How to Eat like an Olympian
The Olympics are a very exciting event in our house this year. The kids are old enough to understand and appreciate the significance of the games and they had great fun making banners and flags to cheer on the Irish team. I’ve always tuned into the Olympics every four years and what always struck me was the complete focus and dedication of the athletes to their given sport. We always hear about their strict training schedules – the early starts and the sacrifices they make in the hope of being named an Olympic Champion. But we don’t usually hear about what they eat and the impact the food they consume has on their performance.
In my research to understand this a little further I came across a few examples of what Olympians eat in a day:
• Breakfast: 1 piece of almond butter toast, 1 bowl of oats with shredded almonds, honey and mixed berries.
• Lunch: It varies but generally a salad with some sort of meat mixed in or on the side. My favourite combination right now is a chicken salad with spinach, walnuts and pear.
• Snack: A coffee with a small chia pudding bowl, or some fruit.
• Dinner: I love different types of pastas, grilled vegetables and potatoes, or stir fries and dishes with brown rice.
• Breakfast: I start the morning off with a piece of toast with honey and sometimes a quick coffee.
• After training I aim to consume a combination of quality protein and carbohydrates to facilitate the recovery process. On most mornings this is in the form of a banana pancake. I also love homemade porridge with apple slices, nuts, seeds and yoghurt.
• For lunch I usually have a wrap or open sandwich with sliced meat or smoked salmon, avocado, mushrooms and any other veggies that I have in the house at the time.
• My dinners range from curries in the slow cooker with rice to stir fries, salmon with sweet potato and salad, steak and vegetables, pulled pork burritos and homemade pizzas.
• Breakfast: muesli, fruit and yoghurt in the morning, a post-training snack of a banana and a coffee.
• Lunch is usually a salad with some chicken or a wrap filled with veggies.
• Snacks: Boiled eggs or crackers with peanut butter or an apple are all go to snacks in the afternoon.
• Dinner is split between a protein and vegies with carbohydrates of some sort.
• Breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled on toast with ¼ avocado and a handful of spinach.
• Post weights snack: A smoothie made from banana, protein powder, a handful of spinach and kale, and either full-cream milk or almond milk.
• Lunch: A chicken salad made from chicken breast, spinach, ¼ avocado, ¼ sweet potato roasted, peppers and a couple tablespoons of sauerkraut.
• Pre-training snack: Peanut butter on apple slices.
• Dinner: Grilled salmon with ½ cup sweet potato mash, broccolini and asparagus.
Although these food diaries were not from the Irish team (you should check out Derval O’Rourke’s new cookbook for her take on how to Eat like an Olympian) what they all have in common is plenty of fruit, vegetables, quality proteins and slow release carbohydrates.
If there is one thing we can all learn from them is to keep it simple and just eat real food!
Enjoy the games!