Gifts that keep on giving

How the Christmas Day leftovers can aid your step-overs and boost your all round footballing fitness with sports nutrition scientist, Sarah Coe

Early bird: Muscle building morning meal

“Don't let leftover turkey go to waste,” says Coe. “It's a good source of protein (100g roast turkey provides around 31g protein), is low in fat without the skin and provides B vitamins that help release energy from the rest of the food you eat.” Pile on lettuce, avocado or pasta with shredded turkey.

Raisin your game: Energy carb-based booster

Raisins – a staple of the Christmas pudding that’s up there with the Brandy in essential ingredients but a little more football friendly. Take tablespoons full  of raisin or sultanas and take a similar amount of chopped walnuts if granddad hasn’t scoffed the lot already. Cook some pasta in boiling water – while heating oil in a frying pan and cooking a small onion until soft and golden brown – about 8-10 mins. Add the raisins and 100ml of chicken stock and cook until hot through. Toss with the pasta, Parmesan, walnuts and parsley.

More after the break

Full-time fig: Recovery filling feast

“It's vital to start refuelling as soon as possible after being on the pitch,” says Cox. “Festive dried fruit like figs, dates and cranberries will give you the carbohydrate you need to start replenishing your body's glycogen stores.” The Christmas nut selection will give you protein to help your muscles recover and repair. “Just go easy on portions though as nuts are energy dense so a handful is just right, and pick unsalted versions.”

For more nutrition tips see:
Don't turn into a Christmas pudding
New Year, New You

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