England hockey forward, Beckie Herbert shows us how to get all the nutrients we need for sport and explains the importance of keeping diets varied and fun...
What is your typical daily diet when training for a big event?
I usually eat one or two hours before training. Weetabix or porridge with honey are favourites, sometimes followed by a crumpet with peanut butter.
If I have a session in the afternoon, I try to eat lunch around two hours beforehand. I usually have something like poached eggs on toast, soup or a pitta bread/wrap with chicken.
I like to try out new recipes and keep things varied for dinner. Protein is a key nutrient, so I will always include chicken, fish or red meat. This is supplemented with complex carbohydrates and vegetables. If we are struggling for inspiration then we usually have fajitas. We normally have yoghurt and fruit for dessert.
As long as I meet certain requirements such as ensuring I have enough protein and carbohydrates to allow me to fuel my body and recover, eating for hockey doesn't have to be boring. We are given nutritional advice as to how to alter things during particular training phases to help our bodies to adapt. For example, garlic, ginger and chilli all help immunity during heavy phases and these can add flavour to almost any meal. Luckily I'm not too fussy so I'm always happy to try new foods and don't get easily stuck in a rut. The hardest time is when we are playing in foreign countries - hotels often provide us with foods they think sports people eat, so it's not uncommon to be served up spaghetti Bolognese for days on end. This isn't really the kind of food we now eat a lot of, so it can be hard to get the nutrients we need.
Porridge with manuka honey and banana.
What's your trusted snack for an energy boost?
Crumpets with peanut butter - and a cup of tea!
How do you stay hydrated when training?
I usually drink fruit squash when training. We are provided with sports drinks so after training and matches I have a recovery shake to help me to rehydrate and replenish my protein stores.
What would be your top diet and exercise tip for the amateur athlete?
You need to eat to take in enough calories to cover your energy output and allow your body to recover. However, I also believe that balance and variation are essential once you have met basic nutritional requirements, so allow yourself a little treat every now and then if it helps to keep you motivated for training.
Aside from your speciality, what is your favourite sport/exercise?
Currently... turkey burgers with beetroot relish
Uncover more diet secrets from top athletes in our eat like an athlete series.