It is well known that protein is an essential nutrient in a person's diet. We need protein for growth, repair and to produce hormones and enzymes.
Examples of good sources of protein include fish, meat, dairy, nuts, seeds and pulses and lentils. Protein is a key nutrient in a rugby player's daily diet. As well as being important after intense training sessions when muscles are damaged and fatigued, protein also helps a player maintain muscle mass.
Rugby players' muscular physiques must be maintained to maximise performance during a long intense season making quality protein intake and timing a key daily consideration for Leinster Rugby players.
A general rule of thumb for protein intake is 1.7g per kg body mass for active individuals per day. For a 75kg man that amounts to approximately 130g of protein. A 110kg rugby player will therefore need as much as 200g of protein daily, which is a fair whack!
An egg contains roughly 8g of protein whereas a medium sized chicken breast contains on average 30g of protein! Typically speaking people tend to eat their main protein sources at lunch and breakfast, however, appetite control and a steady rate of recovery are just two reasons why it is important that protein intake is spread evenly throughout the day in three main meals and two to three snacks.
Below are some simple and delicious recipes you can use to help meet your protein needs throughout the day. Beef and lamb are both great protein sources for main meals. Oats combined with nuts and seeds make a tasty granola bar which is also a good protein snack option.
500g of quality minced lamb or beef
1 clove of garlic crushed
Half of a finely chopped onion
1 chili, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tsp. of fennel seeds, roasted and ground
1 tsp. chopped coriander leaves
20g cashew nuts
Salt and pepper
1 Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2 Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl
3 Form the meat mixture into patties or desired shape and size
4 Heat up a grill pan or regular pan to a medium heat
5 Place the burgers on the pan turning on both sides for 3-4 minutes
6 Next place the burgers in the oven for 20 minutes
7 Serve with guacamole, salsa, sweet potato wedges or mash, green salad, potato wedges.
Mid-Afternoon Snack - Recovery Granola Bars
Granola bars are a convenient snack if you are on the go or need a pre or post training snack. They also provide a good source of protein and a steady supply of energy to the body.
130g of oatmeal
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
3 Tbsp. mixed seeds
3 Tbsp. peanut butter
3 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
2 Tbsp. flaxseed
2 Tbsp. flaked almonds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1.Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl
2.Melt the peanut butter, coconut oil and honey in a medium-sized pan on medium heat. Do not boil or carmelise.
3. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl, quickly mix in the dry ingredients and mix well to form a dough.
4.Spread the mix evenly in a shallow, non-stick 8x8 pan, pack down tightly and bake for 15 minutes until the sides begin to turn brown
5. Remove from the oven, cool for 45 minutes and cut into desired shape and size
Further recipes and nutritional advice from Daniel Davey is available at @foodflicker on facebook and Twitter.