Eat Like an Athlete
Sensi Ambassador and pro volleyball player Sarah Paven shares her tips on eating to
fuel an active lifestyle.
I LOVE food. I love making it, I love thinking about it, but most of all, I love eating it. I am a
self-proclaimed foodie, who will sample almost anything, and I have a serious soft spot for
farm-to-table restaurants and independent coffee shops. My sweet tooth may also be
abnormally enhanced. Being an athlete, I probably eat way more food than most, simply
due to the sheer number of calories I burn doing my job. To do my job well, though, I can’t
be putting just anything into my body (my sweet tooth is sighing), therefore my husband and I
cook the majority of our meals at home, and we are very conscious of the ingredients we
use. We don’t shy away from fats (the right fats are actually our friends!!), but we also like to
incorporate a lot of fruits and vegetables into our diets, with lean protein, and complex
carbohydrates. We definitely splurge for a treat every now and then, but moderation is
key. Too much of any one thing is never a good idea. With all that in mind, here are a few of my
favorite recipes. Enjoy!
This granola is super tasty and quite filling. It will keep your hunger at bay with the
mixture of oats, dried fruits, and nuts. I eat it mixed with yogurt, but you could eat it with
milk, or plain as a snack. Much less sugar than the store-bought kinds.
4 cups large flake oatmeal
OR 3 cups large flake oatmeal plus 1 cup bran cereal (not the flakes)
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 cups chopped dried fruit (apricots, banana chips, apples, cranberries... whatever you
Mix all these ingredients in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl mix:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tbsp. orange juice
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Bake at 250 for 55 minutes. Stir every 15 to 20 minutes. I usually use parchment paper on
the pan so that it doesn't get too sticky.
Quinoa Salad with Chick Peas, Feta, and Apples
Quinoa is the best little grain because it is so high in protein. It has a great nutty flavour,
and the other ingredients in this salad really bring out the best in it. I eat this salad at least
once a week. I, personally, leave out the raisins, and sometimes I substitute buffalo
mozzarella for the feta.
1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve
1/4 cup golden or sultana raisins
1 19 oz. (540 mL) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
A big handful of flatleaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta (or as much as you want)
1 tartish apple, chopped
1/2 cup toasted walnuts or almonds
1/4 cup canola or olive oil
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. curry paste or powder
Cook 1 cup quinoa according to package directions; dump into a wide salad bowl and set
aside to cool. (Tip: add the raisins as it cools – the raisins will plump up as they absorb
any excess moisture). Add the chickpeas, parsley, feta and apple and drizzle with
dressing. (To make the dressing: shake all the ingredients up in a jar.) Toss, then sprinkle
with toasted walnuts or almonds right before serving.
Salmon with Pineapple Mango Salsa and Rice
Salmon is a great source of omega fatty acids, and the pineapple mango salsa gives this
dish a really fresh feel. This is a perfect summer dinner, and rounding out the dish with
some wholegrain rice makes for a great wellbalanced meal. Adapted from juliasalbum.com.
Ingredients for mango salsa:
2 cups pineapple, chopped in small cubes
1 cup mango, chopped in small cubes
1 cup tomato, chopped in small cubes
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped finely
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for rice, salmon, and glaze:
2 cups uncooked rice or quinoa
1.5 pounds salmon, or 4 6-ounce salmon fillets
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce (use gluten free soy sauce for gluten free version)
Mix all chopped ingredients for mango salsa in a large bowl, add lime juice, add salt and pepper to
taste. Set aside to let the juices do their work. Cook 2 cups of uncooked rice according to instructions
for the type of rice (or even quinoa) you’re using. To prepare the glaze: combine honey, lemon juice
and soy sauce in a small pan on medium heat until honey is softened and well incorporated with
other ingredients. Set aside.
Preheat broiler. Season the salmon on both sides with salt and pepper. Before broiling salmon in
the oven, I like to sear it a little bit on the stove top: this will add nice color and will also allow to
easily remove the skin. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil on high heat in a skillet until very hot. Add
salmon, non-skin side down and sear on high heat for 2 minutes, constantly moving the salmon in
the skillet so that it doesn’t stick. After it’s nicely seared, flip the salmon skin side down and continue
searing for 2 more minutes on its skin side, constantly moving the salmon to avoid sticking to the
skillet. After it’s nicely seared on the skin side, remove the skin easily with spatula.
Place the salmon in an oven-proof dish skin-less side up (with the side that used to have skin –
down). Brush the top of salmon with half the amount of glaze prepared in step 3. Broil for about 3
minutes, brush with the remaining amount of glaze and broil for additional 2-3 minutes until nicely
charred. Watch to make sure salmon does not burn because of the sugar in the honey. Remove from
the broiler, cover with foil and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving. This will allow salmon
to cook through but not be overcooked. To serve, place a scoop of rice (or quinoa) on one side of the
dish and a scoop of mango salsa next to it. Top with salmon.
After a workout, it’s really important to replace both carbs and protein, so I like to use a
whey-based, flavoured protein powder mixed with water to refuel. My personal fave is
AOR Advanced Whey Protein in Chocolate. One scoop mixed with water is great!
This can be made anyway you want, but a protein and some carbs are a must to include. I suggest
using Greek yogurt or any kind of milk for a protein, and a berry or fruit for the carb.
Adding in some kale/spinach and chia seeds is awesome. Blend them all together in a
VitaMix or blender and enjoy. If the smoothie is too thick, add in some water.