What’s for lunch? For many time-strapped runners, the answer is a sandwich. "Built correctly, it provides energising carbs, protein to repair muscles, healthy fats for hormone production and vitamins to build immunity," says sports dietitian Tara Gidus. Kiss ham and pickle goodbye with these new spins on the sarnie.
Salmon with chilli aioli
Best for: fat burning
Swap tuna for salmon and you'll get more inflammation-reducing omega-3s. Scientists in Japan found that capsaicin, which gives the chilli its kick, can increase fat-burn during exercise. Rye bread contains up to five grams of fibre per slice – more than wholewheat.
Take: two slices of rye bread
Combine: 1 tablespoon of low-fat mayo + 1/2 teaspoon of chilli sauce
Combine: 50g of tinned salmon + squeeze of lemon juice + sprinkling of chopped dill
Stack with: tomato slices and rocket leaves
Fig and prosciutto
Best for: mineral replacement
Dried figs contain calcium, iron, and potassium. The latter "works with sodium to maintain the body's water balance," says sports dietitian Barbara Lewin. Prosciutto is high in sodium, making it ideal after a sweaty run, when you need electrolytes. Red peppers are brimming with vitamin C, which Harvard researchers have found may keep upper respiratory tract infections, such as earaches and the common cold, at bay.
Take: a baguette
Combine: ½ teaspoon of honey + squeeze of lemon juice + sprinkle of cinnamon
Stack with: roasted red pepper strips; spinach leaves; 1 fresh fig torn into pieces; 2 prosciutto slices
Curried egg salad
Best for: boosting immunity
Velvety Greek yoghurt gives egg salad a protein boost, along with probiotic bacteria. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found these probiotics helped athletes decrease symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections by up to 50 per cent. Eggs are rich in muscle-friendly protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and selenium. Dried fruit adds natural sweetness along with an extra hit of antioxidants and carbs.
Take: a bagel
Combine: 2 mashed hard-boiled eggs + 1 tablespoon of Greek yoghurt + handful of golden raisins + 1/4 teaspoon of dijon mustard + sprinkle of sliced spring onions + 1/4 teaspoon of curry powder
Stack with: avocado slices
Almond and pear
Best for: heart health
Compared with peanut butter, almond butter contains more of the bone-building minerals calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It also has more monounsaturated fat, "which improves blood cholesterol levels", says Lewin. Pears add fibre, again shown to help manage cholesterol levels.
Take: two slices of whole grain bread
Stack with: 1 tablespoon of crumbled goat’s cheese; 2 thin pear slices; 1 tablespoon of almond butter
Best for: muscle recovery
Chicken breast is an excellent source of protein and niacin. "Your body needs this B vitamin to produce energy," says Gidus. The carbs in wholegrain pitta help replace energy stores post-run. Carrots are a good source of vitamin K, "which assists with bone strengthening, so it's important for preventing stress fractures", says Gidus.
Take: wholewheat split pitta pocket.
Stack with: handful of shredded carrots; 70g of cooked, shredded chicken breast; 1/2 tablespoon of pesto