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4 Dietary Staples for Athletes

By November 21, 2017Athlete Training

To ensure an athlete is recovering properly, allowing for optimal health & growth, and nourishing the brain, we recommend that he or she eat certain foods.

These 4 foods are not only rich in micronutrients, but the supply the much needed protein, carbohydrate, and fat that an athlete needs.

#1 – “Lean” Protein

“Lean” protein is actually a broad category of foods that share one thing in common – they are primarily comprised of protein, and don’t have excessive amounts of fats or carbohydrate.

Protein is essential because it accomplishes a number of metabolic processes, particularly when it comes to recovery. The military, for example, provides a diet to its injured soldiers that supplies up to 0.9 grams of protein per lb of bodyweight. For a 150 lb person, that’s 135 grams of protein. (Source) In fact, we typically recommend an athlete eat 1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight, just to be on the safe side.

Moral of the story is that we need protein, and athletes are no exception.

Lean protein sources include:

  • Various meats (chicken breast, non-fatty steaks such as top sirloin or top round, ground chicken/turkey/beef that’s at least 90% lean, and non-oily fish & seafood such as tilapia/cod/flounder/shrimp)
  • Low-fat or non-fat dairy (greek yogurt, regular yogurt, kefir, milk, cheese, etc.)
  • Protein powders (whey, casein, etc.)

#2 – Eggs & Dairy

This seems like an odd category … they’re two separate food groups. But trust me, they’ve got something in common that other foods don’t.

Eggs & dairy provide a number of micronutrients that are not abundant in a number of other foods (such as meat, fish, fruits, veggies, grains, and tubers).

Additionally, they’ve got plenty of protein and fat. Plus, many people find that they taste awesome and make for great meals.

Don’t short-change yourself by going with egg whites – the yolk’s got all the nutrition.

As for dairy – you can go with milk, cheese, yogurt – it doesn’t matter.

An awesome breakfast staple is scrambled eggs with cheese. It’s a great way to start the day off, get adequate nutrition, and check this category off.

#3 – Rice & Potatoes

Carbs fuel your training and your performance.

Without the proper amount of carbohydrate, you will feel sluggish, slow, and off-your-game.

Rice and potatoes are two great sources of carbohydrate that can go well with any meal.

For example:

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with breakfast potatoes are awesome, period.
  • Lunch: If your school let’s you heat up lunch from home, a container rice with ground meat is an easy way to fill up during the day.
  • Dinner: Rice or ‘taters with your meat/fish and some veggies on the side.

#4 – Fruit

Fruits are great because they contain carbohydrate and respectable amounts of micronutrients. Apples, bananas, cherries, dates … there’s a fruit for each letter of the alphabet, and they’re all perfect for athletes.

They’re also “lighter” and easier to digest because they’re less starchy and more sugary than potatoes and rice, so they’re a solid way to fuel up right before activity without worrying about an upset stomach.

One specific fruit we recommend is the bananas. Bananas, like most fruits, don’t require prep, storage, or heating. Just take one out of your bag, peel it, and eat it.

Just be careful not to smash them accidentally or you’ll be stuck eating a mushy, bruised banana!

By including a good amount of these 4 food categories in your diet, you fuel your athletic endeavors, school activities, & growing body with the right macro- and micronutrients.

If you discover that some of these are missing from your diet currently, it’s time to experiment and find ways to include them each day.

And if you’re looking for an athletic performance program that’ll take your game to the next level, click the banner below.

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