You’re dedicated to your training schedule so you should be dedicated to your meal plan too. Keeping fit and active is the key to hitting your race targets, but this also includes your diet so you can efficiently replenish your energy stores.
As well as drinking lots of water, it is recommended that you have your post-workout meal within 45 minutes of finishing your training. To help you meet this deadline, prepare your meals in advance with these exciting recovery meal ideas.
#1 Get Your Omega-3 Hit With Salmon
Start a rapid recovery with a salmon dish, packed with omega-3 fatty acids and, of course, protein. Get imaginative with different spices from all over the world such as pesto, honey-balsamic, or lemon and ginger to jam pack flavour into your dish. Protein-rich recovery meals can be as exciting as you make them, try out different vegetable accompaniments or cooking methods and you’ll be looking forward to every recovery meal.
Sweet potatoes will help to restore glycogen levels, which will have dropped after a heavy swimming session. They are rich in complex carbohydrates so you can be sure your muscle proteins will be well on the way to recovery.
Also, don’t be afraid to add some avocado for good measure. They are packed with saturated fats, folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin C and potassium. Avocados pair well with salmon and will boost energy levels throughout the day.
#2 Go Back To Basics With Chicken And Rice
Your standard chicken and rice dish is protein—rich and carb heavy so you know you’ll be getting all the crucial nutrition you need after a session in the pool.
When it comes to rice, brown rice is the healthier option. However white rice increases blood sugar levels and therefore increases the Glycaemic Index (GI), so don’t be too concerned about only including brown rice in your meal plan.
If you’re really looking to mix things up, replace rice with quinoa, as it adds a new flavour and texture, and also has far more protein and fibre than rice.
#3 Pack In The Protein With Tuna
Tuna is a quality protein that is so easy to prepare and to take with you wherever you need to go. If you’re planning on squeezing in a training session in your lunch break, a tasty tuna dish is perfect to prepare the night before and take as a packed lunch.
Get imaginative with different variations of a tuna pasta bake, a tuna sandwich on wholegrain bread, or even a spicy tuna salad. Pasta bakes and sandwiches are high in carbohydrates and perfect for energy replenishment, making them your go-to protein meal after a lunchtime workout.
#4 Double Up On Breakfast With An Omelette
Eggs are absolutely jam-packed with protein and naturally contain vitamin D. One egg contains around 6g of protein, which is 15% of your daily recommended amount.
If your recovery meal is going to be your first protein heavy meal of the day, consider doubling up with a cottage cheese, kale and mushroom omelette.
The best thing about eggs is that they are super convenient and easy to prepare. This means you can mix and match, depending on what your taste buds are saying. Make omelette recipes your own by opting for hard boiled eggs or poached eggs instead! Go big with a spinach and pepper frittata or try poached eggs on toast accompanied with feta, tomato and chorizo as an exciting take on this omelette recipe.
#5 Snack Healthy With Hummus
Meat-free but no less delicious, hummus is rich in vitamin C and iron, so it is an excellent go-to snack when you feel you need an energy boost.
Experiment with different variations, such as caramelised onion or red pepper hummus. Then pair with carrot, celery or pepper sticks, or even just pitta bread, for a quick and nutritious snack on the go.
#6 Have Something Sweet With Greek Yoghurt
Treat your tired muscles to a fruity Greek treat. Greek yoghurt is higher in protein than regular yoghurt so it’s hugely beneficial for your post-training recovery. Plus, berries are stacked with fibre, water and vitamin C. They’re also an antioxidant boost, meaning they can triple your rate of recovery after a workout.
Greek yoghurt is incredibly diverse and can double up as breakfast, as well as dessert. Try a classic combination of Greek yoghurt with blueberries, granola and nut spread for an evening treat. Or check out these recipes for some sweet inspiration.
If you’re rushed for time and need something on the go, you can always count on a protein shake and a banana to meet the crucial 45-minute time period to aid a speedy and healthy recovery.
Now you’ve got some recovery meal inspiration, you can stay focused, determined and on track with a diverse and organised meal plan. When you head back to the water, your energy levels will be revitalised and your muscle proteins replenished, ready for the next swim!