make leftovers a lit­tle more in­ter­est­ing by turn­ing left­over meat into a wrap with some salad or left­over stir fry into a cold noo­dle salad with some ad­di­tional salad veg­gies.

STEP 5.

Have a back-up plan Hope­fully now you’ve planned your meals, stocked the kitchen, cooked in batches and frozen ex­tra meals – you al­ready have your back up plan in place! How­ever, it al­ways pays to have some healthy snack op­tions in your glove­box, bag or desk drawer. Things like dried fruit and nuts or a good qual­ity muesli bar travel re­ally well. Keep some sim­ple meal op­tions in the of­fice, too. Keep a box of oats, loaf of bread, tins of tuna or beans, a packet of frozen veg­gies (or a frozen meal) or crisp­bread and some peanut but­ter in case you get stuck.

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