Nutrition: How to eat in the off-season
The off-season is the time to get out the whisk and chopping board and learn a few recipes
As you’re no longer in a hurry, on days when training doesn’t eat into your schedule you don’t have to chuck everything in a blender and whizz up a five-minute miracle before rushing off for a full day.
“This time of year is all about recovery and rest,” says James Morehen, a rugby nutritionist from Liverpool John Moores University. “This is the time when we tell athletes about the three Ts of nutrition – timing, type and total.
“You don’t need to be carb loading as you’re not training as much, so what type of macronutrients are you consuming? If you’ve not done any heavy sessions that day and have nothing the next, do you need a heavy-carb spaghetti Bolognese at 9pm? I doubt it.”
So as well as having time to actually enjoy cooking, it’s about understanding what your body needs. Morehen says that early conditioning sessions should be backed up with breakfasts that are protein-heavy but low on carbs.
He implores athletes to imagine a plate of distinct sections, with a majority (palm size) made up of lean proteins, a fist size of fibre-rich carbs like sweet potato or brown rice, and the rest made up of colourful vegetables.
As ever, Morehen encourages you to “eat a rainbow” of colours, be it with your biggest meals or midday snacks of Greek yoghurt, fruit and nuts.
Below is a healthy recipe that anyone should be able to master…
DO – Consider the balance of nutrients you consume on your days off, and enjoy spending time in the kitchen.
DON’T – Pile up the carbohydrates like you would during a busy training block.
Poached egg, salmon & rosti (serves three)
What you’ll need: 2 Maris Piper potatoes, 1 raw beetroot peeled and grated, 1⁄2 red onion peeled and finely chopped, 1⁄2 clove garlic peeled and finely crushed, 50ml of rapeseed oil, 3 eggs, 75g smoked salmon, An optional dollop of horseradish cream, Salad leaves of your choice.
1 Boil the potatoes (unpeeled), drain and leave to cool for ten mins. Peel and grate into a large bowl.
2 Add the beetroot, onion and garlic, then season. Divide mixture into three rostis and place on a baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes.
3 Heat oil in a frying pan and cook the rostis for 4-5 mins each side. Remove, keep warm in oven at low temperature.
4 Poach the eggs in simmering water.
5 To serve, place a rosti on plate and top with the salmon and horseradish cream (if wanted). Put a poached egg on top, add salad leaves and enjoy!