1. Pocket More Muscle
Bread spikes your insulin response after exercise, forcing those cheesy calories into your biceps, not your gut.
– Pitta bread
Split the pitta down the middle and stuff it with the drained tin of tuna. Add a handful of cheese (mozzarella works well) for an extra 7g of protein, and layer with tomato slices. Place the pitta under the grill until the cheese starts to bubble. Devour for effective muscle fuel in 5 minutes flat.
2. Ironclad Your Heart
Folate and other B vitamins combine to strengthen your cardiac tissue and boost levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
– An egg
Beat the egg, add a tin of tuna and throw in two big handfuls of breadcrumbs with the chopped parsley. Compress the lot into an ice-hockey-puck shape. Fray for 1 minute each side. Gastro-pub-worthy food at service station speed, with 40g protein, too.
3. Make Your Abs Pop
The probiotic bacteria in live yogurt aid digestion, reducing water retention to reveal the six-pack underneath.
– Live yogurt
– Mango chutney
– Curry powder
Empty a tin of tuna into a bowl and mix in a couple of spoons of yogurt. Add a dollop of chutney, a pinch of spice and a handful of raisins. It might not taste like your Friday masala, but you won’t take away any extra calories either.
4. Have Your Vitamins
Low-GI bean salad
The fibre in beans and acid in vinegar combine for maximum digestive efficiency – no nutrients wasted.
– Tin of mixed beans
– Spring onions
– Cherry tomatoes
– White wine vinegar
Crack open your tins – this is the most effort you’ll need to put in here. Tip the beans and tuna into a bowl, then add chopped onion and tomato. Mix with a splash of vinegar, which lowers the GI value of your meal to reduce fat storage.
5. Eat Away The Years
Pimped Greek salad
Olives are rich in oleic acid, which helps reduce wrinkles by 20 per cent if eaten daily. Put the night cream back in the box.
– A red onion
– Feta cheese
Slice half an onion and chop up a handful of olives. Prep, done. Tip them into a bowl with the tuna and cheese. Add a splash of olive oil if you like, for more of those anti-ageing fats. There you have it – a Greek salad that matches your local tavern’s.
6. Smash Down The Wall
The antioxidants in this dish increase your blood oxygen for better stamina, according to the journal Oxidology.
– New potatoes
– An egg
– Green beans
Boil the potatoes and egg for 5 minutes, then add a pinch of salt. Mix the tuna and veggies in a bowl: That’s half your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C already. Time’s up! Shell the egg and add it to the salad with your spuds.
7. End Muscle Aches
Creamy sweet potato
The fat in creme fraiche helps activate the sweet potato’s anti-inflammatory lactate-clearing properties.
– A sweet potato
– Creme fraiche
Microwave your spud for 5 minutes. Sweet potatoes knock their white cousins out of the park with slow-release sugar and more nutrients. Mix the drained tuna with a spoonful of creme fraiche (go low-fat if you’re conscious of calories) and a pinch of chives. Now, slap it onto the potato.
8. Hit Your Protein Goal
Omelette for size
Oversleep and still find time to feed your muscle fibres with 48g of protein before you’ve even left the house.
– Eggs, 2
– Red pepper
Heat a splash of oil in a pan and beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the tuna, torn spinach leaves and chopped pepper to eggs, then pour mixture into pan. Cook until it starts to bubble, then flip or fold until the eggs are cooked. This bulk-up breakfast will see you through the toughest 8am weights session.
9. Pre-empt Injuries
Lazy man’s pizza
You know cheese is full of calcium, and mixing it with olive-oil-rich pesto builds stronger and more resilient bones.
– Wholemeal pitta
– Feta cheese
Open out the pitta, spread it liberally with pesto, then top it with tuna and feta. Grill until the cheese starts to melt. If it looks like pizza and tastes like pizza…
10. Fend Off The Flu
Garlic is an unrivalled source of antiviral allicin, while Taiwanese scientists found ginger fights respiratory illnesses.
– Garlic and ginger paste
– Mixed veggies
– Fresh noodles
– Soya sauce
Heat a splash of oil in a pan, add a big spoon of garlic and ginger paste, then chuck in the stir-fry veg and tuna. Toss everything together. Throw in the noodles, stirring for a couple of minutes to heat them through. Add a few glugs of soya sauce and you’re done: Edible medicine, ready in a flash.
11. Sharpen Your Focus
Deadline day Asian salad
Peanuts and tuna provide tyrosine, an amino acid that increases alertness. The scent of lime is a proven stimulant, too.
– Rocket leaves
Pile the leaves, nuts and tuna into a bowl. Toss together with the juice of a lime and a finely chopped chilli or pinch of flakes (if nothing else, that ought to wake you up). Bonus: Rocket leaves are brimming with vital antioxidants plus vitamin K for bone density and strength.
12. Be Race-day Ready
Stock up on carbs, amino acids and vitamins in the ideal balance before any distance run. Culinary skill not required.
– Microwave rice
– Frozen peas
Stick the rice in the microwave for 3 minutes. Slice the onion and chorizo, and fry. Stir for a minute, then tip in the tuna and peas. Finally, add the rice for a simple dish that’ll cut your time on the road as well as in the kitchen.
By Annie Rice