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Eating for exercise

11/04/2012

With Easter gone, it's the perfect time to get fit for summer with a new range of quick and healthy egg recipes.

Whether you’re a marathon runner, gym-bunny or a yoga enthusiast, eating to get the best out of exercise is important for optimum performance, so Anita Bean, registered nutritionist specialising in sports nutrition, has joined forces with British Lion eggs to provide a variety of recipes for pre- and post-activity.  

With the previous limits on eggs having been lifted, and top athletes such as Victoria Pemberton, Jessica Ennis, Michael Phelps and Paula Radcliffe recently quoted as saying they eat eggs as part of their training, eggs are currently enjoying a resurgence.

Protein is an important element in our diets and is key to building and maintaining muscle. Protein-rich foods, such as eggs, supply amino acids which are used for muscle growth. However, a growing number of people are buying protein supplements to improve their strength and appearance and could be wasting their money.

Recent research also found protein-based sports drinks do not improve or give any benefit to athletic performance [1]. The NHS states that in the UK, enough protein is easily available from our diet, even for endurance athletes [2].

Anita Bean BSc RNutr said: “With previous limits on egg consumption lifted, fitness fans will be pleased to know that eggs represent one of the cheapest and highest quality protein foods that you can buy and can usefully add to their intake of essential nutrients.”

Eggs for Action recipe snapshot:

  • Pre-workout meal: Toasted bagel with spinach and eggs - helps sustain power output during exercise thanks to its high content of carbohydrate, which is combined with protein (from the eggs) to lower the meal’s glycaemic index (GI)
  • Post-workout meal: Baked eggs with Mediterranean vegetables - an excellent way of getting at least two of an athlete’s 5-a-day fruit and vegetables. It is a good natural source of vitamins A, C and E - important antioxidants that promote recovery after exercise

Eggs for Action healthy facts snapshot:

  • The previous limits on egg consumption due to their cholesterol content have now been removed. Eggs are a healthy fast food for all the family, especially if combined with vegetables and salads as part of balanced meals
  • Sports nutritionists advise that 10-20g protein is considered the optimal amount for aiding recovery after exercise and a simple two-egg dish will provide this
  • A medium egg contains less than 80 calories
  • Eggs are naturally rich in vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B12 and vitamin D
  • New research found that eating eggs at breakfast, compared to other common breakfasts, may help weight loss by keeping you fuller for longer and helping to reduce calorie intake from subsequent meals [3]
  • It’s important to remember to look for eggs bearing the British Lion mark, which guarantees that they have been produced to the highest standards of food safety

For full recipes and further healthy eggs facts please click here

References:

  1. Betts, J Stevenson, E. Should Protein Be Included in CHO-Based Sports Supplements? Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: July 2011, Volume 43, Issue 7 – pp 1244-1250.
  2. NHS Choices. Supplements, Who Needs Them? A Behind the Headlines report. June 2011.
  3. Wilson L, Fallaize R, Gray J, Morgan L, Griffin B. Eggs at breakfast increase satiety and reduce the subsequent intake of energy at lunch and an evening meal relative to cereal or croissant-based breakfasts. University of Surrey. Presented at The Nutrition Society Winter Meeting 6th-7th December 2011.