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Why Eat Quinoa? – The Ultimate Fuel

Discover the benefits of quinoa and a healthy quinoa salad recipe to get you fuelled and ready for action.
July 4, 2014

Get inside the mind of an endurance athlete and once you’ve pushed asides the inevitable neurosis, most notably the obsessive-compulsive disorders you’ll find that nutrition is their proverbial Bible in the bedside table. It is the successor to questions about training and often overlooked completely as people have their own individual interpretations. Here is an outline of what an athlete requires nutritionally and what I would consider to be the go-to dietary staple for energy when training or competing.

What an endurance athlete’s diet needs

“Quinoa is a super-food that should keep you well nourished for the trail. ”

Endurance athletes require between 1.2-1.4g of protein for every two pounds of body weight per day. So if you are 176lbs, you’ll require around 106-123g of protein. The term ‘endurance’ refers to active individuals who aren’t participating in heavy resistance training and don’t have voluminous amounts of skeletal muscle.
Counting ‘macros’ really isn’t my style, but it’s useful to know that a chicken breast has roughly 21g of protein per 100g and that if you fill your plate with 50% carbohydrates, 25% proteins and 25% fats, you’re roughly on track to get the fuel you need.

Why eat quinoa if you’re an endurance athlete?

If I were to break this down and make it even easier for you, I would suggest you get on board the quinoa train. In short, it’s a super-food that should keep you well nourished for the trail.

The benefits of quinoa are numerous – that’s why it’s a super-food – but one of the most important benefits for athletes is the amount of protein it contains. On average, 100g of quinoa provides 16g of protein, and provides all the amino acids the body requires for muscle repair and building that it cannot produce itself. In raw protein terms, quinoa has more than brown rice, potatoes, barley and millet making it an excellent nutritional starting point for a meal.

Quinoa salad – an easy way to reap quinoa’s health benefits and hit the trails

Quinoa salad

A daily quinoa and meat or fish salad is a well-balanced lunch that gives you the energy you need to get in a long run, bike or hike. Here’s how I do it:

Ingredients for Quinoa Salad:

  • Grilled and sliced chicken breast
  • Quinoa red- 3/4 cup
  • Quinoa white- 3/4 cup
  • Red onion- finely chopped
  • Baby broccoli- lightly boiled, splash of olive oil
  • Pomegranate- 1/2 cup
  • Parsley

Ingredients to make Quinoa salad dressing:

  • Mixed together:
  • Apple cider vinegar - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard - whole grain 1 tbsp
  • Maple syrup - 1 tbsp

So now that you know about quinoa’s health benefits, whip up a tasty snack or quinoa salad, lace up those trail running shoes or hiking boots and head outside to out perform.

Main Photo by stockcreations, salad by Anna Hoychuk Shutterstock.com


Max Willcocks

Cycling, Triathlon, Ultra Marathons, Trail Running
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