Become a lean bean machine

Whether you’re playing, training, resting or recovering, make beans and pulses a priority with elite sports nutritionist Sharmain Davis’ meal plan
Bean: Red Lentils
Protein: Chicken breast
Sides: Spinach, tomatoes and Indian spices 
Nutrition*
528 calories
55g protein
45g carbohydrates
5.4g fat
When to eat: Non-exercise days
Experts says…
“Red lentils are high in fibre, keeping you fuller for longer. Serve with these low-calorie, nutrient-dense vegetables, plus garlic and spices. A dal is perfect for keeping energy levels up and weight down. Chicken adds lean protein.”
 
Bean: Green peas
Protein: Cottage cheese (with chives)
Sides: Sweet jacket potato
Nutrition*
512 calories
32g protein
94g carbohydrates
2g fat
When to eat: Pre-match
Expert says…
“You want something lower in fibre pre-match, as beans and pulses can... ‘affect’ your stomach. Peas are high in vitamin C; sweet potatoes provide sustained energy; cottage cheese will reduce muscle breakdown.”
 
Bean: Chickpeas
Protein: Steak and eggs
Sides: Couscous, red peppers and herbs
Nutrition*
950 calories
94.6g protein
87.5g carbohydrates
26g fat
When to eat: Before a bulk-building gym session
Expert says…
“Chickpeas are high in carbs, calories and protein – perfect for building muscle mass. Steak and eggs provide high-quality protein and fats, and the couscous’ carbs support lean muscle development.”
 
Bean: Edamame beans
Protein: Skinless salmon fillet
Sides: Jasmine rice and teriyaki sauce
Nutrition*
738 calories
53g protein
57g carbohydrates
28g fat
When to eat: Post-match
Expert says…
“High-protein edamames aid muscle recovery, while jasmine rice replenishes energy stores and teriyaki replaces electrolytes. The protein in salmon supports muscle repair; the omega-3 reduces inflammation.”
 
*Per standard single adult serving
 
Follow Sharmain at @TheDietConsulta
 
Healthy, tasty, versatile
Weight loss coach Gavin Allinson (@FatLossChef) lists the benefits:
 
“What’s not to like about beans and pulses for a footballer? They are a high-fibre source of protein and full of vitamins and minerals.
 
"They can be pretty bland on their own, but this means they’re great at taking on strong flavours and are very versatile, from kidney beans or black-eyed peas in a chilli, to green puy lentils used in herby French and Italian country dishes, or Indian dals spiced with anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric.
 
"Chickpeas and white beans such as cannellinis and haricots, meanwhile, are great with Mediterranean flavours such as tomatoes, garlic and olive oil, and are also great in soups. Beans and pulses even count towards one of your five a day – so what are you waiting for?”

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