Food for Thought
Chris Walker Dons an Apron and Heads to the Kitchen
I feel it's time to put the record straight with one thing about a touring, travelling squash professional and his eating habits. Squash players can cook! On numerous occasions I get asked about what we eat, or if we diet, or do we calorie count, and do we ever cook?
Well, I am not going to profess to be the next Gordon Ramsey but I can cook pasta dishes until the cows come home! (TRIVIA: For those who don't know Gordon Ramsey, he is one of the top chefs on the other side of the pond, in London. He has his own restaurant originally called Gordon Ramsey's and has won awards for his culinary skills including the Michelin Star).
For a bit of fun, I wanted to bring to you a typical dish that I would prepare when training or preparing for a tournament. It's quick, easy and healthy. Why not try it and let me know what you think!
I can't promise that your squash is going to improve with the Tip this month, but I can promise you that your body will have consumed many of the required food groups to enable you to convert carbohydrates to energy, which in turn will allow you to go into your training and your matches with a full tank of fuel.
As part of your squash program, dare you head for the kitchen?
High Energy Pasta Food Feast
Chris Walker's complete, light, easy-to-make, high energy pasta food feast (Grandma's favorite):
This dish is a high energy feast of good, fresh ingredients that provide a complete meal with the benefit of quick preparation and the option (for those squashers on the go) to refrigerate what's left over for tomorrow's lunch—vitally important in the world of professional sportspeople!
I dislike onion and garlic so, much to my grandma's approval—who used to produce article upon article on how good they are for you—I add a banana in with the yogurt and add a light seasoning of ground pepper and salt.
Ingredients (for 4 servings):
8 oz. pasta spirals (like rotelle, radiatore or cavatappi)
4 oz. French beans, topped and tailed
8 oz. zucchini, thinly sliced
4 oz. chopped mushrooms
2 filleted chicken pieces (8-10 oz.)
5 oz. carton of natural yogurt
1 large banana, sliced
Extra virgin olive oil—the healthy option!
Ground pepper and salt
1. Bring a pan of salted water to boil. Add the pasta, cover and boil for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool quickly under cold running water. Drain thoroughly and tip in to the bowl.
2. Place prepared French beans and zucchini in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and cool quickly under cold running water. Drain thoroughly and tip in to the bowl with the pasta.
3. Mix chopped bananas with yogurt in a separate bowl.
4. Place 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a frying pan. Chop chicken in to bite-size bits and place in frying pan; thoroughly cook while stirring continuously. Add mushrooms and continue stirring until they are heated through. On low heat, add the bowl of French beans, zucchini and pasta into the frying pan with the chicken and mix until heated through. Season to taste.
5. Finally, remove frying pan from heat and stir in the banana and yogurt mix.
6. Serve immediately.