Lots of athletes put as much effort into what they eat as they do their training. And whether you’re getting recipes from the Blue Fuel app or your favourite cookbook, there are lots of ingredients that make the job easier. We’ve put together a list of store cupboard essentials and suggest a few healthy alternatives to help you get exactly what you need. Shopping lists at the ready…
Load up on dried goods
It’s an easy source of starchy carbohydrate and the base of a great pre-match or recovery meal. Go for dried pastas like spaghetti, penne or lasagne sheets.
A medium GI carbohydrate and a great source of fibre. Couscous is also a tasty alternative to rice because it absorbs sauces and flavour.
This grain is rich in protein, fibre and B-Vitamins. It goes well with salads and absorbs sauces and flavour.
A versatile carbohydrate source that’s the perfect partner for curries and chillies. It’s also worth remembering that brown rice is higher in fibre.
A low GI, versatile carbohydrate option, ideal for overnight oats or for high energy protein balls.
Oats, seeds, dried fruits and honey – a delicious snack or breakfast option.
“There are lots of essential ingredients that make the job easier.”
Save time with tinned veg
High in plant protein and ideal for adding to chillies, pastas and salads. Look for kidney, butter and cannellini beans.
Often canned, dried or ready to use. Lentils are high in protein and great for adding to soups, curries or salads.
Often used in batch cooking, another plant based high protein option that’s perfect for adding to curries or salads
Chopped or whole – they’re one of the most versatile ingredients in your kitchen. The base of curries, sauces and pasta dishes, tinned tomatoes are rich in vitamins A, K and all B-vitamins too.
Sometimes you just want an easy, healthy dish with minimal prep and cooking time. So tins of soup are great to have in the cupboard – you can also bulk them out with extra protein (or even rice).
Get your Omega 3 from tinned fish
Packed with omega 3, tinned tuna is a high quality protein option packed with all the essential amino acids needed for muscle growth. Great with a jacket potato or in a pasta salad.
Just as high in protein and omega 3 as fresh salmon, the tinned version is a great alternative to tuna. It also works well as a high protein salad topping.
Available in a variety of sauces and oils, tinned sardines are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, protein and calcium.
Add flavour with sauces, spreads and condiments
Nature’s sweetener! Honey works great as a topping on yoghurts and to sweeten energy-dense protein balls (which are ideal as snacks between meals and on match days).
Energy dense and a good source of protein, PB makes a great topping, spread or base to high-energy snacks.
White Wine Vinegar
With its subtle sweetness and acidity, white wine vinegar makes a great vinaigrette or brine for a wide range of foods.
Light Soy Sauce
Made from fermented soybean, soy sauce offers a great flavour to Asian dishes. Try and find the reduced salt and calorie version.
Choice of BBQ, Mayo, Ketchup
It’s okay to add a little of your favorite sauces. Live by the 90/10 rule – get 90% of your dish spot on for you goals and the other 10% is your preference (eg a dollop of ketchup).
Add a touch of oils, spices and seasoning
Beef, chicken and vegetable – cost effective and enhance the flavour of a range of curries, pasta sauces and chillies.
Grab a bottle of sunflower, rapeseed, vegetable and olive oil – all good for pan frying foods. Alternatively, you could go for a 1 kcal spray if you’re looking to reduce calorie intake.
Herbs and Spices
There’s a wide range of herbs and spices that help make curries, chillies, sauces and to season meat. Here are our top 5: Mixed Herbs, Chilli Flakes, Paprika , Curry Powder and Cinnamon.
As you’ll see in the Blue Fuel App, we always recommend seasoning to taste. On top of this, salt is a key requirement for an athlete to help regulate fluid balance.