Triathlete Kaisa Sali is one of Finland’s best endurance athletes and at the top level of her sport globally. Sali has, for instance, won the European Championships, as well as silver and bronze in the World Championships. For a top athlete, eating healthy is important, but who said healthy food cannot be delicious as well? Read Kaisa's tips for healthy treats below!
"For athletes, healthy eating is as important as training. The old cliché “you are what you eat” is perfectly true: diet is fundamentally important to both performance and recovery.
However, there’s no reason for a good diet to be complicated. As long as you stick to a few basic rules, mealtimes will bring no stress at all.
For me, the most important things are timing of meals, drinking enough water, the quality and variety of the food, plentiful use of vegetables, having a good supply of high-quality protein throughout the day, and balancing carbohydrate intake with energy consumption. This might sound complicated, but my diet is really quite simple.
When it comes to cooking, most important of all is what’s in your fridge. At home we always have a good variety of vegetables and fruits, good-quality oil, eggs, milk and oatmeal. These ingredients are more than enough to rustle up a quick but healthy meal whenever needed. In addition to having a good range of healthy ingredients, another thing that makes food preparation handy is having high-quality cooking utensils, and keeping your kitchen clean and tidy.
Overnight oats and hamburgers
Among the regular food favourites in our house are overnight oats almost every morning, and a burger every Friday. I’m usually the one who makes breakfast.
The content of the porridge varies, but most often it has natural yoghurt, oatmeal, berries and fruits, nuts or seeds, and a pinch of salt. I mix the ingredients in a bowl in the evening, put it in the fridge, and in the morning a soft, filling and delicious porridge is waiting to be served.
My morning starts with a big glass of water, after which I go for a short morning run. As soon as I’m back, I enjoy a bowl of overnight oats, and drink another glass of water and a huge cup of coffee. After this, I’m ready for the training day ahead!
We took up our Friday burger tradition again last summer, when we were in the US. It’s a simple idea: a hamburger for dinner every Friday. My favorite hamburger is made with a fresh wholegrain roll. These are easy to find from local bakeries here in Italy. We often have different kinds of vegetable steaks in the burger, since my husband doesn’t eat meat. My favourite burger filling of all, though, is a patty of good-quality minced beef seasoned with salt and pepper.
I also include the traditional elements – lettuce, tomato and cheddar cheese. One of my more peculiar favourites is the Aussie burger, with a portion of roasted beetroot. Another amazingly good burger filling is caramelised onion – onion that has been browned gently with a little sugar or honey. For the sauce, I stick with good old ketchup, and sometimes I’ll have burger sauce from the supermarket shelf.
For me, a hamburger has to be accompanied with a green salad with fresh pineapple pieces. A hamburger meal can be made from scratch in less than half an hour, and with its high-quality meat, wholegrain bread and fresh vegetables it’s a great example of a quick, delicious and healthy meal."