The irony of the biggest sporting event in the world being enjoyed by millions of people sitting on their sofas for a straight fortnight is not lost on us!
We jest, we love it, and no doubt many people will be inspired to take up new sports and learn new skills. But here at SimplyCook, food is never far from our minds, so we were wondering – how could the Olympics influence our cooking?
We’ve done our research, and whilst the internet is flooded with so-called ‘know how’ on the topic, it was the tips that came up time and again directly from athletes that we were interested.
The methodology is simple – give your body the fuel it needs to achieve maximum energy output and impactful recovery, so we’ve collated those tips and foods that athlete’s consistently cite as being the most important contributing factors to this.
Read on to find out how you too could eat like an Olympic athlete!
Top Tip #1: Eat breakfast, always
You won’t find many athletes training without eating well beforehand. It’s not terribly Olympian to skip breakfast and end up eating chocolate and crisps at 11am!
Top Tip #2: Hydration
Hydration, hydration, hydration. We simply cannot expect our bodies to perform anywhere near their best if they’re dehydrated. If you feel thirsty, you’re probably already slightly dehydrated, so keep a 2 litre bottle beside you throughout the day and take regular sips.
Top Tip #3: Eat smaller meals more regularly
The third top tip from sports nutritionists is to eat regular small meals instead of big bloat-inducing feasts. It’s obvious when you think about it. That huge pie might have been delicious, but now standing up to fill the dishwasher is a stretch, let alone running a 100 metre sprint! Splitting it into two meals a couple of hours apart leaves us feeling much more sprightly.
So there’s a few general rules, but how about the actual food we eat? Lots of fresh fruit and veg is obvious, but can we do more? The answer is yes! We’ve tracked down six true power foods recommended by people who move about a lot more than we do, so you can try them for yourselves!
Power food #1: Porridge
Low fat, slow release energy to set you up for the day. Top with fresh fruit and nuts for a balanced, probiotic, nutrient packed meal.
Power food #2: Chicken
Every athlete needs a good source of protein, and grilled chicken is a fantastic low fat source of high quality protein. Tuna in water, eggs, and turkey are also firm favourites. For a more adventurous option you can even try ostrich steak! Spice it up with immune-boosting garlic, ginger and chilli for extra flavour.
Power food #3: Wholegrains
Mix it up to suit your taste – bagels, pittas, wraps, toast, wholewheat pasta… We need carbs for energy but if we make it wholewheat our stomachs will thank us. Think poached eggs on toast (smeared with sriracha?), spicy chicken fajitas, salmon bagels…
Power food #4: Edamame beans
A great plant-based source of protein, alongside things like lentils and tofu. Edamame are young green soybeans, cooked in their pods, and these days you can find them in the fresh, frozen or snack section of most supermarkets.
Power food #5: Bananas
Bananas on porridge, bananas on cereal, bananas on their own, even bananas on toast – athletes eat bananas like they’re going out of fashion. They’re packed with nutrients without too much of the bad stuff, and they fit in your bag too.
Power food #6: Almonds
These little powerhouses pack so many nutrients into a tiny package it’s hard to list them all. They’re great for stamina, recovery times, blood flow, and so much more! They taste delicious and they’re really easy to carry around to eat on the go. What’s not to like?
Okay, so the majority of us will never be Olympic champions, but by including a few more of these power foods we might give ourselves the little bit of extra energy we need to get to the gym a few more times a week. And with the increased protein intake, every workout will be that little more impactful. It’s got to be worth a try, right?!