After an intense training session players need to refuel to begin the recovery and adaptation process. The main nutrient focus is quality carbohydrate and protein foods. Carbohydrate is needed to replace depleted energy stores while protein is required for muscle recovery, growth and adaption. A simple recipe like sweet potato shepherd’s pie is an ideal refuel and recovery meal for rugby players. The sweet potato provides carbohydrate, the beef supplies a quality source of protein and the mix of vegetables provide an array of essential micronutrients.
Sweet potato Shepard’s pie
– 3 large sweet potatoes
– 400g lean minced beef
– 1 onion, chopped
– 8 mushrooms, chopped
– 50g frozen peas
– 30g snap peas
– 3 Tbsp. tomato puree
– 2 tsp. Worchester sauce
– 1 Tbsp. butter
– 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– Sprinkle of ground cinnamon and nutmeg
– 30g aged cheddar cheese
– Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 190°C
- Peel the sweet potatoes and place them in a steamer
- Steam the sweet potato till soft, about 20 minutes
- While the sweet potato is cooking place the minced beef in a non-stick pan and cook until slightly browned with onion and garlic, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low. Add in sliced peppers, tomato puree, snap peas and herbs, Worchester sauce and stir through the ground beef mixture. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the sweet potato from the steamer once soft and mash in a bowl with a little butter, salt and pepper
- Next remove the minced beef and vegetables and spread it out in a baking dish.
- Spread the mashed sweet potato over the beef mixture and grate a little aged cheddar on top
- Oven bake for 15-20 minutes and serve
Due to having big appetites and a need for large amounts of calories, sometimes dinner is just not enough for athletes and they will often have a healthy late evening snack.In this case a low carbohydrate protein rich snack like cottage cheese is a suitable option.
Late Evening Snack
Cottage cheese mousse topped with flaked almonds
Cottage cheese is rich in casein protein, which is a slow digesting protein source. Due to its slow digesting protein properties, cottage cheese is an ideal evening snack. It will digest slowly providing a sustained amount of protein for muscle repair after a tough day in the gym.
– 150g cottage cheese
– A little lemon juice
– 1 tsp. peanut butter
– 120g frozen mixed berries
– 4 red grapes
– 1 Tbsp. flaked almonds
– 1 tsp. honey (optional)
- Place the cottage cheese, peanut butter, honey and frozen berries in a blender and blend till smooth
- Top with flaked almonds
- Serve in a bowl and use a small spoon