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Eat Well, Feel Well: Nutrition Fundamentals

Eat Well, Feel Well: Nutrition Fundamentals

The Ireland team huddle after the Six Nations win over Wales. ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Eating well to feel well is paramount at the best of times, but even more so now as we all navigate our way through challenging and unprecedented periods. Nutrition is important not just to stay physically healthy but also for your mental health, energy and overall mood and in the second part of our video series from the team of IRFU Performance Nutritionists, we explore the topic of nutrition fundamentals with Daniel Davey, Senior Performance Nutritionist with Leinster Rugby.

Nutrition Fundamentals – Daniel Davey, Senior Performance Nutritionist with Leinster Rugby

There are many areas of nutrition that people could review and aim to improve under the current circumstances with Covid-19. My suggestion is to keep it practical and do a review of your kitchen set-up and key cooking and food preparation utensils. That way you are creating an improved system in your kitchen for a more enjoyable cooking experience.

You will be able to look back on this period and see the investment in planning as something that was really beneficial for supporting good nutrition habits. If you have poor quality cooking utensils like blunt knives and pots that are constantly burning when you are cooking, you are more likely to think of cooking as a stressful chore. Sharp knives and a good set of pots and pans will ensure your meal preparation and cooking will run a lot smoother, making it a much more enjoyable experience to prepare your own meals.

Here are the two main things I suggest you consider:

1. Essential kitchen items

  • A sharp knife
  • A non-stick pan
  • A peeler
  • A solid chopping board
  • A salad bowl
  • A powerful blender
  •  A wooden spoon
  • Stainless steel cooking trays
  • Serving dishes

2. Tips to help with meal planning and cooking

  1. Plan the meals for the week ahead and create a shopping list of required ingredients from your meal plan
  2. Buy dry ingredients like rice, quinoa, nuts and seeds in bulk to reduce shopping trips
  3. Cook an extra portion of dinner in the evening that can be used as lunch the next day
  4. Make soups, fruit salads, snacks and buy frozen fruits or vegetables which mean you always have options to make nutritious meals
  5. Get creative and try new recipes, spices and foods. This will not only expand your cooking skills but is also likely to improve the variety in your diet.

You can read the first part of our Eat Well, Feel Well series with Emma Tester, Lead Performance Nutritionist Munster Rugby, here.