THE dark, cold weather is finally starting to exert its icy grip. Christmas may keep us warm (that’s assuming you can afford to heat your digs) but will also fill us to bursting and slow us right down, leading to a sluggish start to the new year and you grinding to a complete halt on ‘Blue Monday’ – the last Monday in January, believed by boffins to be the most depressing day of the year.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead, you can beat the bulge by making the best of the winter produce, incorporate reminders of lighter, brighter times with your ingredient selection, and combat the threats winter poses to your health and fitness. This sample daily menu is full of wholesome and valid nutritional morsels. The varied spread of micronutrients, proteins, carbs and ‘good fats’ will provide your body with the building blocks to recover and repair and be ready to get fitter and stronger in the new year.
As always, pad out the recipes with carbs if your training volume is higher and therefore requires more calories, and reduce them if you’re simply keeping your training ticking over. It’s time to hit the kitchen…
Start the day with kedgeree – it will put you on the front foot both physically and mentally
Ingredients (serves 2): 300g smoked haddock, 2 eggs, 1 onion, 3 garlic cloves, 100g peas, pinch turmeric, 2 bay leaves, 40g Camargue red rice, ⅓tsp curry powder, 1tbsp coconut oil.
Haddock [in season]: Haddock is high in leucine, an essential amino acid that helps you pack on the muscle after resistance training by maximising protein synthesis. This fish also provides some omega-3 – essential at this time of year as your body starts to creak with the cold and your mind is at risk of catching the winter blues. When it’s dark outside you need to ensure a good intake of omegas and vitamin D to help balance your brain function. Longitudinal studies have found that eating fish reduces the incidence of depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder and developmental disorders.
Turmeric: Turmeric is high in the antioxidant curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory effects.
Coconoil: Incorporating coconoil into your cooking may help increase fat-burning.
- Put the rice in a pan with a recommended amount of water and a pinch of salt, bring to the boil then simmer for 40–50 minutes with the lid on.
- Poach the fish with the bay leaves until soft, drain and flake into a bowl. Set aside for now.
- While the fish is poaching, chop the garlic and onion then fry in a pan in coconut oil.
- Add the frozen peas to the garlic and onion after they have softened and browned off.
- Add the spices, rice and flaked fish, and serve.
Thai fighter lunch
Thai food is a sure-fire winner in winter months for supporting immune function and recovery – and this lunch of Thai Salad Goa with prawns and chicken with roasted peanuts is no exception
Ingredients (serves 1): 1 chicken breast, prawns (handful), ½ onion,1tsp galangal, 1 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp fish sauce, 1 tsp sweet soy sauce, ½ clove garlic (per serving), roasted peanuts (handful), shredded chinese, leaves, carrots, and unripe green mango.
Chicken: A great source of lean protein, chicken is a staple of fighters’ diets.
Prawns: Low in calories, prawns nevertheless deliver plentiful protein and omega-3 oils and ‘good’ HDL cholesterol too.
Galangal: A form of ginger, which contains gingerol – shown to help muscle-recovery in studies on both animals and humans.
Peanuts: Peanuts provide plenty of arginine, an amino acid that both supports blood-flow and stimulates the release of growth hormone. Growth hormone stimulates fat-burning, but also has an anabolic/anti-catabolic impact on muscle tissue, providing the combined benefits of stripping away the flab and helping muscle growth.
- Chop the onion, garlic, leaves, carrots, and mango.
- Soften the onion, garlic and galangal in a frying pan with the spices.
- Add the meat until it is cooked through.
- Add liquids as dressing and then add the peanuts, mango and carrots, and serve.
Dinner for winners
End the day by treating your body with a combination of vitamins, good fats and amino acids. This Basil-Sprout Salad really packs a nutritious punch – and the sweet chili sauce provides the heat.
Ingredients (serves 1): 100g low-fat mozzarella, 60g bean sprouts, 40g alfalfa sprouts, 1tsp fresh basil, 1 carrot, 30g shredded ‘Chinese leaves’, 50g red cabbage, ¼ onion (red), 1 lime (for dressing), 1dsp sweet chilli sauce, 2tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1dsp rape-seed oil.
Cabbages [in season]: Cruciferous veggies (such as cabbages) are great for vitamin K and ‘good fats’, which combine to support a healthy circulatory system. You can add in some extra veggie omegas by using rape-seed oil.
Mozzarella: Mozzarella is a quality source of protein. Dairy is high in leucine and glutamine – two of the most important aminos for protein synthesis. The sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium in the cheese help your muscles contract and support proper hydration – if you take in fluids with the meal.
Carrots [in season]: Bugs Bunny’s favourite food is a great source of Vitamin A, which plays a role in vision and bone health, but carrots also provide vitamins C, B6, and K as well as dietary fibre and the minerals potassium, copper and manganese.
- Chop the carrot, cabbage, onion and mozzarella (slice or cube).
- Combine with sprouts and basil.
- Mix the dressing ingredients, toss and serve.
Boost your macro and micronutrients with these snacks – a protein bar in the morning and a super-juice after lunch.
Ingredients (Serves 1): 1 carrot, ½ small beetroot, 1 apple, ½ celery stick.
Apples [in season]: Apples contain salicylates, which work in the same way as aspirin to thin the blood, helping circulation.
Beetroot [in season]: Beetroot provides nitrates to support blood-flow, as backed up by the steady stream of studies from the University of Exeter and Professor Andy Jones. Chuck in some carrots for vitamin A and it’s easy to see why this is a suitable juice for vision and blood-health.
Protein: Large servings of protein aren’t necessary for preserving or increasing muscle mass. Instead, it’s the frequency and quality of intake that are the determining factors. Whey protein is one of the most anabolic foods (which means that it will help build you up, not break you down). A convenient, portable protein portion like a bar or sachet will help support your frequent protein feeds.
- Feed the ingredients through a juicer.
SEVEN DAY MEAL PLAN
Maximise your ability to recover and repair this winter with Fighting Fit’s seven -day meal planner, packed with as much fresh, seasonal produce as possible
Berry immune booster
Kcal 380 Pro 31g Carbs 60g Fat 2g
A handful of dried blueberries, 1 chopped apple, 1 scoop of strawberry flavoured whey protein from Kinetica, 1 spoonful of blueberry jam, a handful of prunes, 1 spoonful of cottage cheese, some natural yoghurt, 150ml water, and a sprinkling of crunchy granola/muesli to serve.
Put all ingredients in a blender and whizz!
Green lagoon sea bass
Kcal 370 Pro 40g Carbs 30g Fat 10g (per 130g steak with accompaniment)
Sea bass (1 fillet), peas (45g), olive oil (1 tsp), broad beans (45g), mint (handful) spinach (45g), good fish stock.
Sear the fish on both sides over a high heat in the olive oil. It should be very slightly browned. Remove the fish. Boil peas and broad beans for a few minutes in enough stock to cover them. When cooked and the liquid is reducing, add the chopped mint and stir, then put the spinach on top of the veg, and nestle the seabass on the top. Cover and steam for enough time that the spinach is wilted and the bass is barely cooked in the middle – it should be translucent.
Mousaka with ouzo
Kcal 400 Pro 35g Carbs 30g Fat 15g
½ aubergine, béchamel sauce, lean lamb mince (130g), pulses: chick peas (35g), puy lentils, black-eyed peas (35g), fennel seeds (½tsp), dried mix of mint, marjoram, sage and thyme, tomato puree (1 tsp), red onion (½), red wine (1 glass), ouzo (1 shot), dill (sprig).
Soften onion, garlic (½ clove per serving) and spices, add to pulses and all other ingredients and simmer. Scorch aubergine on gas-hob. Add fresh herbs to ragu, assemble mousaka with aubergine and béchamel and bake.
Super seeds (AM)
Kcal 200 Pro 10g Carbs 6g Fat 15g
2 dsp (total) of flax, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds.
Bar-fruit combo (PM)
Protein bar (50g), apple.
Kcal 355 Pro 35g CHO 40g Fat 6g, 300g smoked haddock , 1-2 eggs (1 per person), 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic, peas (optional), turmeric, bay leaves, camargue red rice (or white basmati if you prefer – 1 handful/40-45g), curry powder, coconut oil.
Poach the fish with the bay leaves until soft, drain and flake into a bowl and set aside for now – cook the rice separately according to instructions. In a separate pan fry the garlic and onions in coconut oil, adding frozen peas after the first ingredients have softened and browned off. Finally add the spices, rice and flaked fish.
Thai Salad Goa with prawns and chicken with roasted peanuts
Kcal 490 Pro 30g CHO 30g Fat 30g
Chicken breast (1), prawns (handful), onion (½), galangal (1tsp), rice vinegar (1 tsp), fish sauce (1 tsp.), sweet soy sauce (1 tsp), garlic (½ clove per serving), handful of roasted peanuts, shredded chinese leaves, carrots and unripe green mango.
Soften onion, garlic and spices, add meat till cooked through. Add liquids as dressing and pour over raw mango and veg.
Basil-Sprout Salad – with 100g low fat mozzarella
Kcal 400, Pro 42g, Carbs 24g, Fat 14g, 100g low fat mozzarella, 60g bean sprouts, 40g Alfalfa sprouts, fresh basil, 1 carrot, 30g shredded chinese leaves, 50g red cabbage, ½ carrot, ¼ onion (red), dress with: juice of one lime, 1dsp sweet chilli sauce, 2tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1dsp rape-seed oil.
Protein bar (AM)
Juice: carrot, beetroot, celery, apple
Kcal 150 carbs 30-35g
Blueberries and Yoghurt – a cheeky super-snack!
Kcal230 Pro 16g Carb 40g Fat 1g
Blueberries (200g Each), yoghurt (1x170g serving of skimmed yoghurt, like a single pot of total 0%), 1 tsp honey to serve.
Kcal 330 Pro 39g Carbs 30g Fat 6g
Beef sirloin (160g), spring onion (1), fresh coriander, noodles (35g), ginger(tsp), carrot (1), good chicken stock, bean sprouts (100g), mange tout (5).
Cook noodles (35g) and put in bowl with raw veg and raw, wafer thin beef. Pour on stock and herbs to cook meat.
Kcal 300 Pro 30g CHO 20g Fat 10g
Cod (1 fillet) loin, black olives (4), ground coriander, tomatoes/passata (200ml), ground ginger (1 tsp), capers (7g), garlic powder (1 tsp), white wine (150ml), 2tsp tomato puree, lemon juice (squeeze), cumin(1 tsp), dill (sprig), nutmeg (1tsp), cinnamon (1 tsp), cayenne pepper (1 tsp).
Chop then soften onion, garlic and spices. Remove from pan then sear the cod briefly on both sides. Simmer liquid ingredients and tomatoes until tomatoes have broken down, then add the cod and poach until barely cooked in the middle – it should be translucent.
2 dsp. chia seed mix (AM)
Kcal 200 pro 10g carbs 6g fat 15g, 1 slice pistachio
Kcal 235 Pro 11g CHO 6g Fat 18g
200g pistachios, 50g spelt flour, 2 tbsp coconut oil, 1 lemon, 1 vanilla bean, 200g sweetener, 4 eggs , topping: (optional) 1 lemon – juice and peel, 50g pistachios, 25g sweetener, crème fraîche to serve.
Blend the pistachios into the flour then combine all the remaining ingredients. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil or use baking paper. Bake for 45-60 minutes at 300ºC until golden brown and cooked through. Mix the topping ingredients and pour over the cake.
Syllabub (cheat- day calorific!) serves 6
Kcal 285 Pro 6g Carbs 14g Fat 20g
1 lemon rind thinly sliced, 4 tbsp lemon juice, 4 egg whites, 125ml white wine or sherry, 2 tbsp brandy, 75g caster sugar, 250ml cream lightly whipped, grated nutmeg.
Mix the caster sugar with the lemon juice; add the rind, sherry and brandy. Whip the cream into soft peaks and fold into the liquid. Top with grated
Venison and blueberries
Kcal 330 Pro 32g Carbs 35g Fat 5.5g
Venison (130g), blueberries (100g), garlic (½ clove per serving), juniper berries (100g), olive oil (1 tsp.), shallots (2-3), red wine.
Sear the meat for 6-8 minutes, remove, then chop and soften shallots in the olive oil. Add the wine, let it reduce by half, then add the juniper and blueberries and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with the sliced meat.
White fish in light salsa sauce with Sweet Potatoes and Orange segments
Kcal 470 Pro 35g Carbs 73g Fat 6g
Cod loin (160g fillet), pepper (¼), fresh coriander (handful), fresh tomatoes (2), lemon juice, capers (7g), garlic (1/2 clove per serving), red onion (½), 2 tsp tomato puree, small sweet potato, orange segments (45g).
Bake/roast the sweet potato and orange segments in minimum Coconoil; grill fish, chop and combine salsa ingredients, pour over fish and serve.
Carrot and cucumber sticks, 2 dsp walnuts (AM)
Kcal 340 Pro 7g Carbs 2g Fat 33g
Soy nuts (50g) (PM)
Kcal 200 Pro 19g CHO 9.5g Fat 9.5g
Awesome, Wholesome (and Then-Some!) Beans and Eggs on Toast
Kcal 430 Pro 30g Carbs 45g Fat 14g
1 slice spelt bread (recipe not provided), ½ can organic baked beans with no artificial ingredients added, 2 omega-3 organic free range eggs.
To poach egg: put a splash of vinegar in a small pan of boiling water, crack egg straight into the pan. Remove when egg white is solid. We don’t really have to explain how to toast bread and heat up beans, do we?!
Smoked Salmon Bagels with Peas and broad beans with mint
Kcal 350 Pro 34g Carbs 38g Fat 8g
Smoked salmon (130g), wholewheat bagel, lemon juice, low-fat cream cheese, lemon to serve, peas (50g), broad beans(50g), mint to taste.
Boil peans and broad beans, cook salmon if necessary, then add other ingredients to finish
Venison and Mango curry
Kcal 316 Pro 10g Carbs 42g Fat 12g
Venison (per 160g meat), mango (½), 2 tsp combined coriander, cumin, paprika, ginger, chilli (½), cinnamon, chili powder, garam-masala, chicken stock, coconut milk (200ml), onion (½), Coconoil (1 tsp), garlic (½ clove per serving) and spices.
Heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Chop then fry the onion for 3-to-4 minutes, add the ginger and garlic and continue frying for another 3-to-4 minutes. Add the spices, meat, chicken stock and coconut milk. Cover and simmer until venison is fully cooked, then add the mango and herbs and cook for a further 10 minutes.
400g ‘Total 0%’ natural yogurt with flaked almonds (AM)
Kcal 270 Pro 26g Carbs 18g Fat 10g
Carrot, beetroot, celery, 1 tsp, Garden of Life green.
100Kcal 20-25g carbs
2 tablespoons walnuts (PM)
Kcal 340 Pro 7g Carb 2g Fat 33g
Kcal250 Pro 25g Cho 19g Fat 8g
1 scoop whey protein blended with 1 pear with flax-seed oil (1tsp)
Seared citrus Tuna with Cabbage, Apple and caraway
Kcal 280 Pro 34g Carbs 21g Fat 11g
Tuna steak (130g steak), orange segments (45g), watercress (handful), cabbage (100g), apple (½), olive oil (1 tsp), caraway (1 tsp).
Sear the tuna on a high heat, keeping raw in middle. While cooking the tuna, soften cabbage and apple with the carraway then serve over the tuna.
Salmon with Moroccan Spiced Yogurt with Roasted Cauliflower
Kcal 540 Pro 34g Carbs 45g Fat 19g
Salmon (130g), almonds (10g), ground coriander, harissa paste (10g), ground ginger (1 tsp), walnuts (10g), yoghurt (2 dsp), garlic powder, 2 tsp tomato puree, cumin (¼ tsp), nutmeg (¼ tsp), cinnamon (¼ tsp), cayenne (¼ tsp), cauliflower (100g), cumin (1 tsp per serving), coriander (1 tsp per serving), coconoil (1 tsp per serving), almonds (10g), chilli (1)
Marinate meat in liquid ingredients and spice, then grill. Roast the cauliflower in the ingredients listed in italics.
Three Egg Spinach Omelette (AM)
Kcal 295 Pro 25g Carbs 1g Fat 20g
Three beaten eggs, 100g frozen spinach, coconut oil for frying.
Defrost the spinach cubes in the pan with a small amount of water and coconut oil/olive oil. When the spinach is steamed, make sure there is no residual water left, and then add the eggs. Stir eggs and spinach together to spread evenly. Cook over a low heat.
45g non-roasted nuts (PM)
Kcal 370 Pro 7g Carbs 5g Fat 36g
Pecans and walnuts ideal.
Kcal 150 Pro 13g Carbs 6g Fat 8g
1 egg, 2 scoops protein powder, 25g pumpkin seed flour (use coffee grinder to grind – seeds are tough), nuts, goat’s milk, serve with a tsp of manuka honey.
Grind nuts/seeds in coffee grinder; combine with egg and protein powder and a small splash of goat’s milk. Add more goat’s milk to the mixture 2 tsp at a time until it is like thick paint. Melt a good amount of Coconoil in the pan and start frying over a medium/high heat. Move the mixture and fold with a spatula, to get the whole mixture set. Leave for 2-3min per pancake until it becomes solid all the way through and starts coming away from the pan, looking brown at the edges. Flip, cook the other side and serve.
Beef Sirloin with Pancetta Brussels
Kcal 480 Pro 42g Carbs 10g Fat 29g
Beef sirloin (10oz steak), sprouts (80g), chestnuts (30g), bacon/pancetta (1 rasher).
Boil sprouts, then fry pancetta and cook chestnuts in pancetta fat and combine. Grill (on a high heat) the sirloin. Serve together!
Kcal 375 Pro 20g Cho 56g, Fat 8g
Milk (75 ml), good chicken stock (to make up 250 ml), shallots (2), parsley (1 tsp), red pepper (¼), garlic (½ clove per serving), corn flour to thicken.
Cook all ingredients in good quality stock.
Brown Rice Salad
Basmati rice (80g), spring onion (1), caraway seeds, walnuts (10g), pumpkin seeds (15g), red pepper (¼), chicken stock, celery (stick), courgettes (¾), raw carrot (1) tsp.
Boil rice, combine raw veg and dress with seeds and liquids; serve with spelt roll.
Pea guacamole with 2 oat cakes (AM)
Kcal 170 Pro 8g Cho 23g Fat 6g
Peas (100g), low-fat cream cheese (2 dsp), chives(tsp), mint (tsp).
Boil, then add other ingredients and blend to finish. Serve with 2 oatcakes.
2 dsp of CHIA SEED MIX (PM)
Kcal 200 Pro 10g Carbs 6g Fat 15g
1 apple or pear
Kcal 60 Carbs 15g