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

More after the break

Sides: Spinach, tomatoes and Indian spices 


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


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


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


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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