4 Soul Food Recipes That Won’t Stop Your Gains

Comfort food doesn’t have to be reserved only for “cheat” days.

Have you ever just needed a totally different but convenient meal? Many of us will have a “cheat” day and dine out or have a huge dessert, but comfort food doesn’t have to be reserved for these rare occasions. Here are some simple and easy meals that soothe the soul and can be a great asset after a tough workout.

Chicken and Waffles

If I was stranded on a deserted island and had to choose one dish, it would be this. No, I wouldn’t live a long time, but I’d live happy. I’d get my protein from the chicken, fat from the whip cream, and carbs from the waffle.

My version is quick and convenient. I use a rotisserie chicken from the store, frozen waffles, and frozen coconut whip cream. Of course, all of these ingredients could be homemade, but it’s more of a once-in-a-while dish, anyway. Your gains will continue!

Ramen and Egg Salad

You can now find organic versions of ramen noodles, as well as multiple fancy flavors. Whatever your preference, ramen is quick and extremely easy to make. If you can boil water, you can enjoy ramen. A hot soup combined with a cold protein salad makes a great meal.

I like egg salad, but tuna, chicken, or crab salad would go great as well. Add onion and celery in your salad, and dice up some green onion to top off the ramen. You’ll get a small serving of vegetables, carbs from the noodles, fat from the mayo, and protein from the eggs. Happy macros, happy you.

Ramen can be so much more than something reserved for broke college students.

Burger and Fries

Nothing beats a burger and fries after a long day. Instead of grabbing fast food, make your own. Ground meat, onion, salt, pepper, garlic, potatoes, olive oil, and English muffins are all you need. You can use either sweet or white potatoes. Both are healthy, so it is your preference. Don’t get caught up in the minutia. Just enjoy your burger and fries.

Here’s how I like to do it:

  1. Combine meat, diced onion, and a few teaspoons of chopped garlic in a bowl. Form into burger patties. You can add an egg if you like for better-formed burgers.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Slice potatoes into fries, coat in olive oil, and place them on a baking sheet with foil. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cook the fries in the oven for 15 minutes, flip, and cook another 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, pan fry the burgers. Another option is to quickly pan fry both sides on a cast iron pan, then put the burgers into the oven with the fries until they reach desired doneness. Enjoy on an English muffin.

Coconut Chocolate Balls

I have a stubborn sweet tooth. My rule with controlling it is to make sure that I have high-quality treats. No 100 calorie “chocolate” fudge ice cream bars for me. Homemade dessert with actual nutrient content or a high-quality dark chocolate are what I usually stick to.

These coconut balls can be a little messy to make, but you make them in batches and they freeze well. You’ll be getting plenty of fat and carbs. They are dense, and you only need one or two. You can eat them as a dessert, and they are actually a decent breakfast if you add a protein like Greek yogurt.

coconut chocolate bites

If you’re going to indulge, use high-quality ingredients that won’t sabotage your efforts in the gym.

Here is how it’s done:

  1. Process 12-15 pitted dates and 1/2 cup of shredded coconut in a food processor for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add in 1/2 cup of coconut butter and 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil. Hit the food processor again for 30 seconds.
  3. Take the mixture and roll into little balls. Put them on wax paper and let them sit in the fridge until firm.
  4. Take 1 dark chocolate bar (the darker, the better, 72% plus), melt it and add 2 Tablespoons of almond or coconut milk. You can add more pure cocoa or vanilla extract, depending on your preference.
  5. Take the melted chocolate and milk combo and cover the balls with it. Put back in the fridge until they are firm.

Indulge Intelligently

Deprivation usually leads to overeating. If you can include some tasty and filling meals while still enjoying success in the gym, why wouldn’t you? I wouldn’t make the above items a staple in my diet, but you can certainly do worse. So remember, if you ever happen to be stranded on that island, you can have your six pack and your chicken and waffles, too.

More Comfort Food for Athletes:

Photo 1 courtesy of Hajime NAKANO via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Photo 2 courtesy of Ben Babcock via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Headline Photo courtesy of Raphaël Chekroun via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).