220 Triathlon


Matt Earp has adopted a plant-based diet and is looking for menu advice to match his training. Renee McGregor is here to help

- RENEE MCGREGOR Renee is a registered dietician and sports nutritioni­st, and author of the best-selling book Training Food.

Matt: I’ve recently adopted a vegan diet and want to know what foods I should be eating to meet the demands of tri training? Renee: The main things to think about are: ensuring you’re getting enough calcium by consuming soya milk and yoghurts; getting all the essential amino acids by including grains and pulses in meals (beans on toast, rice and lentils, and chickpea curry with couscous are all good options); and having a daily serving of walnuts or walnut oil to get ALA, an essential fatty acid that reduces inflammati­on after training and fatigue. Should I be taking any supplement­s – iron, for example – or can I get a sufficient amount from my diet? Vitamin B12 is definitely one supplement all vegans need to take as it can’t be obtained from a plant-based diet alone. Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health and most people in this country, whether vegan or not, are low or near deficient in it. I always suggest supplement­ing this, particular­ly through the winter months. As for iron, if you eat a well-balanced diet containing beans, pulses, dried fruit and

“It’s critical to ensure your body has sufficient carbohydra­te”

fortified cereals you should get all the iron you need. I’m building up to my first 70.3 race next summer. Can you give me some examples of what I could eat during a day’s training? It’s critical to ensure your body has sufficient carbohydra­te for the prolonged activity. Making good food choices regarding your recovery is also important so that you can maintain your performanc­e across all your sessions. Here’s an example of such a day’s meals: Breakfast: oats with soya milk, topped with fruit and nuts or seeds. Mid-morning snack: sliced banana topped with 20g of nut butter. Lunch: wholegrain bagel with hummus and salad with a mug of tomato soup; followed by soya yoghurt and fruit.

Mid-afternoon snack: 2-3 oatcakes topped with mashed avocado. Evening meal: quinoa with roasted vegetables and chickpeas, followed by soya and fruit.

Before bed: hot chocolate made with soya milk, two squares of dark chocolate, honey and cinnamon. What tips can you give vegan triathlete­s to help them plan their diets around their training? I’d suggest you sit down on a Sunday, look at everything you have planned for the week ahead, identify when and where fuelling may be a challenge, and plan your menu around those points. Cooking meals, such as soups, casseroles and couscous, in batches that can be easily portioned up and refrigerat­ed/frozen, is useful when time is tight. Keep good snack options such as oatcakes, dried fruit or nuts in your office and car.

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