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Homemade Granola & Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

Athletes constantly ask their coaches what they should eat.

Athletes constantly ask their coaches what they should eat, why they should eat certain foods and when they should be eating before and after workouts and races. These days there are many good and diverse nutritional choices and methodologies to choose from: organic, vegetarian, wheat free, dairy free, vegan, palaeolithic, supplements, vitamins, not to mention the many performance energy and recovery products. In this, the first of a series of nutrition suggestions, we offer two recipes from LifeSport coach Jessica Adam, who lives in Toronto. She has been a LifeSport coach for over three years and loves to work with beginner triathletes or more experienced triathletes that are trying a new distance.

Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with a Tomato Vinaigrette

Homemade Granola

Quinoa and Chickpea Salad With a Tomato Vinaigrette

What: Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing

When: This meal is ideal after a morning run or ride and/or before an afternoon swim as it is nutrition dense, but not heavy.

Why: This recipe contains protein in the quinoa, feta and chickpeas, which helps to repair your muscles. The carbohydrates in the veggies replenish your glycogen stores. The quinoa also has iron, that is involved in the delivery of oxygenated blood to your muscles and magnesium, which is important for bone strength, metabolism, immunity and muscle contractions. Quinoa is also gluten free.



Quinoa and Chickpea Salad:

–          1 cup rinsed quinoa

–          2 cups green beans trimmed and chopped

–          1 can (540ml) chickpeas drained and rinsed

–          1 red pepper chopped

–          1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing:

–          1/3 cup bottled strained tomatoes

–          2 tbsp red wine vinegar

–          2 tbsp olive oil

–          3 tbsp liquid honey

–          ½ tsp each dried Italian herb seasoning and salt

–          ¼ tsp pepper

–          Pinch cayenne pepper

(Canadian Living, March 2011)

Method of Preparation:

In saucepan bring quinoa and two cups of water to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 12 min.  Fluff with fork and let cool.  Meanwhile, in saucepan of boiling water, blanch green beans until tender, but still crisp (approx 3 minutes). Drain and refresh in bowl of ice water.  Drain and transfer to large bowl.  Stir in quinoa, chickpeas, red pepper, and feta.  For dressing, whisk all ingredients together.  Pour over salad.  Makes about 4 servings.

Homemade Granola

What: Homemade Granola

When: Definitely a pre-workout meal that is loaded with carbohydrates to power an athlete for a long bike workout. It may be a bit heavy before a run.  Serve the granola with your favourite yoghurt for added protein.  The yoghurt and the good fat in the nuts will also help you sustain your energy through the duration of the workout.

Why: This recipe contains carbohydrates to top up glycogen stores that will fuel you through a workout. There’s protein for muscle recovery and antioxidants in the dried berries, which have the potential to aid in muscle recovery and decrease soreness. There are also essential fats from the pumpkin and sunflower seeds and hazelnuts, which provide a fuel source during endurance events. This recipe is rich in complex carbohydrates from the bran, oats and barley. There is also protein in the nuts.



–          3 cups large flake oats

–          1 ½ cups barley flakes

–          ½ cup oat bran

–          1 cup unsweetened coconut

–          ½ tsp salt

–          1 cup hazelnuts

–          ½ cup pumpkin seeds

–          ½ cup sunflower seeds

–          ¼ cup water (or more if needed)

–          ½ cup maple syrup

–          1/3 cup honey

–          1 tsp vanilla

–          1 cup dried cranberries

–          ½ cup dried blueberries

Method of Preparation:

In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients.  In a smaller bowl whisk water and vanilla.  Combine the bowls together and stir well until completely coated.  Spread the mix out onto baking sheets.  Bake at 250 degrees until golden brown.  Stir every 10 minutes.  Cool and then stir in the dried fruit.  Makes about 12 servings

PER SERVING: about 420 cal, 9g protein, 53g carbohydrates, 22g total fat (9 saturated), 8g fibre, also a good source of vitamin A, folate, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.