What you eat has a huge impact on your performance and recovery, hence it’s essential to know what foods your body needs before and after a workout.

Photographer: Abu Naser

A Small Bowl of Oatmeal

Before the workout
Whether you're tackling your first 5K or training for a marathon, it's important to fuel your body. Exercising on an empty stomach isn't the best idea. Fuelling up the wrong way before a run can cause stomach cramps, dizziness, and headaches.The body burns fat during your workout and cause muscle loss if you regularly work out on an empty stomach. When you're hungry, your body goes into survival mode and draws protein from muscle. When this happens, you lose muscle mass, which can ultimately slow your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose weight. Plus, if you exercise on an empty stomach, you're not giving yourself the fuel you need to power through an intense training session. Oatmeal tends to have a good amount of fiber and is a great meal to have on-the-go

1 cup of oats
1cup of milk
1 ½ cups of water
Handful of raisins
Handful of chopped fresh fruit(Apple, Strawberry, mango)
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients together except the fresh fruit and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes until the oats is cooked and begins to thicken. Mix in the fruits and eat warm.

Banana Pancakes

After the workout
During a workout, your body taps the fuel stored in your muscles for energy. After you've cranked out that last rep, your muscles are depleted of their glycogen levels. Eating protein and carbohydrates 30 minutes to an hour after your workout refills energy stores, builds and repairs your muscles that were broken down, and helps keep your metabolism up and running. Research also shows that your body's ability to refill muscle, decreases by 50 percent if you wait to eat just two hours after your workout compared to eating right away. Thereby consuming protein and carbohydrates is best immediately after exercise.


2 eggs
2 banana, squashed
¼ cup ground oats
¼ cup quinoa
½ cup milk
1tsp vanilla
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp of honey

Blend all the ingredients together to form a thick batter. Grease a non-stick pan and place it over the stove. Pour a ladle of batter, cook for a few minutes, flip it over and cook on the other side until golden. Serve with a teaspoon of honey.

Eggs and Tomatoes

Eggs all the way
Eggs are loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, Vitamin B and iron. Unless your cholesterol levels are high, there’s no need to stay away from whole eggs. It’s a fat free, high protein essential to build muscles and stay fit. Tomatoes contain an assortment of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that protect the body against many diseases. Eating more tomatoes and vegetables can help prevent bone loss, cancer, diabetes, kidney stones, stroke, heart attack and obesity. Tomatoes also have specific benefits for men based on research done by the American Dietetic Association. It is believed that the lycopene present in them promotes prostate health.

1 egg
1 tomato diced
½ an onion diced
2 cloves garlic diced
1 green bell pepper diced
1tsp olive oil
Season with chilli flakes, oregano, salt and pepper.

Heat a frying pan with oil and toss in vegetables and garlic. Cover and cook for a few minutes until soft. Add the egg, season it with spices; remove from the flame and keep it covered for the egg to cook partially.

Green Juice

Detox throughout the day
Whether it’s binge eating junk food or chugging down large cups of coffee or fizzy drinks, bad eating choices are made by the best of us. However, all is not lost; you can kick the habit by cleansing your system. The good news is, you don’t have to starve yourself on an extreme liquid diet to do it. Incorporating simple detox methods into your daily routine will make your body feel less sluggish. Drinking plenty of water is paramount to detoxing, but how much do you need? Drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water a day. This helps flush out impurities, helps rebuild cells, and improves kidney, and bowel functions. Try starting your day by squeezing a lemon into a large glass of water. Vitamin C in lemon increases glutathione, an important detoxification compound in the liver which protects it.

1 cucumber, peeled
1 celery stalks, chopped
1 green apple
1 bunch of spinach leaves
1 lemon, juiced
5 cm piece of ginger crushed
2 cups water

Blend all ingredients together in a blender. Store it in the refrigerator and hydrate yourself throughout the day.

Crackers with toppings

Small meals
You can improve your performance by eating frequently throughout the day. But snacking on cookies or candy won’t make the cut. Instead, opt for nutritious food in order to give optimal athletic performance. Eating small, frequent meals help you fuel your body for optimal workouts and good health. Since active people get hungry every four hours, it’s best to go for a mini meal during lunch instead of a plateful of rice. This will prevent you from getting hungry later. Six small meals during the day is a good standard; while you’re at it, choose from different food groups so as to help balance your diet and provide the energy to maintain your performance. Try whole-grain or stone-ground wheat variety and reduced-fat versions topped with tuna, salmon or cheese.

4 crackers such as Ryvita
2 tbsp each Tostitos chunky salsa (ready bottled)
Toppings: 2 tsp canned tuna, a slice of smoke salmon, mozzarella cheese, beef bacon.
Garnish: chopped parsley

Spread the salsa over the Ryvita crackers and place the toppings on each slice. Heat under a grill for a minute and garnish with a sprinkle of parsley.

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

Dinner delight
Ever wondered why chicken is a staple food for many athletes and bodybuilders around the world? Because it’s an abundant source of the essential nutrient protein, supporting weight loss, muscle recovery, growth and all round optimal health.Chicken happens to be one of the leanest meats, After a hard day at work or gruelling workout, a healthy chicken based meal will kick start your physical recovery.

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
5 oz. spinach
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup egg whites, beaten
1 cup marinara sauce

Cut the chicken into 8 pieces and pound them until they are thin. Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and set aside.
Filling: Chop the spinach and sauté it with the garlic and drizzle the olive oil until barely wilted. Combine the spinach with the mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, and 2-3 tablespoons of the egg whites. Place the remaining egg whites in a separate shallow bowl and set aside.
Assemble: Place the chicken pieces on a flat working surface. Put a spoonful of the spinach filling in the middle and roll the chicken up so that the edges meet. Dip the chicken roll in egg whites, and then roll it in the breadcrumbs. Place in a baking dish, seam side down. Repeat the process for all the chicken slices. Bake for 25 minutes in a preheated moderate oven. Once cooked, pour the marinara sauce over.

Staying within the fringes of mainstream cultures, Aidha Cader, ICE Today’s culture connoisseur has inculcated an appreciation for food, history, travel and art beyond her comfort zone.