James Haskell is a man famous for his rugby playing days (gaining 78 senior England Caps) but he now dedicates his time showing people how to train more effectively and eat more healthily. He’s teamed up with performance chef Omar Meziane (executive chef to England men’s football team amongst others) to release a new cookbook called “Cooking for Fitness”.
Eating healthily can be a real challenge particularly if you’re juggling it with working full time. The struggle can be finding the right foods, buying ingredients and planning meals for your week ahead. Doing meal prep on the weekend is a great way to save money on your weekly spend and avoids having to grab whatever you can find to shovel down in your hour lunch break (or even at your desk in between tasks).
This book isn’t a normal a cookbook though as it’s not just one food group or course, but it splits meals into eight categories with a real varied mix of foods:
- Low-Carb Breakfasts
- High-Carb Breakfasts
- Low-Carb Lunches
- High-Carb Lunches
- Low-Carb Dinners
- High-Carb Dinners
- Pre-Training Snacks
- Post-Training Snacks
Although it’s a new year and we have been to the gym a few times already, we’re not properly into the swing of our training routine yet so we picked two dishes from “Cooking for Fitness” instead of committing to a breakfast, lunch and a dinner. We made the Spinach, Lemon & Broad Bean Risotto from the high-carb dinners, (using edamame instead of broad beans) which was simple to make and tasted delicious.
Of course we had to also try a sweet dish so we went for the Banana Bread with Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds from the post-training snacks. It seemed a lot healthier than some banana bread recipes I’ve followed in the past, and the seeds really added something extra, particularly a bit of a crunch as we put them in the mixture and on the top. A few colleagues are also starting a pop-up banana bread bar for the charity Railway Children working to get kids off the streets – you can check them out here.
Instructions throughout were really easy to follow with many of them having under five steps. It felt good using a printed cookbook again to make something a little bit different to some of the recipes you can find online a hundred times over. We have a small collection of cookbooks at home but will hopefully try and be a bit more adventurous trying new recipes in 2019.
Of the other 77 recipes in this cookbook, a few others that jumped out at us as include the Beef sausage sandwich, Curried Turkey Burger with Sweet Potato Wedges and the Fruity Protein Bars. Some of the recipes include variation suggestions but you can obviously do your own and replace certain aspects to make dishes vegetarian/vegan.
Another great feature of the cookbook is the inclusion of full calorie breakdowns for each recipe and the ability to track it all using barcodes for the MyFitnessPal app. I don’t personally calorie count, but this is definitely a plus if you do.
The cookbook is described as “simple enough for beginners, but quick enough for busy lives” which definitely suits us.
I took the opportunity to ask James Haskell and Omar Meziane what their top tips were for eating healthily or avoiding takeaways when you work full-time or have a busy schedule.
James Haskell said: “I think the trick is to prepare more complicated meals in advance so that you then have three or four meals ready-made for the week. Keep your recipes simple and use ingredients which are already in your cupboard or are sold locally. This way, putting together something healthy that you really want to eat after a workout, training session or a busy active day has never been easier. My Fitness Pal also helps you to keep track of your calories, and in my opinion definitely motivates you to stay on the right path.”
Chef Omar Meziane saw my shoutout on Instagram and when I slid back into his DMs, his advice was:
“I believe in keeping it simple and fresh. It’s always easier to when you have a plan of what you’re going to eat each night and it will save you from walking the supermarket aisles picking up items that you don’t need or aren’t great for you. Most of the recipes in the book are relatively easy and quick and can be prepared in advance✌️”
The cookbook is available now at an RRP of £19.95. Happy cooking and happy eating!
~ J ~