Tag Archives: Protein

Zingy Lemon Mackerel Risotto

Stuck for tea ideas tonight? This refreshing summery recipe is perfect! Easy to make but very impressive, especially if cooking for lots of people (and also super cheap)!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 140g dried risotto rice
  • 1 pint vegetable stock or water
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 cans mackerel in sunflower oil
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 150g green beans, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil

METHOD:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the onions, cook until just softened, for around 4 minutes on a medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and stir for a further 1 minute.
  3. Add the risotto rice, and keep stirring until the edges of the grains are becoming more translucent.
  4. Add a third of the stock, stir, and reduce the heat so it is simmering.
  5. When the first third of the stock has nearly reduced, add the mackerel and the second third of the stock and stir once more.
  6. Add the lemon juice, zest, frozen peas, and green beans with the final third of stock and cook until the stock has reduced and the rice is soft.
  7. Serve with lemon pieces and season.
  8. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

Screen Shot 2018-07-13 at 16.42.35.png

Mackerel – High in essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids of which you should be having three times a week, and protein, so is a good choice of fish (and it tastes AMAZING)

Risotto rice – high in carbohydrate to give you loads of energy to get you through your day!

Peas – providing potassium, vitamin B6 for energy and dietary fibre for bowel moment.

Quick and Easy Egg Noodle Salad

Need a pack up lunch idea, meal-prep, or just have a busy schedule and need a quick and easy meal to fuel your day? Look no further, this veggie noodle bowl is perfect!

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 boiled egg
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • Half an avocado, chopped
  • 50g dried egg noodles (1 nest)
  • 1 tbsp reduces-salt soy sauce

METHOD:

  1. Boil the egg noodles as per packet instructions
  2. Toss all ingredients together
  3. Enjoy!

NUTRITION

Eggs – Eggs are the most useful protein source as they provide essential amino acids (the building molecules of protein), which are also absorbed most efficiently by the body.

Noodles – A good carbohydrate base to keep you fuller for longer, and relatively low in calories.

Avocado – High in unsaturated (good) fats and relatively low in saturates (bad).

Tomatoes – massively high in vitamin C for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis; it also has functions in detoxification and as an antioxidant. It also gives you vitamin A for vision and immune function, and potassium for fluid balance and muscle contraction.

Spinach – An excellent source of vitamin K for cell signalling and to aid calcium absorption, and magnesium for nerve transmission and heart function.

Blueberry Banana Protein Pancakes

Yasssss lazy mornings call for PANCAKES… with over 20g of protein per portion, these are perfect for keeping you fuller for longer!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 70g porridge oats
  • 150g blueberries (to top)

METHOD:

  1. Mash the bananas into a pulp, and beat in the eggs and oats to make the pancake mixture.
  2. Heat a non-stick frying pan on a high heat and add the mix with one spoonful per pancake (they should be quite small so they are easier to turn).
  3. Cook until brown on the underside and then flip (it should be around 2minutes per side).
  4. Top with blueberries or the toppings of your choice – peanut butter or maple syrup is also nice!
  5. Enjoy!

NUTRITION

Eggs – Eggs are the most useful protein source as they provide essential amino acids (the building molecules of protein), which are also absorbed most efficiently by the body.

Porridge oats – high in fibre for digestion and slow energy releasing carbohydrates to keep you going!

Bananas – High in potassium for fluid balance and muscle contraction, and containing naturally occurring sugars to keep your energy up for longer!

Beef-ey Poached Eggs

Yummy yummy yummy… a twist on a shaklaka (of which I will be making soon…) and can be eaten for breakfast, tea or dinner!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g 5% fat minced beef
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 140g frozen peas

METHOD:

  1. Saute the onions for 3-4minutes on a medium heat until soft.
  2. Add the mince beef and turn to a high heat to brown. Then reduce the heat and cook for a further 5minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and mix for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the canned tomatoes and peas, and mix.
  5. Crack the eggs on top of the beef, cover and cook for 4minutes or until the eggs are cooked as wanted.
  6. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 16.44.09.png

Beef – High in protein and low in fat, when the lean version is bought. It is also high in vitamin B3, B6 and B12 for energy release in respiration, and iron for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis and immune function.

Eggs –  Eggs are the most useful protein source as they provide essential amino acids (the building molecules of protein), which are also absorbed most efficiently by the body.

Tomatoes – massively high in vitamin C for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis; it also has functions in detoxification and as an antioxidant. It also gives you vitamin A for vision and immune function, and potassium for fluid balance and muscle contraction.

Peas – providing potassium, vitamin B6 for energy and dietary fibre for bowel moment.

Easy Mediterranean-Style Chicken

Protein-packed, 3 of your 5-a-day, and perfect paired with crusty bread or sticky rice!

Serves 3

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 chicken thighs and 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 courgettes, chopped
  • 1 vine of tomatoes
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1/2 bulb garlic
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Seasoning

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220/8
  2. Mix the vegetables with most of the oil, mixed herbs and seasoning in a baking pan.
  3. Rub the chicken with the remaining oil and herbs, season.
  4. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables.
  5. Bake for 40minutes – the vegetables may need tossing halfway through.

NUTRITION:

Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 16.15.29.png

Chicken – a good source of protein which is high in the vitamins thiamin, riboflavin and niacin for energy production; and zinc for enzyme function, immune control and protein synthesis.

Courgette – High in vitamin A for vision, fibre for digestion, and magnesium for chemical reactions in the body and immune function.

Tomatoes – massively high in vitamin C for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis; it also has functions in detoxification and as an antioxidant. It also gives you vitamin A for vision and immune function, and potassium for fluid balance and muscle contraction.

 

6 Tips on Protein Intake for Athletes: Clearing Up the Confusion

Protein intake is important to build and repair muscle – and ultimately aids an improvement in sporting performance. However, as I am sure many of you athletes have found, the information out there on how protein can be consumed effectively is pretty confusing. So, here are 6 tips to consider with regards to your protein consumption:

  1. Consumption before sessions: if protein is eaten before a short session (less than 1 hour), this will help muscle synthesis after the session.

The protein consumed before a session may contribute to increasing the amino acid pool for muscle synthesis after the session, as the digestion time for the proteins will release the amino acids in the body post-session[1].

If the training session is longer than an hour, protein ingested is more likely to be used as a fuel rather than for muscle synthesis. 

  1. Consumption during sessions: in endurance sessions, muscle breakdown without synthesis will be limited if protein is consumed during continuous exercise (above 1.5hrs). With regards to resistance sessions, protein synthesis may be aided by protein eaten during the session (if longer than 2 hours).

Endurance athletes training for longer periods of time – 1.5+ hours – may benefit from protein consumption to limit amino acids from being used as a fuel[2]. It is debated as to whether this protein enhances synthesis4, or just maintains protein balance[3], but it is clear that this consumption doesn’t cause a negative protein balance and may prime the amino acid pool for post-exercise muscle synthesis.

In reference to resistance exercise (comprising of reps and sets) the rest periods may be used for muscle synthesis in sessions lasting longer than 2 hours[4]. If the sessions are shorter, there is limited opportunity for skeletal muscle remodelling as it usually occurs in the hours after the session, not in the minutes between reps.

  1. Consumption after sessions: if athletes are training every day, they should focus more on regular protein consumption rather than an increase in intake ONLY after a session.

Recent research suggests that protein ingestion directly after exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis for up to 4 hours after the session[5]. However, most sources suggest that consumption up to 24 hours after a session can contribute to synthesis[6].

  1. Amount and timing of consumption: for optimal consumption, 0.25g/kg body weight every 3 hours is most effective in allowing muscle synthesis[7]. Athletes training in the evening may consider increasing this to 0.5g/kg of body weight in pre-bedtime snacks due to the protein deficiency occurring in the night[8].

THERE IS NO POINT IN EATING LARGE AMOUNTS OF PROTEIN ALL AT ONCE… in fact new research says that eating more than 20g of protein at once (for an 80kg person) results in the amino acids being used as a fuel rather than contributing to muscle synthesis[9]

So, optimal doses should be at around 0.25g/kg of body weight to stimulate muscle synthesis and induce a positive protein balance. Intakes of 10-16g (lower) can also stimulate synthesis even though body protein balance is negative[10].

General daily requirements for athletes differ from regular individuals who want to offset deficiency. General requirements are around 0.8kg/kg body weight/day[11]– it is important to ignore this figure as athletes consume protein to better performance rather than to stop deficiency.

  1. Type of protein to consume: both wholefood and isolated protein options aid muscle synthesis, however isolated sources may be best to consume post-session for athletes wanting to make muscle gains. Good wholefood options include eggs, milk, beef, fish, soy and beans; and the best isolated protein options are leucine-rich, including whey for initial muscle synthesis and casein for prolonged synthesis.

The best protein sources are impacted by two things:

  • Good amino acid composition – this can be worked out by looking at the biological valueof proteins (the higher the BV, the better the amino acid composition).
    • Egg has the highest BV of any wholefood, with most animal proteins like beef, milk and fish following suit[12].
    • Vegetarian options like soy protein and beans are also high12.
  • High rate of digestion – as this means the amino acids appear in the blood faster.
    • Casein has the slowest digestibility and is found in soy proteins. Animal products however have high digestibility [12].

Sources with both a high biological value and high rate of digestion increase muscle synthesis post-exercise[13].

Mixed protein sources vs isolated protein sources:

Mixed protein sources consist of wholefoods (not supplements) and they have a different amino acid composition compared to isolated sources[14]. THIS IS NOT A BAD THING… wholefoods still cause a positive protein balance. Actually, it has been found that milk, or sources containing large amounts of dairy (high in whey and casein protein), enhance protein synthesis and improve lean body mass10.

However, it is recommended that athletes wanting to initiate rapid post-exercise muscle synthesis should consume leucine-rich rapidly digested isolated protein[15].

  1. MOST IMPORTANTLY… how does this help you?

As an athlete wanting to maintain muscle mass – eating protein regularly whilst making sure that the calories you eat equal the calories that you burn will ensure that protein synthesis and breakdown is equal… it will reduce chance of injury and helps to make your body leaner and stronger.

As an athlete wanting to increase muscle mass – eating protein regularly whilst making sure that the calories you eat exceed the calories that you burn will ensure that protein synthesis is larger than breakdown… it means that the weight that you put on will most likely be muscle, making you fitter, stronger and faster.

Read more on why athletes need protein in one of my previous posts:

https://cookandcontemplate.com/2018/06/17/the-science-why-do-athletes-need-protein/

I hope that this post has been useful… please comment your thoughts and questions underneath and I will try to get back to you!

Continue reading 6 Tips on Protein Intake for Athletes: Clearing Up the Confusion

The science – why do athletes need protein?

Dietary protein provides amino acids, which are components of muscle. The specific muscles that ingested protein progresses are:

  • Contractile – cause muscle contractionsby converting chemical energy to mechanical work.
  • Structural proteins – provide support for muscles to move bone levers and therefore limbs.
  • Regulatory enzymes – to speed up reactions, specifically metabolism of dietary macronutrients to convert them to energy accessible for the body.

As you can see from their functions, strengthening and building these muscles will improve performance.

To maintain muscle mass, its breakdown and synthesis must be balanced.

To gain muscle, its synthesis must be larger than its breakdown – resulting in a positive protein balance[1].

Different muscle masses are gained in different proportions depending on the type of training that is done:

  • Endurance training –
    • Gains mitochondrial mass– increases mitochondria which converts unusable energy to useable energy when oxygen is present.
  • Resistance training –
    • Gains myofibrillar mass– enhances strength and lean body mass.

Both of these types of training increase protein synthesis AND breakdown after exercise; however, to make muscle, amino acids must be present. Without a large pool of amino acids, muscle breakdown occurs without synthesis[2]. Amino acids are ingested from dietary proteins.

Continue reading The science – why do athletes need protein?

Prawn Pesto Pasta

Tasty, tasty, tasty… and providing a whopping 3 OF YOUR 5 A DAY, a solid 32 grams of protein, and plenty of vitamins and minerals to improve your health.

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 75g wholewheat spaghetti
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 5 spears of asparagus
  • 70g frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp basil pesto
  • 2 tbsp fat-free creme fraiche
  • 60g king prawns
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil

METHOD:

  1. Boil water in a pan and add the pasta, set a timer for 10 minutes – with 4 minutes to go, you will need to add the asparagus tips and the frozen peas.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan, add the tomatoes and prawns (you can use either cooked or raw prawns – if cooking from raw just make sure they are pink all the way through when fully cooked) and heat for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic to the prawn pan and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Drain the pasta, asparagus and peas.
  5. Arrange the asparagus on a plate.
  6. Mix in the pesto and creme fraiche into the pasta and peas, and serve on the asparagus. Top with the garlic prawns and tomatoes.
  7. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 21.46.29.png

Prawns – high in protein for muscle repair and growth, and low in fat.

Wholewheat pasta – high in starchy carbs for energy which will keep you going, and fibre to improve digestion.

Asparagus – high in vitamin A for vision, vitamin B6 for energy release, and folate for DNA synthesis.

Tomatoes – massively high in vitamin C for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis; it also has functions in detoxification and as an antioxidant. It also gives you vitamin A for vision and immune function, and potassium for fluid balance and muscle contraction.

Peas – providing potassium, vitamin B6 for energy and dietary fibre for bowel moment.

Creme Fraiche – no fat (as fat-free version is bought), and high in calcium for bone strength.

 

Sausage and Bean Filling

Perfect to pair with a jacket potato or to top pasta with…. or just eat on its own for the ultimate protein hit!

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 reduced-fat sausages, cut in half
  • 400g tomato passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 8 sliced prosciutto ham
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cans black eye beans, drained
  • 1 tsp olive oil

METHOD:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan on a high heat.
  2. Add the sausages and brown for 2-3minutes, or until there is no pink showing on the outside of the sausage.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes until soft.
  4. Add the garlic, beans and prosciutto ham, and cook for a further 3minutes.
  5. Add the tomato purée, ketchup, smoked paprika and vinegar and stir to cook for 2minutes.
  6. Add the tomato passata and heat for 5-7minutes.
  7. Serve with pasta or jacket potato.
  8. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

Sausages and prosciutto ham – High in protein and the B vitamins for carbohydrate and energy utilisation, and mineral phosphorus for bone and protein function.

Tomatoes – massively high in vitamin C for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis; it also has functions in detoxification and as an antioxidant. It also gives you vitamin A for vision and immune function, and potassium for fluid balance and muscle contraction.

Beans – high in plant-based protein and fibre for digestion, as well as folate for DNA synthesis and vitamin A for vision

Veggie Pasta Frittata

Providing 3 of your 5 a day and a fun way to spice up a frittata in this easy and cheap meal!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 200g pasta (cooked weight)
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 80g peas, cooked
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 30g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil

METHOD:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat, and add the onion and fry for 4 minutes.
  2. Add the peppers, garlic and cherry tomatoes, and fry for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Turn to a high heat and add the cooked pasta and peas, mix.
  4. Add the beaten eggs and mix slowly until they start to form an omelette at the bottom.
  5. Top with cheese and move the frying pan to under the grill and leave until the cheese has melted.

NUTRITION

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 20.00.12.png

Eggs – Eggs are the most useful protein source as they provide essential amino acids (the building molecules of protein), which are also absorbed most efficiently by the body. They are also a major contributor of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in this meal.

Pasta – A low-fat, high-carbohydrate base, full of fibre for digestion and a fun swap for the regular potato which is used normally in a frittata.

Tomatoes – Massively high in vitamin C for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis; it also has functions in detoxification and as an antioxidant. It also gives you vitamin A for vision and immune function, and potassium for fluid balance and muscle contraction.

Pepper – Also high in vitamin A and C, but also B6 to release energy and folate which helps DNA synthesis.

Peas – Providing potassium, vitamin B6 for energy and dietary fibre for bowel moment.