Lunch of champions - what to eat for lunch when you’re training in the afternoon or evening

Lunch ideas for afternoon training

If you have an afternoon training session, you need to make sure your energy levels are topped up. For this, carbs are key.Carbs come in two main types. They can contain fast release energy, like sports drinks, gels and other sugary foods, and give you a quick hit of energy; or they can contain slow release energy, like pasta and cereals, which give you a steady supply of energy. For afternoon sessions you need a mix of both, but more of the fast-release ones. A humble peanut butter and jam sandwich has a great balance of slow and fast release carbs for an afternoon session. Why not try my healthy take on the banana split, with 71g of carbs. It’s packed full of fast-release carbs so is ideal about an hour or two before you train.

Banana Split (serves 1)

1 mediumbanana

2 tbspyogurt

3 tbspoats

1 tsphoney

3 largestrawberries, quartered

5raspberries

24g plain chocolate (4 average squares)

Halve the banana length-ways and put it in a bowl. Mix the porridge oats, honey and yogurt and place in the middle of the banana. Sprinkle with strawberries and raspberries. Drizzle with melted chocolate.

Lunch ideas for evening training

If you’re training in the later in the day you need to have more of the slow-release carbs. Pasta salads or chicken wraps with veg are perfect here. This rainbow couscous is packed with veg and contains a whopping 69g of carbohydrates per serving. As it mostly contains slow-release carbs it’ll hold off the fatigue and keep you going longer when you train later. And it’s packed full of anti-oxidants to help you recover.

Rainbow Couscous (serves 2)

2 tsp olive oil                                              

1 small red onion, sliced                           

166g couscous                         

1 vegetable stock cube            

1 medium orange pepper, diced             

¼ average Cucumber, diced                     

1 cup cherry tomatoes                              

50g feta cheese, crumbled     

2 tbsp pesto, green                                    

2 heaped tbsp sweetcorn kernels          

Fry onions in olive oil until soft. Add stock cube to boiliing water and use it to make up couscous following the manufacturer’s instructions. In a large bowl, mix couscous, onions, vegetables and all other ingredients.

These are just some general tips for helping you to perform, but we're all individual and will respond slightly differently to food and drink. If you want to be the best you can, it's worth having your diet analysed in a nutrition consultation to get a nutrition plan that's personalised to you, your race and food preferences, and to help you meet your individual 

Dr Ali Hill