How much variety should athletes have on their plates
My friend, Michal Kovac shared his experience while training in Kenya.
Unlike lunch, they take dinner a little more serious here. Sometimes we only have dry spaghetti, a piece of tuna and vegetables, but mostly we get a Kenyan specialty – chapati. Chapati is something like a lokshe in Slovakia.
However, they are much juicier, taste very good and it is clearly the most popular food for all foreigners from Slovakia through India to America.
Ground beef and cabbage are served for this purpose. I don’t know exactly how cabbage is prepared, but it tastes great. Another raw material is sukuma and, of course, ugali. Sukuma is a plant that resembles kohlrabi leaves. It tastes like spinach combined with something more acidic, the first thing that struck me was a dandelion. Just nothing much!
Even worse is ugali. While this is a national dish that Kenyans cannot forgo, the truth is that ugali is just boiled ground corn and water. The taste is bland, sometimes unpleasant. Some locals claim that it tastes sweet, others admit fairly that ugali has no taste, and therefore it should be eaten together with the mentioned succum.
There are several foreign visitors in our camp, but few can handle this combination. However, when all the ingredients are mixed together, wrapped in chapati, something like a tortilla is created. Then the whole thing tastes really great. Together with mango compote and melon, it’s a great ride. 🙂
How much variety should athletes have on their plate?
While I recommend athletes to get as much variety in their meals as they can for several reasons, you don’t need to stress it. Introduce new foods to your diet slowly.
- Try a different vegetable weekly, for example.
- I typically recommend athletes to have three or more colours on their plate.
- Use seasonal ingredients, that way you will introduce variety to your plate without really trying.
- Seasonal ingredients are also more sustainable and ecological as they don’t need to be transported from across the world. At the same time, you are supporting local producers.
Take home message
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