6 healthy meals you can make in under 20 minutes

Always starving after a run? These refuel meals pack 30-50g of carbs and 10-25g of protein, giving you the 3:1 or 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio needed for recovery.

1/ Prawns, polenta and spring greens

Ten medium prawns contain a punchy 20g of protein.

Makes 4 servings

115g quick-cook polenta

80g tinned sweetcorn, drained

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tsp salt

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp garlic powder

24 raw medium prawns, peeled and deveined

60g spring greens or kale, chopped

½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

In a medium saucepan, boil 470ml water over high heat. Add the polenta, lower heat and stir often. As the polenta thickens, stir in corn, 1 tbsp butter and ½ tsp salt. Cook until the polenta is smooth and creamy (about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix paprika, garlic powder and ½ tsp salt. In a large pan over medium-high heat, melt 1tbsp unsalted butter. Add prawns and cook until slightly pink (1-2 minutes per side). Remove pan from heat and stir in spice mixture. Return pan to heat and add greens. Cook, stirring, until prawns are opaque and greens are wilted (2-3 minutes). Add red pepper flakes, if desired. Divide the polenta among 4 bowls and top with the prawns and greens.


2/ Chicken peanut noodles

Add an Asian twist to your carb load for a hit of fibre and fat.

Makes 4 servings

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp salt

4 trimmed, boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 tbsp olive oil

1 head broccoli, chopped

150g soba noodles

85g peanut butter

2 tbsp low-salt soy sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp honey

30g peanuts, chopped

Handful coriander, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Boil 1.5L water in a saucepan. Meanwhile, sprinkle garlic powder, ginger and salt over both sides of chicken. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, flipping once, until almost cooked (around 6 minutes). Add broccoli to saucepan. Cook, covered, until bright green and just tender, and the chicken is cooked (about 5 minutes more). Add noodles to boiling water and cook until tender (about 3 minutes). In a bowl, whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and honey. Reseve 160ml noodle cooking water, drain and coat noodles in peanut sauce, adding cooking water to loosen. Slice chicken and add to the noodles and broccoli. Top with peanuts and coriander, and season.


3/ Turkey taco bowls

A large egg adds six grams of muscle-rebuilding protein. Eggs are also a complete protein, since they contain all eight essential amino acids.

Makes 4 servings

5 tsp olive oil

500g lean turkey mince

1 tbsp taco seasoning

300g shredded red cabbage

180g chopped kale

1 lime, juice only

4 eggs

2 wholewheat tortillas

1 tbsp crumbled feta

1 avocado, sliced

1 tbsp salsa (optional)

Salt to taste

Heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add the turkey, taco seasoning and 120ml water. Cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until the water has evaporated and the turkey is browned (6-8 minutes). Meanwhile, in another large pan, heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and kale, and cook until bright-coloured and slightly wilted (about 4 minutes). Stir in lime juice and sprinkle with salt. Divide mixture among 4 bowls. Wipe pan, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat and fry eggs (3-4 minutes). Warm the tortillas, then cut into 1cm-wide strips. Top each bowl of cabbage mixture with turkey, an egg and tortilla strips. Sprinkle each with feta and avocado (and salsa, if desired).


4/ Salmon burgers with avocado sauce

Fat from salmon and avocado boosts heart and brain health. Avocados are also packed with vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, vitamin C and E, potassium and copper.

Makes 2 servings

170g tinned salmon, drained

65g panko breadcrumbs

1 egg

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp olive oil

60g plain Greek yoghurt

¼ avocado

½ tsp lemon zest

2 wholegrain buns

Salt to taste

In a medium bowl, add salmon, breadcrumbs, egg, lemon juice, garlic powder and a pinch of salt, and use a fork to combine. Heat olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat until shimmering. With wet hands, form the mixture into 2 patties and cook until slightly browned, 3-4 mins per side. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mash together yoghurt, avocado, lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Place burgers on toasted buns spread with avocado sauce.


5/ Loaded sweet potato

Sweet potatoes contain more antioxidants than ‘ordinary’ spuds.

Makes 4 servings

2 tsp olive oil

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

425g black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

60g plain Greek yoghurt

Handful coriander, chopped

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add sweet potatoes to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden (5 minutes). Add 180ml water. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until potato pieces are soft (6-8 mintes). Halfway through cooking, stir in beans. Cover and continue cooking. In a small bowl, combine paprika, garlic powder, cumin, cinnamon and salt. Stir spices and vinegar into pan. Leave pan uncovered to let any excess water evaporate. Divide mixture between 4 bowls and top each portion with yoghurt and coriander.


6/ Fattoush salad

The fibre in chickpeas (17g per 100g) can help to keep blood-sugar levels stable and also lower cholesterol.

Makes 4 servings

450g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp ground flaxseeds

2 tbsp lemon juice

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp harissa (or ½ tsp each ground cumin, garlic, paprika and salt)

45g rolled oats

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 ½ tsp honey

¼ tsp each salt and black pepper

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

200g tomatoes, halved

1 cucumber, coarsely chopped

110g crumbled feta

In a food processor, combine chickpeas, 3 tbsp water, flaxseeds, lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil and harissa (or the spice mixture). Process until the ingredients become a smooth paste and transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in oats until just mixed. If sticky, add more oats but the tablespoon until dough holds together without feeling stiff. Using your hands, form 16 x 4cm balls of the chickpea mixture. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the chickpea balls and cook, turning, until golden all over (about 8 minutes). Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Add lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber to the bowl and toss together. Add the chickpea balls to the bowl of salad, divide among 4 places and sprinkle feta over the top of each salad.