Nutrition: How to fuel busy weeks
Sometimes games just pile up. One postponement and a tough fixture can have a midweek game hot on its tail.
It’s tough mentally to go back-to-back and it’s hard to eat correctly for that. According to rugby nutritionist James Morehen, from Liverpool John Moores University, there is a right way to do it, though.
First, you must recover. Imagine you had a tough away game. You have a window of around 36 hours to repair, but getting in shakes or smoothies soon after the match helps.
The key is to get quality sources of carbs and proteins pumping through your system, with a carbs:protein ratio of 3:1 the best. It is fundamental to get enough protein in to suit your body weight within hours – between 20-35g for rugby players – from a source like organic salmon, and on the bus back a snack like raspberries and blueberries with yoghurt helps you tick along.
Then there’s pre-bed snacking. When you sleep, you still need to repair. A glass of milk is casein rich, meaning it has slow-release protein. Need to chew something? Cottage cheese with Ryvita and olives can also do the trick at night. Now you’re recovering, you can load up for the next game.
Sometimes you’ll yearn for comfort foods. Morehen knows you may want the ease of a shop-bought pizza. Fine, but add extra protein – the average pizza has only around 10g of protein per slice – and keep the crusts thin! Or just keep it simple and rustle up something like this stir-fry below…
Simplest stir-fry (serves two)
You’ll need: 2½ tablespoons of coconut oil, 3 chicken breasts (diced), 2 large peppers (thinly sliced), 190g baby sweetcorn, 190g baby green beans, 1 large red onion (thinly sliced), Soy or sweet chilli sauce (optional), 1 tin of lentils, 1 handful of rocket, 1 handful of spinach, Chilli (optional), Rice, noodles or couscous (optional).
1. Pre-heat a wok or pan, with coconut oil. Add the diced chicken and cook.
2. Once coloured, add the vegetables and fry ingredients together, using optional extra sauces like soy or sweet chilli for flavour.
3. Add in your pre-cooked lentils, cook until coated.
4. Once all the ingredients are heated through, lay out on a bed of rocket and spinach and serve. Enjoy!