Sports Nutrition: spanish omelette recipe

How to cook an omelette and its nutritional benefits to the athlete

OmeletteBy Andrew Hamilton BSc Hons MRSC ACSM


There are a lot of good things in Spain – friendly people, a relaxed culture, great scenery and beaches, fantastic weather and, of course, traditional Spanish cuisine (tapas). The beauty of tapas is that most dishes are made from simple and fresh ingredients, making for tasty and healthy eating. And it just so happens that one of the most popular tapas dishes is also a perfect fitness snack.


They say that when a person in Spain offers you Spanish omelette (tortilla de patatas), you can consider yourself accepted as one of the family. However, you don’t need to go to Spain and chat up the locals to take advantage of the nutritional goodies provided by tortilla – it’s dead easy to prepare in your own kitchen, and tastes great at any time, even when served cold with a salad as a side dish.


Egg and potato

The two main ingredients of the Spanish omelette are eggs and potatoes – a combination that provides a perfect blend of nutrients for recovery from exercise. For starters, potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates (ideal for refuelling hungry muscles) and are also a good source of fibre. Less well known is that potatoes (especially new) can be an excellent source of vitamin C, are also rich in magnesium and potassium, and contain significant amounts of the B vitamin group. Eggs, meanwhile, contain masses of near biologically complete protein, and are also packed with vitamin and trace minerals.


Don’t worry about the cholesterol in eggs

At this point, you might be pondering the wisdom of consuming an egg-based dish as a fitness snack. After all, aren’t they supposed to be high in fat and cholesterol? Well, contrary to common belief, eggs are actually pretty low in fat (about 10%) and the fat that they do contain contains a high proportion of essential unsaturated fats, such as omega-3.


As for the cholesterol question, it’s true that eggs do contain significant amounts of cholesterol – if you have a sky-high blood cholesterol level already, your doctor might advise you to steer clear of eggs. However, study after study has failed to provide a single shred of evidence that eating eggs either raises blood cholesterol in healthy people, or is linked to heart disease (CHD). Indeed, all the evidence suggests that, if a healthy, exercising, person eats some dietary cholesterol, their body just synthesises a bit less from the saturated fat they eat. The take-home message then is that eating eggs in moderation is not a problem for a healthy, active person – and that’s great news because eggs have much to offer.


OK, now we’ve reassured you about that, what’s involved in knocking up tortilla? The good news is that the ingredient list is fairly straightforward. There’s no need to resort to an exotic shopping trip, and you may already have the necessaries in your cupboard even as you read this.





4 large potatoes*

Peeled and cut into thin slices.

4 large eggs*

Alternatively use 5-6 medium eggs.

1 large onion

Thinly sliced.

¼ cup olive oil

Olive oil is the healthiest to cook with and gives by far the best flavour.

Salt and black pepper to taste

For a more exotic taste you can add ¼ teaspoon of crushed pequin chillies, as well.


*You can make this dish even healthier by using new or organic potatoes and free range or organic eggs.





1 Whisk the eggs together in a large bowl.


2 Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the potato slices, one at a time, alternating with the onion slices.


3 Cook on a medium heat until the potatoes slices are tender but NOT brown.

An alternative is to pre-boil the potatoes, which considerably shortens the cooking time at this stage.

Drain off any excess oil, and quickly add the egg mixture, so that it spreads out quickly to cover the potatoes and onions in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and, when the potatoes begin to brown, flip them over using a plate and slide back into the pan.

If you don’t fancy flipping over the omelette, simply remove the pan from the heat when the bottom is browned, and place under a hot grill to brown the top.

When the omelette is lightly browned on both sides, remove it from the heat and transfer to a plate.

Don’t overcook – the omelette should remain quite juicy inside.


Serving suggestions

Serve hot, or leave to cool and eat at room temperature. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Try serving with a mixed green salad dressed with a French dressing. Alternatively, cut the tortilla up into slices and refrigerate. Use the slices as filling healthy snacks or in your lunchbox as a change from sandwiches.          


Spanish omelette – nutritional facts

Typically, a large serving (300 grams) will provide:









64 grams



16 grams



12 grams


Vitamin A

700 IU


Vitamin C




















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