Tofu Burgers

Protein plays an important role in an athlete’s diet. It helps repair damaged body tissue and assists in building and strengthening muscles.¹ How much protein does the average athlete need? Training may slightly increase protein requirements; however, most recreational athletes easily meet protein targets when they consume a varied diet that focuses on nourishing foods.¹ See the table below to estimate how much protein you need based on your current weight in kilograms.

Guidelines for maximum protein needs for different groups of athletes:

Sedentary 0.8g/kg body mass
General training program 1.0g/kg body mass
Heavy training program 1.2-1.7g/kg body mass

In addition to amount of protein, it is also important for athletes to consider the timing of protein intakes. Eating foods rich in protein with your main meals can help to maintain lean body mass, while consuming protein soon after exercise may increase muscle protein synthesis rates.² Synthesis rates are highest when meals/snacks containing 20 grams of protein (closer to 30 grams in older populations) are consumed. Newer research is also suggesting that eating a protein rich snack before going to bed may help to promote post-exercise muscle growth during overnight sleep.² Recommendations for protein timing are to consume about 20-25g of protein with each main meal, 20-25g of protein after exercise and 20-40g of protein prior to sleep.² If you are a smaller individual or are monitoring total calories eaten, plan to make one of your main meals also your post-exercise snack.

Foods that provide approximately 10g of protein:

2 small eggs, 30g cheese, 70g cottage cheese, 1 cup low fat milk, 35g cooked meat, 40g cooked poultry, 2 slices French toast, ½ cup edamame, ¾ cup plain yogurt, 50g cheddar cheese, 50g canned salmon/tuna, ½ cup cooked lentils, ¼ cup peanuts, 75g firm tofu

Tofu Burger

Tofu Burgers

Makes about 12 burgers

Ingredients:

2 14oz blocks of organic, firm tofu, pressed.

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

2 large carrots, grated

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup pecans (or walnuts), toasted

3 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp peanut oil

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 tsp black pepper

2/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

Burger toppings as per your choice (cheese slices, tomato, avocado, onions, lettuce, etc)

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
  2. In a skillet over low-medium heat, heat the oil. Add in the onions and dried oregano and cook for about 7-8 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots and bell peppers and cook for another 7-8 minutes.
  4. Transfer the vegetables to a food processor.
  5. Add tofu and remaining ingredients to the food processor (depending on the size of the appliance you may have to blend the items in two batches). Pulse until combined.
  6. Transfer blended mix to a large bowl. Adjust seasonings as per preference (add extra Dijon mustard or soy sauce or add some hot sauce). Mix in bread crumbs.
  7. Using a 1/2 cup scoop, scoop out burger mixture and place onto baking sheet. Gently flatten burgers.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes (flipping halfway through).
  9. Eat with or without a bun, topped with your favourite ingredients.

Recipe adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites (2013).

References:

  1. Australian Institute of Sports. Current Concepts in Sports Nutrition.
http://www.ausport.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/143386/CurrentConcepts.pdf. 
Accessed January 25, 2016.
  1. van Loon LJC. Protein Ingestion Prior to Sleep: Potential for Optimizing Post-
Exercise Recovery. Gatorade Sports Science Institute. http://www.gssiweb.org/Article
/sse-117-protein-ingestion-prior-to-sleep-potential-for-optimizing-post-exercise-
recovery. Published 2014. Accessed January 25, 2016.

 

Sweet Potato Oven Fries

DSC_0463

Although carbohydrates and their role in fueling the body has been well studied, many athletes (recreational and professional) remain unsure if and how much carbohydrate they need to support training, performance and activities of daily life.¹

Body fat and glycogen (carbohydrate) stores are the main sources of fuel for the body, with carbohydrates being the key fuel source for exercise. Unlike fat stores, which are relatively plentiful, carbohydrate stores are limited to what the muscles and liver can hold.² Therefore, it is important for athletes to eat adequate amounts. Carbohydrate requirements are individual. They will vary day to day based on the frequency, duration and intensity of activity participated in. On active days, individuals should plan to increase carbohydrate intake, while on low active days, individuals should plan to reduced carbohydrate intake.¹

Here are a couple of different ways to estimate carbohydrate needs…

Daily needs for fuel and recovery:

Situation Suggested carbohydrate targets
Light Low intensity/skill based exercise 3-5g/kg body mass
Moderate Moderate exercise (~1 hr/day) 5-7g/kg body mass
High Moderate-high intensity (1-3hr/day) 6-10g/kg body mass

Another way to view needs: Plan about 45-60g carbohydrate/meal and 15-30g carbohydrate/snack or small meal. Choose fewer carbohydrate foods on lower activity days. 15 grams is about…

Starches/Grains Fruits Dairy
1 slice bread/small roll 1 medium apple 1 cup milk
¼ bagel ½ large banana ¾ cup plain yogurt
½ cup dry cereal or cooked hot 1 cup berries
1/3 cup pasta 1 cup melon
1/3 cup rice ½ medium pear
½ cup corn ¾ cup pineapple
½ cup medium potato 2 Tbsp raisins
½ cup beans/lentils
2 cups popcorn

What are good types of carbohydrate foods to choose? Look for carbohydrates that contain other nutrients such as protein, vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Good choices include whole grain breads and cereals, fruit, starchy vegetables like potatoes, squash, corn, low fat dairy products. Plan to limit or avoid higher calorie and more nutrient poor carbohydrate choices like soft drinks, juice, sports foods (drinks/gels/bars), pastries, cakes, chips.

One of my favourite carbohydrate-rich foods are sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a good source of Vitamin A (when eaten with the skin on), Vitamin C and Fibre. They taste great roasted, but can also be served steamed or mashed. Homemade oven sweet potato fries are a healthier alternative to traditional French fries. Use the recipe below as a good starting point, but feel free to adjust seasonings how you like.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

Methods:

  1. Line a large baking sheet (or 2) with parchment paper
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degree F.
  3. Slice sweet potatoes into thin, match stick sized pieces
  4. Add sliced sweet potatoes to a large bowl and mix with olive oil and seasonings
  5. Transfer fries to a baking sheet (for crispier fries ensure there is a space between each piece).
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, flipping the fries half way
  7. Serve hot and enjoy.

(For spicy fries try adding paprika, cayenne pepper and cumin; for savoury fries add extra garlic, oregano and thyme; for sweeter fries try adding maple syrup and cinnamon)

References: