Athletes don’t have the luxury of time to make food. They have to be on the pitch, either training hard or warming up for a competition. One of the key reasons most athletes end up ordering their favorite foods or eating whatever is available when urgency arises. Meanwhile, eating anything available is not healthy for athletes. Indeed sports nutrition experts have proven that lack of time to cook the right food is associated with unhealthy eating.
Research by seasoned sports nutritionists showed that about 60 percent of female athletes would have loved to cook their foods instead of buying. The report showed that many athletes are looking for ways to cook nutritious meals to give them strength during training and help them recover after training.
To promote healthy eating habits among athletes and make cooking easier for them, this article contains how you make 15 minutes meals with healthy ingredients to help you eat what you desire per time and optimize your athletic performances. The good news is that these meal ideas do not require a high cooking experience to make them. They are quick and easy.
Based on recommendations from professional sports nutritionists, as an athlete, you need to supply your body with the following nutrients:
- Carbohydrates: This will produce the required energy to be active throughout your training sessions and help you restore depleted energy in your body. Foods that rich in carbohydrates include whole grains, fruits, veggies, pulses, and more.
- Protein: most sports nutritionists advise that athletes should eat much protein-rich food for better performance. This nutrient helps you build and repairs your damaged muscles. It also helps your hormones function appropriately and boosts your immune system, preventing you from developing some career-threatening health problems. Foods rich in this nutrient include fish, meat, eggs, pulses, nuts, seeds, dairy products, and more.
- Healthy fats: Fats are good sources of energy more than carbohydrates. Besides their high energy content, healthy fats help your nervous, hormonal, and immune systems function correctly and make them more balanced. Foods that can supply your body with healthy fats include avocado, oily fish, eggs, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, and more.
- Vitamins and minerals: Vitamins and minerals are also essential elements in sports nutrition. These two essential nutrients are essential in your daily consumption to optimize performance and stay healthy. Calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin A, Vitamin E, and vitamin K are vital nutrients that should always be in your daily meal.
The above-listed nutrients should be in your daily meal if you want to do well at training and recover quickly after training. Here are seven meal ideas that contain all the above-listed essential nutrients in the right proportion to help meet your daily nutrients requirements in your breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Where do you start from?
The first step in making these 15-minute quick meals is to fill your cupboard with some minimally processed foods that you use to make these quick meals with lesser cooking time. These minimally processed foods include:
- Tinned foods: These include black beans, chickpeas, sweetcorn, lentils, coconut milk, and tinned salmon.
- Quick cook grains: These include rice noodles, couscous, egg noodles, quinoa, and soba noodles.
- Nuts and dried foods: These include almonds, cashew, dried apricots, and pistachios.
- Pulse sachets and pre-cooked grain: These are useful time savers. You can have these as an alternative to tinned foods. They are suitable for tice, which takes over 15 minutes before it is ready to eat. Some of the regular pre-cooked foods you can easily find around include flavored grain mixes, lentils, or quinoa.
- Sauces and pastes: These provide a quick way to add flavor to your fish, meat, pulses, and tempeh. Sauces and pastes include basil pesto, tamari soya sauce, ginger paste, garlic paste, harissa paste, tahini paste, chili paste, red Thai curry paste, tamarind paste, red chili paste, and more.
- Oils: These include coconut oil, olive oil, and sesame oil.
- Others: Other items you would need include apple cider vinegar, honey, balsamic vinegar, a jar of sundried tomatoes, peanut butter, lime juice, a jar of roasted peppers, lemon juice, and more.
Note that this meal is prepared as a one-person dish. You will have to double the quantity if you want to serve two people.
Mexican rice with chicken, smoked mackerel, or egg
Ingredients: Pre-cooked wholegrain rice, sweetcorn, black beans, 1 tsp lime juice, 1 tsp chipotle paste, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp honey, ½ avocado, a handful of crispy lettuce, six cherry tomatoes, ready-cooked chicken fillet, or two eggs.
- Boil the eggs for 9 mins until hard-boiled or warm the chicken/mackerel in an oven for 5 minutes at Gas mark 6/200⁰C.
- Place the rice in a saucepan with 2 tbsp of water and heat for 2-3 mins until the water has been absorbed.
- Chop the tomatoes, tear the lettuce if needed, chop the avocado into chunks.
- Mix the chipotle sauce, lime juice, honey, and olive oil into a dressing.
- Stir the sweetcorn, black beans, tomatoes, and avocado into the rice.
- Slice the eggs, chicken, or mackerel.
- Place the lettuce in a large bowl or on a plate.
- Add the flavored rice, then the eggs, chicken, or protein.
- Drizzle over the dressing and serve. NB You can have the chicken or mackerel cold if preferred.
Mediterranean Lentils and Rice (vegan)
Ingredients: Pre-cooked lentils or puy, pre-cooked whole grain rice, brown or green lentils, six stone-less olives, tomatoes, ½ avocado, 2 tbsp roasted peppers, three sundried tomatoes, a handful of French beans, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, juice of ½ an orange, and 3 tsp olive oil.
- Boil a kettle and boil or steam the French beans for c 7 minutes.
- Place the rice in a saucepan with 3 tbsp of water and heat for 2 mins until most of the water has been absorbed.
- Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes into quarters, the olives in half, and the sundried tomatoes and the peppers into small pieces.
- Mix the lentils into the rice and heat for a further 2 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a frying pan, then add the tomatoes, olives, sundried tomatoes, and peppers and heat gently for 3 mins.
- Slice the avocado and mix the orange juice, 1 tsp of olive oil, and apple cider vinegar into a dressing.
- Add the dressing, avocado, and tomato mix to the rice and lentils, stir together and place in a serving bowl.
- Top with the cooked French beans NB if you dislike beans, try leeks or tender-stem broccoli instead.
Chicken or chickpea quinoa with orange and almonds
Ingredients: Pre-cooked chicken or tin chickpeas, ready-to-eat quinoa, red onion, one orange, 2 tsp olive oil, eight almonds, 1/2 avocado, two handfuls of baby spinach, 2 tsp balsamic vinegar.
- Thinly slice the red onion. Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a saucepan and cook the onion on low heat for 5 minutes until soft.
- Meanwhile, peel the orange and split it into segments, and thinly slice the avocado.
- Add the quinoa and the chicken or chickpeas to the pan with the onions. Stir through 1 tsp of balsamic video and heat gently for 2-3 minutes.
- Mix the remaining 1 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp balsamic vinegar into a dressing.
- Turn off the heat under the pan and stir in the rocket or baby spinach. Allow wilting.
- Place the quinoa mix in a bowl or onto a plate. Top with the avocado slices and orange segments.
- Drizzle over the dressing and serve.