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Carb-loading done right

Get ready for race day with this wholesome rice salad by Chiara Squinzi of La Holista

During my many years supporting athletes with their diet, I have seen it all, but the most common mistake of all is the pre-race carb-loading. The common thinking is that you should have a big dinner of pasta the night before the race in order to replenish your carb reserves.

However, I believe the night before the race is not the right time to eat heavy, refined foods, especially foods that contain gluten (like wheat, rye, barley and wheat, so pasta, bread, pizza, etc.). These will not be eliminated in time for the race and will make you heavier and therefore slower.

For La Holista, the right way to carb-load is to focus on wholesome foods two nights before the race (for example Friday dinner if the race is on a Sunday) with whole-wheat pasta or better, gluten-free wholesome grains like brown / red / black rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, or sweet potatoes, beans, and vegetables. Essentially, something high in water and fiber that can be eliminated the following day and will leave you light for the race.

The below recipe is an easy and inexpensive carb-loading option that you can also enjoy the following day for lunch as it travels very well and can be kept in your hotel room fridge.

La Holista’s favourite recipe makes two servings of 400kcal to have two days before the race for dinner, and one day before the race for lunch.


80g of Brown / Red / Black Rice (uncooked)              – high in fiber

1 tin of Chickpeas                                                       – high in protein and fiber

2 large Carrots                                                            – high in water and fiber

15 Cherry Tomatoes                                                   – high in water and fiber

1 tbsp of Oilve Oil                                                       – healthy fat

2 tbsp of Coriander                                                     – anti-inflammatory, perfect pre-race

1 tsp of Turmeric Powder                                           – anti-inflammatory, perfect pre-race

1 tbsp of Pink Himalayan or Sea Salt                        – rich in minerals and sodium


Combine the water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the rice. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the rice is tender (about 45 minutes).

When you cook rice in boiling water instead of using a rice cooker, the grains won’t stick together as much and the texture will be perfect for rice salads.

Drain the rice well and cool.

Transfer the rice to a large mixing bowl, add the chickpeas, chopped carrots, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, coriander and turmeric. Enjoy!


La Holista is a Holistic Health & Wellness Company founded by Chiara Squinzi, Italian Health Coach, Yoga Teacher, and Functional Medicine Student, and managed with Pascale Fioretti, an experienced Hospitality professional, NLP & Executive Coach, and healthy living advocate.

La Holista team is expert in wholesome plant based nutrition for athletes and offer nutrition consultation for natural and nutrient-dense foods that will give you light and constant energy, will help you achieve clarity and focus during work and sport activities, and will help you delicately detox your body.