Quick Tips for Healthier Eating for Athletes
Not everyone has to worry about everyday optimal performance, but athletes do. Part of training your mind and body comes with your nutrition. There is a lot of conflicting information regarding food and nutrition for athletes.
If you ask older athletes, there is usually a story about how they evolved into healthier consumers of food (watch the video above).
Are there things you could be doing right now to improve your competitive edge? The answer is yes, and we've got some tips on how!
Quick Tips for Healthier Eating
Know How Your Body Responds to Certain Foods
Everyone's a little different, and everybody responds to food in different ways. What makes you feel good in competition? Do a little testing to find your optimal performance foods.
Understand Carbs, Proteins, and Fats
Carbs and fats give energy, and protein builds muscle. All three do a lot more for the body. To skimp on any of these is not fueling for success. There are plenty of ways to get the right amounts of carbs, proteins, and fats.
Train the "Willpower Muscle" Like You Would Any Other Muscle
Willpower is the ability to control one's impulses. It takes willpower to train for your sport every day. It takes willpower to study hard enough to get the best grade possible. It takes willpower to tackle the recruiting process. Nutrition is no different.
Have the willpower to eat the right foods and then challenge yourself. Can you order something healthier even though you're at a fast-food restaurant? Can you say "no" to sugary foods right before a competition? Make it a challenge. Test yourself and get stronger!
Give Yourself Breaks
No one is perfect. Give yourself some cheat days or some nutritional breaks. Have a little chocolate sometimes. Give yourself a dessert. Just remember the willpower muscle and don't go overboard.
Feel Bood About Feeling Good
Allow yourself to feel good when you accomplish nutritional goals, especially when you feel the difference in your everyday life and in your sport. Being an athlete takes extreme work if you want to be good. Eating healthy takes work, too. Feel good about working so hard.
Do what you need to do when it comes to improving your nutrition. If you find yourself cheating on food, then plan to adjust. For example, don't keep food that you have difficulty avoiding easily accessible. Don't bring home the extra dessert from a restaurant.
Keep fruit and other healthy snacks nearby when you are doing homework or studying. Chew gum when you have a sugar urge. Avoid bingeing.
Lean Towards Natural
Natural foods are the best for your body because they haven't been tampered with. Processed foods all have additives and preservatives. When in doubt, go the natural route. Natural is better for your body, better for your health, and better for your performance!
Keep It Lean
When you can, choose the leaner version of meat. It digests faster and is better for you.
Look at The Bigger Picture
What are some of your long-term goals? Is it performance? Is it looking good? Is it feeling good? Let these goals lead the way.
Picture a lean, well-functioning body that allows you to achieve your best performance, not only when you are in high school, college, or the pros, but even beyond sports when you are well into your career.
There are enough healthy choices for you to find the best foods to fuel your body for optimal performance in sports and beyond.
Leslie's Peanut Butter, Oatmeal, Banana Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe:
- 2 cups of oats (rolled oats, quick oats, or large flake oats all work)
- 2 bananas - ripe ones are best
- 1 cup of peanut butter
- 1/8 tsp. of salt
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- 1 Tbsp of honey
- 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mash the bananas into a smooth paste.
- Mix in the rest of the ingredients with the bananas to make a sticky dough.
- Make balls, or flatten out for cookies, on a cookie sheet (you can use parchment paper, too).
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Use Wowbutter or sunflower seed butter for nut-free options.
- Use gluten-free oats for gluten-free options.
- Other spices to try: nutmeg and ginger.
- Add some chocolate chips if you're a chocolate lover.
Leslie does not take credit for this recipe and told us she got it from the web:
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