WATCH: Leinster Rugby nutritionist Daniel Davey's top tips and recipes
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Daniel, who's also worked as nutritionist with the Dublin football team, was helping a young GAA player get the most out of his diet.
"Life is a game of inches."
If there is a bad time to incorporate the words of Al Pacino, we've yet to encounter it. If there is one thing sports players can take from his classic movie Any Given Sunday, it's that the little changes you make can have a big impact.
Making little changes with your diet can not only help keep you healthier overall, but also improve your performance on the field. Seeing as he's worked with teams like the Leinster Rugby squad and the Dublin footballers, few are as knowledgeable in this regard as Daniel Davey.
As part of SuperValu's #LoveFruitAndVeg campaign, Daniel guided 24-year-old GAA player Peter English on a path to better eating. Rather than sticking to his old habits of firing a pizza into the oven, Daniel showed him how quick and easy it is to make something healthier.
Daniel's top tips
1. Write down your nutrition goals at the beginning of the week and review them at the end of the week to see how well you achieved your goals. Keep this simple with things like what meals you want to prepare, a new recipe you want to try, or experiment with a new herb or spice.
2. Plan your meals to match your exercise needs, more energy and carbohydrate-based foods on highly active days
3. Track your nutrition on an app like myfitnesspal or use a journal if you want to make sure you are meeting your energy needs
4. Prepare snacks for pre and post exercise so you optimally recover after exercise
5. Monitor your urine colour to assess your hydration, a lighter pale colour means you are more likely to be hydrated
6. Buy a water bottle to use for hydration and keep it with you in your kit bag and car. Aim to have a minimum of four meals each day that have a good source of protein like yogurt, beans, meat or fish
Nutty Chocolate Protein bars
- 200g oats
- 2 scoops of chocolate whey
- 3 tbsp. chia seeds
- 100g mixed nuts
- 50g mixed dried fruit
- 3 large Tbsp. peanut butter
- 3 tbsp. honey
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 100g mint dark chocolate
- 75ml milk of choice
1. First roughly blend the peanut butter, nuts, dark chocolate and honey to a coarse mixture, not smooth.
2. Then add all the dry ingredients to a bowl along with the nut butter chocolate paste
3. Mix and add a little milk, then kneed all the ingredients together to form a type of dough mixture.
4. Add the mixture to a baking tray and spread evenly. The press down hard to get it all to bind.
5. Place the squares in the fridge to set for two hours
6. Once set, take them out and cut into squares.
Optional – Melt 75g dark chocolate and spread it evenly over the top, place in the fridge for 20 minutes to cool then serve.
Quick and easy chicken stir fry
- 150g egg noodles
- 3 chicken breasts, cut into strips
- ½ of a small onion
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
- 1 clove of garlic
- ½ thumb of ginger
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- Pinch of salt
1. Place a medium-sized saucepan on a medium heat and add 400 ml water, when the water is simmering add in the noodles and cook for 3 minutes or until they are almost cooked. Once almost cooked, remove, strain and set aside
2. Heat up the frying pan on a medium heat and add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and add the onions, scallions, garlic, salt and ginger
3. Fry the garlic, ginger, onions and salt for 1-2 minutes in the sesame oil then add the chicken, cook for 3 minutes then add in the sweet chili sauce and cook for another 2-3 minutes
4. Add in the diced peppers and soy sauce and mix well.
5. Add the noodles and toss gently every minute and cook for another 5 minutes stirring well so all the ingredients are well combined.
6. Serve in two shallow bowls or plates
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