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Nutrition for Rugby Players: Example Meals and Protein Recipes

chicken - CopyAs I have said in my previous blogs, eating a well-balanced diet is important for everybody, especially athletes. To help you figure out what and how much you should be eating, I have decided to focus this blog on some meal examples, tips and delicious protein shake recipes! This way you have no excuses not to eat well.

Below please find sample nutritional meals for a normal day and a training/match day. I also provide some tasty protein shake recipes for immediately after exercise, before bed and recovery. Finally, I discuss the latest diet trend, the Paleo Diet.

Normal Day


• 1 large bowl of cereal, best types are porridge/muesli/shredded wheat/weetabix (Always check salt and sugar content).
• Half pint semi-skimmed milk.
• 1 glass of fruit juice (1 of your 5 a day).
• 500ml water.


• Moroccan style chicken* with wholemeal rice/cous cous
• Mixed side salad (eg. spinach, watercress, rocket, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, herbs, olive oil & a vinegar for flavour, eg. balsamic).
• Mixed fruit with low-fat yoghurt.

* Mixed beans, chopped tomatoes, sultanas, olive oil, salt and pepper, chicken stock, cayenne pepper, ground cumin, ground cinnamon.


• Asian style grilled tuna steak (marinated in soy sauce/brown sugar/garlic and sesame oil and heat in a saucepan).
• 6 boiled new potatoes with a large portion of vegetables (broccoli, carrots and green beans).
• 1 low-fat yoghurt and 1 banana or other fruit
• 750ml water and squash


• Handful of mixed nuts
• 1 x banana
• 1 x protein shake
• 2 x oat cakes and peanut butter


drinking - Copy
We should all be drinking around 2 litres of water a day.

This can be included in cups of tea and coffee or your protein shakes, but it is best to be drinking plenty of plain, simple water.

Training/Match day


• Large bowl of porridge
• Half pint semi-skimmed milk with ½ banana
• 1 slice of wholemeal bread with healthy spread and tsp honey
• 1 x glass of pure orange juice
• 500ml-1 litre water

During training

• 1 litre of water with electrolyte mix

Post training

• Montmorency tart cherry protein shake (for recipe see end of blog post)
• Grilled chicken salad
• 2 slices of wholemeal bread bun or pita bread
• 1 litre water


• Wholemeal pasta with chilli or Bolognese
• Side salad
• Portion of fruit
• 500ml water


• Grilled salmon or lean red meat
• Wholemeal rice
• Large portion of vegetables
• 1 low fat yoghurt and a portion of fruit
• 500-750ml water


• Large bowl of low sugar/salt cereal with half pint semi-skimmed milk
• 2 slices wholemeal toast with jam
• Large glass of semi-skimmed milk
• Fruit
• Oatcakes with peanut/almond butter, cottage cheese
• Whey/casein protein shake

Protein Shake Recipes

Peanut Butter Party (Immediately after exercise)

1 tbsp peanut butter (natural)
1 scoop of whey protein powder
1 cup of skimmed milk
Pinch of salt

Chocolate Surprise (Before bed)

1 scoop of casein powder
1 cup of skimmed milk
1 tbsp of cocoa
0.5g of Tryptophan powder (optional)

Merry Tart Cherry (Recovery)

1 scoop whey protein powder
1 scoop Montmorency Tart Cherry Powder
Handful of fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries, cherries)
1 tbsp of low fat natural yoghurt

Latest Diet Trend: Paleo Diet

paleo - Copy The Paleolithic diet, or also known as, the caveman diet, has had a lot of interest recently.

This ‘hunter gatherer’ diet consists of grass-fed, pasture raised meats (particularly organ meats such as liver and kidneys), fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and excludes any grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.

According to some, the flesh of meat should provide 65% or more of the calories in the Paleo diet! Fruit and veg should be around 35%, with eggs also playing a major role.

Many different versions of this diet have been documented but generally the idea is that a diet of our Paleolithic ancestors may be the ideal human diet. Over the years, our diets have dramatically changed. This has not necessarily been all negative,but we have acquired a lot more bad habits such as convenience foods and high fat snacks.

As with most diets, the Paleo diet has many supporters but also a lot of critics. Some believe it is a ‘fad diet’ and would be too hard to maintain in the modern-day world. Others believe that it is key to optimum health and well-being. What do you think? Let us know below.

About Alison

Alison Hedley is one of our nutrition bloggers also working as a Senior Development Technologist for the sports nutrition company Whilst completing her MSc in Sport & Exercise Nutrition she also worked at the Carnegie Centre for Sports Performance, advising athletes and sports teams on their diets. Alison is a very keen runner and enjoys reading and writing anything to do with sports nutrition. Please feel free to ask any questions or suggest future blog topics. View all posts by Alison

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