What is the nutrition focus on rest and recovery days?
On a rest day, the main focus for athletes is to recover, rejuvenate and unwind. This doesn’t mean lying on the couch for the day as most athletes tend to be proactive about their recovery strategies, and this includes their food intake.
Being less active than on training days means that requirements for overall energy intake are reduced by anywhere from 300 to 800 kcal depending on the usual training load and/or body composition goals. Additionally in the absence of intense training, the quantity of carbohydrate needed is less – unless you are preparing for a match on the following day. On the other hand, this should not be a day-off from good eating habits so the usual principles of healthy fats, and protein- and fibre-rich foods should be maintained. Main meals should all contain fibre-rich vegetables and a quality protein source like meat, fish, eggs or dairy.
Below are three recipes that meet these goals and are quick and easy to prepare, leaving you plenty of time to get some R&R.
To find out more about how nutrition can support your training and performance, and how this can be achieved using practical strategies, why not attend our upcoming one-day seminar on Performance Nutrition for Team Sport Athletes
Chicken, Broccoli and Rocket Salad
- 1 large head of broccoli, chopped
- 1 chicken breast
- 25 g mixed unsalted nuts
- 1 Tbsp. pine nuts
- 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
- 50 g feta cheese, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 6 cherry tomatoes
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp. wholegrain mustard
- 1 tsp. honey
- Pre-heat oven to 190°C and bake chicken breast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, slice and set aside.
- In the meantime, in a pan on high heat, dry-fry the nuts and seeds for about 3 minutes, and set aside.
- Blanch the broccoli by placing in colander and twice pouring over a litre (e.g. a full kettle) of boiling water.
- Mix broccoli, chicken and remaining ingredients in a large salad bowl.
- Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl, pour over the salad, and serve.
Beef Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella
- Large ball of buffalo mozzarella
- 2 beef tomatoes
- Black pepper and rosemary or fennel
- Slice tomatoes into 4 to 6 slices each.
- Slice mozzarella into a similar number of slices.
- Set out as suggested in the picture and season to taste.
Baked Egg In Avocado
Both eggs and avocados are both excellent foods and suitable for recovery after injury or just a healthy snack. Both avocado and eggs provide a healthy source of fats and the egg provides a source of protein. This is a great example of an afternoon snack that you could have on a rest day.
- 2 eggs
- 1 avocado
- Salt, pepper and paprika or chili
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and set aside.
- Cut the avocado in half and remove the seed. If the hole is too small for a whole egg then scoop out a little of the flesh.
- Place the avocado halves in a small baking dish, but supported so it doesn’t tip/spill when adding the egg.
- To fill the avocado, first add the egg yolk and proceed to add in the egg white until the centre of the avocado is full.
- Sprinkle the egg with spices, salt and pepper
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked to your liking.