Editor's Note: This is just part two of Ben's story. You can find part one HERE.
There comes a time in the life of a busy multi-sport athlete (and especially the longer, time-crunched, endurance athlete) when you must eat, it must be a complete meal, and it must be quick.
In no particular order, here are the top 10 meals that I personally make and have committed to memory as my complete fall-back nutritional options. Hell, some of them don't even have a name, so I had to make up a title on the fly while writing this article. And if you're wondering how you can ask me questions about these meals, see the snippet at the end of this article, along with a bonus Paleo meal.
5. Tapas. Lovely little appetizers all put together make a complete meal. I slice 1 tomato and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and parsley. I slice one pear or apple and sprinkle with gorgonzola cheese (or any cheese, really). I cover one handful of walnuts with honey and cinnamon. I eat it all, nicely arranged on a plate, or napkin.
4. Big Chef Salad. While 1-2 eggs are boiling, mix onto a bowl or plate two handfuls mixed greens, 2 sliced vegetables of choice, 1 handful raisins, 1 handful walnuts, and a small drizzling of olive oil and vinaigrette. Slice the egg and throw it on top, then salt and pepper to taste. If you need more carbs, crumble whole grain crackers for croutons.
3. Mexican Delight. It's like the Mediterranean Surprise, but a delight is somewhat different than a surpriseŠright? Use quick 10 minute brown rice. Just as it is finishing stir in black beans, salt, pepper, and any other creative items from the fridge such as olives or leftover salsa. If I'm not showering while the rice is cooking, I throw 1 chicken breast into a pan, and sprinkle with curry or turmeric (which I guess makes it an Indian Delight) and add that as well. Yum?
2. Power Oatmeal. My favorite, bar none. To one bowl of raw oats, I add 1 tablespoon almond butter, 1 tablespoon yogurt or coconut milk, 1 sliced banana, 1 egg and 1 sprinkling of cinnamon. Also 1-2 scoops whey protein powder if it's handy. Pour boiling water on top and microwave on high for 60 seconds, or just mix everything together on the stove top. Warning: very calorically dense and should be consumed 2 hours prior to or immediately after a workout.
1. Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. My signature dessert. Use a small half bowl of plain, fat-free yogurt or coconut milk. Add 1 tablespoon peanut or almond butter and 1 tablespoon dark chocolate pieces or cocoa mix. Close your eyes and imagine you just took it out of that little orange wrapper. For added calories, add 1-2 scoops of protein powder (will make it a very "mousey" texture).
Disclaimer: your spouse and children may not share any affinity for these meals.
BONUS PALEO MEAL: If you're one of those caveman style Paleo folks, then try this in-a-pinch Paleo meal: grab any meat you can get your hands on, like a chicken breast, slab of grass-fed beef, or fillet o' fish, throw it onto a bed on spinach, and drench the whole mixture in olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, salt, pepper, and if desired, a bunch of chopped sweet potatoes or yams that you let cook while you were working out.
Ben Greenfield has been coaching athletes for over a decade from the website http://www.pacificfit.net, and is author of the modern triathlon coaching manual, "How To Be A Triathlon Coach," at http://www.triathloncoachguide.com.