- Make lunch count. An incomplete or missed lunch and the resulting low blood sugar levels are often behind the mid-afternoon "hit-the-wall sluggish" feeling we get. Take 5 minutes out to plan or even better prepare a lunch that includes plenty of protein and good fats such as salmon, lean meat, raw nuts, eggs or avocado (note: I'm not suggesting remortgage the house to fund the current avocado crisis, for those that have houses in the first place). This is actually a valid strategy for avoiding the 3pm trip to the vending machine.
- Hydrate. We easily mistake thirst for hunger (we think we're hungry, but our body is actually dehydrated) so ensure that if you have a drink bottle on your desk make sure you are drinking from it (aim to fill up at lunch and again before leaving work). A glass is another great drinking tool, just be sure to head to the water cooler at regular intervals throughout the day.
- Fuel up pre-training. The gap from lunchtime to 5pm is simply too long to go without eating and then expecting to benefit from exercise. Unless you're fortunate to be able to escape the office 2-3 hours after lunch to train then lock in a carbohydrate containing snack 30-60mins before your session. This can be as simple as a few crackers with your favourite spread or a cup of cereal that you keep at your desk.
Use the "golden window" to recover. That is the first 30 minutes after exercise, and there is solid science to say this is optimal time to replenish your body with carbohydrates and protein. The result? Bigger training adaptations and faster recovery between sessions. This can be a real challenge with post work training, some are fortunate enough to be able to get home and have dinner waiting on the table, however many have to begin the cooking process once training is finished. If you find yourself in the cooking situation then it's vital to set some habits in place to ensure you are getting enough nutrients onboard as quickly as possible. Allow yourself a snack allocation post session but be careful not to grant yourself a free access pass to clean out the pantry before dinner.
Aim to have dinner ready within at hour of this snack. On the evenings you are training plan to have something quick to prepare that contains carbs and protein, even something as simple as eggs on toast can do the trick. Help curb hunger by bulking up meals with colourful non-starchy vegetables, this also increases vitamin and mineral intake to support immune function and recovery.
- Training session doesn't equal free dessert. Sadly the rest of this night isn't a "free calories" situation. Be honest about your current training volume and alter food portions accordingly. In saying this I always say if you are searching for "treats' after dinner it is highly likely your dinner portion was too small or doesn't contain enough protein or good fats. Make the most of the cooler months by choosing good hearty foods such as stews and soups (and the odd roast) to fill up on so your heading to bed satisfied rather than stuffed or starving.
This wee stir fry fits the brief of post training refuelling perfectly. It is super nutritious, fast, simple and most importantly tasty. I always use truckloads of vegetables, choosing in season varieties to keep costs down. Double up on ingredients to plan ahead to tomorrow's lunch.
- Carbohydrate (rice, udon noodles, kumara or potato)
- 100-150g Cold smoked salmon pieces
- Purple Cauliflower
- Pepper (red, orange or yellow)
- NZ made Olive Oil (I tend to use The Village Press)
- 1 Tablespoon Miso paste
- Deal to the carbohydrates first. If you are planning to throw some kumara or potato in the oven then pre heat, cut (don't peel) and get them going. Or alternatively boil hot water for rice or udon noodles.
- While the carbs are cooking away roughly cut onion and garlic and place in pan with olive oil over a low heat.
- Cut and add mushrooms and pepper, increase heat to medium.
- Next up add chop and add cauliflower and broccoli.
- Mix miso paste to approximately 1 cup of boiling water.
- Turn up heat to high, slowly pour half of the miso over vegetables and continuously stir.
- Once evaporated add salmon and remaining miso to stream cook vegetables.
- Stir through carbs and dinner is ready to roll. Enjoy.
Marewa Sutherland is a qualified Sports & Exercise Nutritionist (BAppSc, Otago University) and co-founder of PURE Sports Nutrition. She is a former elite road cyclist and has previously represented New Zealand for rowing. Marewa keeps busy with her involvement at PURE along with looking after her 15 month old daughter.
Need more help?
Marewa is available for personalised Nutrition Consultations, available nationwide by Skype. Whether you want help with your daily lifestyle nutrition, or assistance on a specific race day nutrition plan, a one-on-one 45 minute consultation and written nutrition plan can help you on your way.