Wednesday, October 25, 2017

#WorldPastaDay: Six super pasta dishes for swimmers

Pasta has long been a staple in the diet of any athlete. For elite swimmers, the required calorie intake can soar to between 3,000 and 6,000 calories a day, just to replace the energy used up in intense training.

Pasta is a complex carbohydrate and is high in vitamins and minerals, and the starch provides slow releasing energy into the body. That means it can be served up as a healthy night-before meal or used as the perfect lunch for recharging after a workout.

Here are six exticing (so no tuna pasta) and healthy (ie no mac & cheese) pasta dishes for any swimmer – young or old.

Penne rigate with red kidney beans and tomatoes

Depending on the size of the portion you make, this can be used for lunch or an evening meal. The kidney beans pack both antioxidants and protein, making them one of the most beneficial super foods to promote both energy and health (you can substitute them for pinto beans too).

Penne Rigate (1)

Hannah’s own…carbonara

Okay, so the picture you can see isn’t actually Hannah Miley’s creation. But the Olympian and two-time Commonwealth champion did tell us that she loves her home made take on the classic carbonara, featuring bacon and mushrooms. She insists on using bacon with the fat cut off, or instead she substitutes it for turkey slices to ensure that balance between protein and carb. The mushrooms provide additional protein to optimise recovery, as well as iron and vitamin C.

Creamy -bacon -carbonara -98843-1 (1)

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

An Italian classic, even if the literal translation leaves a lot to be desired. Its ingredients typically include tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, olives, capers and garlic, but different versions can include peppers or chillies. All of that combined with hearty spaghetti makes this dish ideal for the night before a race.


Salmon linguine with broccoli and pine nuts

Scotland is famous for its salmon. It’s one of the best fish anyone can eat, not just athletes, because it’s full of omega-3. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin B12, vitamin D and potassium. As part of this dish it acts as the main protein source and it fits nicely with the linguine pasta. The broccoli is high in fibre and contains minerals such as calcium. Adding in the pine nuts (and FYI, Tesco do a spinach and pine nut salad for around £2) and you bring into play healthy fats, more fibre and protein, as well magnesium and vitamin E. 

Salmon Linguine

Pesto and prawn farfalle

Ideal for a post workout meal. Prawns, like other fish and shellfish, are an excellent source of omega-3. They’re also low in saturated fat and provide a good source of vitamin E. The farfalle pasta isn’t as substantial as penne or conchiglie shells, but it’s filling and perfect for arranging with salad or asparagus (latter shown below). Lemon zest can be drizzled on top for an extra taste sensation.

Farfalle -pasta -with -asparagus -and -prawns

Mediterranean chicken orzo

Often mistaken for rice, orzo is a form of short-cut pasta most often found in soups like minestrone. Here it provides the starch in its own unique way alongside protein-rich chicken and combined with celery, cherry tomatoes, chopped carrot, garlic, mushrooms and onions it makes for a healthy night-before stomach filler.

Syn -Free -one -pot -mediterranean -chicken -orzo -Slimming -World -25-683x 1024


The wildcard. If you haven’t hopped on board the courgette train it’s about time you did. Courgetti is literally just courgette that’s cut and peeled to looked like spaghetti. It turns spaghetti bolognese into a gluten free dish, and provides one of your five a day. It makes for a much lighter dinner and adds greenery to the meal. It’s also extremely low in calories and is high in water content.

Courgetti 3

On the overall importance of a good, healthy diet, Hannah Miley says: “If you're happy with what you're eating you will be happy in yourself, don't be afraid to experiment with different foods to find things you like.

A good diet will provide you with the best energy needed for important training sessions and/or competitions.”