The Rugby World Cup has begun, and we are looking at the foods to be eating if rugby is your game. Power is the name of the game when it comes to rugby, as players need plenty of strength to bulldoze through the defence wall. To prepare for the high-intensity energy on the field, fuelling up on the right foods is essential to ensure that you’re playing harder and recovering faster. These 5 foods are essential for any rugby player looking to step up their game.
The running aspect in rugby requires natural fuel to keep the player forging on. With sweet potatoes, not only will you get a burst of energy to go full speed ahead on the field, the starchy carbohydrate releases energy in a steady stream, so you won’t hit a sluggish period when game mode is switched on. To get the most out of this energy-rich spud, opt for healthier cooking methods instead of reaching for a plate of sweet potato fries.
A high level of muscle mass is vital for any rugby player; however, gaining that muscle mass requires a healthy proportion of fat — the unsaturated kind that is. Avocados provide a good ratio of healthy fats and proteins, which also play a role in muscle-building and recovery after a training session. To reel in all the goodness of the fruit, mash avocados into an egg salad for a heavy-duty protein meal, or spread them on toast for a quick burst of energy.
Build lean muscle by eating lean meats like chicken, which is packed with protein. While other lean meats like turkey and fish are stacked with similar benefits, chicken offers the highest proportion of muscle-building proteins, so you stay lean and recover faster after a brutal session on the field. Eat your chicken dish with a side of vegetables instead of mashed potatoes, so your body stocks up on vitamins and minerals too.
A powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, broccoli is great at detoxifying the body — particularly after a session on the field, when your body has built up lots of metabolic waste. The dark leafy vegetable is loaded with iron and antioxidant properties too, so your muscles are working twice as hard to build and recover. Combine broccoli with pasta for a healthy combination of vitamins and carbohydrates, or top it with some low-fat cheese for a boost of protein.
The breakfast for champions, oats or oat-based cereals like porridge are a great source of good carbohydrates as they’re great energy-boosters that jolt your body into activity, so you’re raring to go while you up a sweat. The chunkier the oats, the longer it takes your body to digest them, which means you’ll feel full for longer — staving off those sugar crashes. Pair your creamy bowl of oats with peanut butter for added protein, or throw in a handful of blueberries for heaps of vitamins and antioxidants.
If you’re looking for that extra punch in your post-exercise diet, read our 5 Perfect Post-Workout Foods feature, or find out which 5 foods boost your metabolism. For more ways to transform your eating your habits, sign up to the newsletter on the SSS website and get health tips delivered straight to your inbox.