We all know that athletes are in a good shape. It is their job to train and exercise and they sure do it well. Even if you are not competing or you are not an athlete, you can still want to be in a good shape.
A big part of their life is a healthy diet, and there are similar things in every athlete`s diet. Because of competitions and exhausting training, they depend on food to give them energy.
They have a busy schedule and a lot of things they have to do during the day. They eat carbs, and proteins, they have snacks, and many other things that people on strict diets can`t do. But their bodies lose a lot of energy so they need more fuel.
In this text, we will pay attention to the food that athletes eat in a day and also about some ideas on what you can try. However, always try to find what works for you for the best results.
8 things that athletes pay attention to when it comes to their daily diet
1. For having energy, a high-protein diet is very important.
Breakfast should include something like eggs on toast, or a smoothie. Depending on the time you have in the morning. Both of these are protein-based, and athletes need a lot of protein. You can try to have seventy grams of protein so you can add it to every meal, whenever you can.
2. You don`t have to obsessively count calories.
It is enough to weigh your food. It is important to get grams of proteins and grams of carbs each day. This way you will have a nutritious, healthy diet. However, it is not good to have a lot but find what is enough, or the right amount for yourself.
3. Carbs are good for you because of the training.
If you train five or six days a week, you don`t have to turn down all kinds of bread, all the time. You can even have a quick sandwich if you don`t have time to make something else. Just not all the time. If you have a lot of training you don`t have to cut down on a lot of carbs. Everything in moderation is a good choice. And, you can`t cut out a major food group.
4. Balance is the most important
It is okay to have some vice. If you are a crisp person, it will not make a problem if you have them from time to time. Therefore, maybe it would be a good idea to avoid them until the off-season. Balance in your diet is essential for athletes. It will happen that you have cravings for some food, so sometimes just enjoy them so you don`t get unnecessary stress.
5. Nutrients are something that you need
Get enough minerals and vitamins, to make sure that you are getting all that your body needs. It will prevent sickness. You want to be at your optimum when you have important games or competitions and nothing should hold you back.
6. Snacking is not a bad thing
It is good to snack, just make sure that it is on the right stuff. You can snack before or after a training session. When you have a heavy day, you can snack on fruit like bananas or cereal before training. Afterward, try to get the protein back in. You can have some peanut butter with an apple or a protein shake or bar. Something that can make sure you recover properly.
7. Try to eat immediately after training
Your mealtimes might be relaxed, which is alright, but try to eat at similar times every day. However, you must have the right meal after exercising. Ideally, you should eat within half an hour after finishing your training session, because you need to refuel your body as soon as possible.
8. There is no need to complicate things
You don`t have to cook some complicated recipes. Just make sure that you are getting enough nutrients your body needs. For example, you can prepare chicken with noodles or rice. You can add a few vegetables like parsnips, broccoli, or carrots. Something that will provide all the things you need but will not take a lot of your precious time.
Ideas for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
When we look at the big picture we notice that the best of the best eat similar things. What is important to remember about their diet is
- They eat a lot of vegetables.
- Athletes training at a high intensity consumes high-carb meals around exercising.
- Most of the meals they eat are not on the go, they need to ensure proper digestion, presence, and rest with food.
- They need a high-quality protein source.
- Meals need to be there with intention, every plate includes fat, protein, and carbs.
- Always focus on real food and then on bars, powders, or pills.
Let`s check some ideas for meals that can help you when you do not have inspiration on what to eat, make, or choose.
The first meal of the day is essential so some ideas that you can use are
- Whole milk, apple, bell pepper, egg whites, oatmeal, spinach…
- Mocha latte, macadamia nuts, instant oatmeal…
- Ground beef, sweet potato, egg, cabbage, honey, steel-cut oats, RX bar, buttermilk pancake…
- Raspberry jam, brown sugar, cinnamon butter spread, cinnamon raisin sprouted bread, zucchini, sweet potato, ground beef…
For your meal in the middle of the day, you might choose
- Chicken, mayonnaise, white rice, grapes, lettuce, cabbage, walnuts, sports drink…
- Shrimp, basmati rice, reduced-fat bacon, guacamole…
- Protein shake, frozen berries…
- Chicken breast, sweet potato, avocado, green beans…
For the last meal of the day, here are some ideas for you:
- Shrimp, salmon, feta cheese, tomatoes, butternut squash, brown rice, carrot, cashews…
- Shrimp, guacamole, reduced-fat bacon, yellow pepper, basmati rice, steak…
- Cabbage, spinach, vinaigrette, honey, bacon crumbles, chicken breast, craisins, sunflower seeds…
- Sweet potato, pineapple, cheese, zucchini, avocado, salsa, chicken breast…
Snacks and desserts
Snacks between meals can be a very good thing for athletes, even desserts after meals can not hurt, here are ideas for that:
- Olive oil, sweet potato, Gatorade…
- Orange, banana, berries…
- Macadamia nuts, banana…
- Blueberries, spinach, chocolate hazelnut spread…
- Atlantic cod, cabbage, salad…
- Honey, protein powder, rolled oats…
- Choc chip moon bites, dark chocolate, peanut butter cups…
- Orange juice, frozen berries, nonfat yogurt…
Nutrition is individualized, and these are just ideas that athletes eat during the day. But, you should find the athletic meal plan that works for you. Your diet should follow your schedule, desires, preferences, and needs. When you learn what works for you, you will find the key to your success.
The right diet is the key to reaching goals
Healthy food is something that helps athletes be capable of truly remarkable things. These fuels are vital in keeping them at the top of their game. The eating habits of athletes can give the rest of us some valuable lessons on how to improve our health, fitness, or weight goals.
Whether you are a professional athlete or you are exercising a few times a week, the basic of sports nutrition is the same. In another word, the three principles that we need to think about are – eating to fuel our body, eating to be healthy, and eating to repair our body.
Some guidelines that a healthy athletic diet should include are:
- Plenty of cereals(rice, pasta, noodles, bread), should be wholegrain preferably.
- Vegetables, fruits, and legumes.
- Poultry, meat, fish, or vegetarian alternatives like legumes or tofu daily for lunch and dinner.
- Yogurt, milk, cheeses, or soy milk.
- Drink a lot of water, hydration is important.
- Limit cakes, soft drinks, alcohol, and take-away foods because they do not contribute a lot of nutrients.
As previously mentioned, athletes need a lot more fuel for long training sessions or additional protein for building muscle and they are getting that from the food they eat. It is important to understand this so you can have enough energy for recovery and performance.
Athletes eat based on their sport, size, or specific training goals. That is why an athletic diet should be individualized and needs to reach the goal of the specific person. You should always find what works for you and stick with that.
Never forget about post-workout eating, so you can feel better and recover faster. Snacks can come in handy, too. The energy you intake through food depends on your training and game demands.
Hydrate whenever you can pay attention to taking main food groups daily and the results in your performance will follow. Whenever you can choose healthy calories and that way you will get the necessary nutrients.
Fuel your body, take good care of it, and listen to it. If you have some questions about athletic diets or diet and meal plans in general, we are here to help you.