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Eating for triathlon

Nutrition plays an important part in being active, whether you are a novice taking your first steps in the sport, or an Olympic or Paralympic athlete bidding for gold. Below are some useful meals that will help you with maintaining energy, recovery and performance.

As a triathlete, you’re asking a lot from your body. Take these 5 nutrition tips on board to help you achieve peak performance this year.


Plan your meals

For athletes with specific performance goals, planning ahead is very important. Plan your meals for the week and make a shopping list detailing what you’ll have to buy. If you’re busy during the week, meals can be prepared in advance during the weekend. You’ll be surprised how much time and effort your food prep will save you!


Don't skip meals

Your body needs food throughout the day. Skipping meals may result in poor energy availability for training and longer recovery times which can impact on training adaptation.

Long periods of low energy intake through skipping meals can also impact on your immune function and well being which can then effect the consistency of your training. Regular meals throughout the day will ensure a good supply of nutrients to allow the body to recover and be ready to go again.


Optimal nutrient intake

Carbohydrates and healthy fats are important sources of energy required by the body. It is also important to get regular good quality protein throughout the day to help your muscles recover and rebuild. Including plenty of vegetables, berries and fruits in your diet will help ensure your intake of vitamins and minerals is sufficient. Good quality food intake will help to maximise your training gains.


Variety of food

Variety is important! Firstly, variety will ensure you get a range of different nutrients that your body needs and secondly you won’t get bored of eating the same foods day in and day out. Why not try out a new vegetable or fruit this week?


Enjoy your food

Many athletes are proper foodies and taking the time to have some nice meals with family and friends between all your training and other commitments will be good for both body and soul.


The meals have been broken down into Breakfast, Lunch, Evening meals and Snacks, each of which will help you achieve – whatever your goals.

Eating well is all about having a regular consumption of nutritious food and drink. If you as a triathlete give your body the proper fuel, you will have more energy for training, work and education, friends, family and other everyday activities.


After a good night’s sleep it’s been several hours since you’ve last eaten and your body is in need of energy. This is especially important if you’re training in the morning. Good breakfast alternatives are for example smoothies, porridge and yoghurt with cereal and berries.

Why not try one of the following:

  • Poached egg on wholemeal toast – 2 eggs, 2 toast (369 kcal – Carbs 33g – Protein 20g – Fat 13g)
  • Porridge with fresh fruit – Semi-skimmed milk, 50g porridge, fresh fruit (450kcal – Carbs 50g – Protein 32g – Fat 7g) If you’re in need of a more luxurious porridge try adding some honey and yoghurt (click here for recipe).
  • Whole wheat cereal biscuits with a sprinkling of mixed seeds – 3 Weetabix with semi-skimmed milk and seeds (347 kcal – Carbs 40g – Protein 15g – Fat 16g)
  • Omelette with tomato and Cottage Cheese – 2 eggs (273 kcal – Carbs 4g – Protein 27g – Fat 16g) For a simple Omelette recipe and some more ideas for fillings click here.
  • Hard boiled eggs on seeded wholemeal toast – 2 eggs, 2 toast (432 kcal – Carbs 28g – Protein 28g – Fat 20g)



Time for some food again! A delicious omelette, chicken salad or salmon wrap are good alternatives for lunch. Remember to include some fruit and vegetables.

Why not try one of the following:

  • Chicken Salad within a wholemeal wrap – 100g chicken (391 kcal – Carbs 37g – Protein 39g – Fat 11g)
  • Tuna Salad and a wholemeal pitta bread – 150g tuna chunks, 1 pitta (448 kcal – Carbs 58g – Protein 20g – Fat 13g)
  • Three Bean and Red Pepper Soup – 400g (347 kcal – Carbs 40g – Protein 15g – Fat 16g) With root vegetables in abundance throughout winter look at using them in a Spiced Swede Soup (click here for recipe) or a classic Country Vegetable Soup (click here recipe).
  • Feta Cheese and Cottage Cheese Salad with Light Balsamic Vinegar (229 kcal – Carbs 11g – Protein 23g – Fat 8g)
  • Wholemeal Pittas with Chicken and Mixed Salad – 2 pittas, 100g chicken (410 kcal – Carbs 56g – Protein 37g – Fat 3g)

Evening Meal

For many athletes, an evening meal is one of the most important meals as it gives an excellent opportunity to fuel whilst spending some quality time with friends and family. If you have an afternoon or evening training session and don’t  have an evening meal you might find it harder to recover before your next training session. Your evening meal can be varied endlessly – why not try homemade pasta Bolognese served with salad and bread rolls?

Why not try one of the following:

  • Sirloin Steak with Mushrooms and Sweet Potato – 200g Steak, 140g Sweet Potato (448 kcal – Carbs 39g – Protein 57g – Fat 12g) If you want to marinade your steak why not try this Balsamic Steak (click here for recipe) for a fresh twist.
  • Seasoned Chicken with Mediterranean Vegetables – 140g Chicken, 200g Veg and 50g Cous Cous (474 kcal – Carbs 35g – Protein 45g – Fat 15g)
  • Chicken and Prawn Paella – 400g (453 kcal – Carbs 74g – Protein 25g – Fat 5g)
  • Chicken and Peanuts Stir Fry – 100g Chicken, 160g stir fry veg, 100g egg noodles, 60g peanut sauce (486 kcal – Carbs 42g – Protein 40g – Fat 17g)
  • Salmon Steak with Mixed Vegetables and Potatoes – 100g salmon, 160g veg, 200g new potatoes (452 kcal – Carbs 44g – Protein 35g – Fat 15g) For a simple way to spice up your salmon try adding some Cajun Seasoning (click here for recipe).


The favourite word of many athletes. The word ‘snacks’ make eyes light up, helps fight hunger and keeps blood sugar levels steady. Fruit, nuts, yoghurt and energy bars are good alternatives. 


Why not try one of the following mid-morning, mid-afternoon or evening:

  • Large Handful of Mixed Nuts, Raisins and Sultanas – 40g (209 kcal – Carbs 40g – Protein 8g – Fat 13g)
  • Cottage Cheese on Crisp Bread Crackers – 120g (162 kcal – Carbs 30g – Protein 16g – Fat 2g)
  • Reduced Fat Peanut Butter on 2 Multigrain Crisp Breads – 30g (250 kcal – Carbs 23g – Protein 8g – Fat 13g)

Plus, a piece of fruit

  • Banana (116 kcal – Carbs 27g – Protein 1g – Fat 0g)
  • Orange (62 kcal – Carbs 15g – Protein 1g – Fat 0g)
  • Apple (95 kcal – Carbs 25g – Protein 1g – Fat 0g)
  • Grapefruit – 100g (32 kcal – Carbs 8g – Protein 1g – Fat 0g)
  • Pear (96 kcal – Carbs 26g – Protein 1g – Fat 0g)

N.B. All nutrition information is a guide and will vary depending on source and brands

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