Some of my favourite foods to get protein from are things like salmon, eggs, chicken, beef, cheese, yoghurt and nuts. I love fresh whole foods, and I love cooking. I focus particularly on protein, because kayak slalom is a high-impact, and sometimes very cold sport. Both of these things put my body under a lot of stress, and I need to be able to recover as much as possible between sessions. I can’t imagine a better end to a hard day of training than a massive steak, salad and a pile of sweet potato wedges.
Because I’ve been playing with nutrition this past winter, I’ve discovered that when I try to stick to less ‘heavy’ carbohydrates on rest days, such as pasta, rice or bread, it leaves me feeling much fresher and responsive to big carbohydrate meals on training days. I think if you took carbohydrates away from me completely on rest days though, I’d be on the edge of socially acceptable in less than four hours. So one of my favourite meals to have on a rest day, is brunch.
Sleep is a massive part of recovery. In fact, with a bad nights sleep, you can wave goodbye to a lot of the progress you have made with eating and hydrating yourself well. So on rest days, I sleep for as long as I possibly can (which ends up only being an hour after I’d normally get up. Anyone who wakes up early regularly can probably relate) then have a massive brunch. Recently, a new recipe has taken first place in my long-standing league of favourite brunch meals. It’s almost completely protein-dominant ingredients, and manages to disguise itself as pancakes:
Raw Cacao Protein Pancakes
Blend it all together, and use it like normal pancake batter.
I’m notoriously awful at making pancakes. I take one look at a non stick pan and it ends up with an inch of burned batter stuck to the bottom, the spatula melted to the handle and the hob blowing up. But I have discovered that if you make the batter into very tiny pancakes, up to four at a time if you’re feeling confident, it doesn’t turn on you and become grisly, charcoaled goo. Also if you make really small ones it makes a massive pile, which is wonderful. I usually cover mine in Skyr yoghurt, berries, honey and pecan nuts, which go beautifully with the smooth cacao flavour protein. Enjoy!
Amber Maslen is an elite canoe slalom athlete selected to represent Great Britain at the Under 23 World & European Championship Team 2016. Follow her progress on her blog, and stay tuned for more of her favourite protein packed healthy recipes.