Once you understand which foods to include from the Essential Food Groups and you know your calorie and macronutrient needs, it's time to put your knowledge into practice.
Following these guidelines will not only increase your energy levels but also accelerate recovery after training, improve digestion, help build strength, and promote a balanced feeling in your overall well-being.
The most effective strategy for creating supercharged meals involves assembling them from these three core food categories:
- Whole grains or Starchy Vegetables: These provide healthy complex carbohydrates for energy, some protein, essential B vitamins, and minerals.
- Pulses, Soya Products, or Nuts and Seeds: These offer quality protein, healthy complex carbohydrates, essential unsaturated fats, as well as vitamins and minerals.
- Fruit and Vegetables: These contribute healthy complex carbohydrates, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals crucial for your recovery.
Here are some examples of simple yet nutritious plant-based meals that incorporate these food groups:
- A bowl of muesli with nuts and seeds, fresh and dried fruit, and plant-based milk.
- Wholegrain bread with nut butter, paired with a fruit smoothie.
- A substantial breakfast smoothie made with banana, berries, oats, protein powder, chia seeds, plant milk, spices (ginger, cinnamon, turmeric).
- Scrambled tofu on wholemeal toast, with some greens, peppers and tomatoes.
- A grilled tofu or tempeh bowl, with roasted root veg (sweet potato, butternut squash), green beans, peas and mixed bean salad.
- A salad bowl featuring various greens (lettuce, spinach, rocket, broccoli), peppers, tomatoes, beans or lentils, some seeds, and a natural dressing. Include some whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, or couscous.
- A wholegrain wrap stuffed with black beans or falafel, assorted veggies, and salsa, pesto, or hummus.
- Tomato soup enriched with lentils, served with wholemeal bread and fresh vegetables on the side.
- A stir-fry prepared with vegetables, tofu, tempeh, seitan, or a meat alternative, along with garlic, onions, soy sauce, and served with brown rice or soba noodles.
- Wholewheat pasta with lentils or plant-based mince, greens (kale, spinach, broccoli), tomato and basil sauce, topped with chopped nuts or roasted seeds.
- Kidney bean chilli paired with sweet potatoes and veggies.
- Chickpea curry with veggies and fresh ginger, served with brown rice.
Incorporating these food groups into each meal also helps you maximise the nutritional benefits of the foods you consume. For example, vitamin C from fruit and vegetables enhances the absorption of iron from pulses, and for your body to effectively utilise protein, it requires a source of healthy energy from complex carbs.
Depending on your training regimen and nutrient requirements, you may need more than one serving of each food group per meal.
For a more personalised approach to help with your goals - we offer 1-2-1 coaching and create these plans for you - get in touch today to discuss!