Healthy Eating: Sports Nutrition

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Nutrition is extremely important for athletic performance. Whether you’re training for a half marathon or getting ready for an upcoming soccer game, you need to eat right for maximum energy and endurance. 

Carbohydrates & Protein

Carbohydrates are the preferred energy source for the body. Carbohydrates are the only nutrient that is converted into glucose as soon as it is digested. You should be eating carbohydrates throughout your training, leading up to a competition and on the day of so that your body has sustained energy. Some examples of good carbohydrates to eat include oatmeal, bananas, cereal, bread, whole grain pasta and brown rice. You can also get some carbohydrates from dairy. Your body needs protein to repair the muscle that you're breaking down from training or competing. Eat chicken, fish or lean steaks or look to vegetarian protein sources such as beans and tofu. 

When you’re eating meals before, during or after training, aim to have half of your plate represented by vegetables or fruit, a quarter by lean meats or alternative sources of protein, and a quarter represented by whole grains. 

Timing Your Meals & Snacks

Many athletes – especially runners - experience gastrointestinal issues. It’s not a good idea to try new foods on gameday. Assure adequate timing by getting up in advance in the morning to make sure that your food is digested. Eat every few hours throughout the day and within 30 minutes of your workout or competition to immediately start the refueling process. Try to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to keep your energy levels consistent.

If you’re going to be exercising for longer than 60-90 minutes, you want to include a source of carbohydrates to eat during your workout so that your body doesn't start to tap into your internal stores of muscle and fat. You could eat a medium-sized fruit, some dried fruit, a few Fig Newtons or a sports drink. You may not feel hungry right after exercise because your blood sugar levels can interfere with your hunger response. However, it is still important that you do eat something in at this point as it’s a critical time for refueling your energy stores.

Talk to your nutritionist if you'd like more information on nutrition and sports.

Visit HealthChoicesFirst.com for more videos and resources on healthy eating.

When it comes to being an athlete and performing the best that you can it is important to consider your  sports nutritional needs before, during and after a sports game. Achieving maximum energy during a game can be promoted by eating the right type of foods at the right time. Contact a registered Dietican for information on sports nutrition.

Adhering to your medications, prescribed exercises or lifestyle changes (such as dietary changes, smoking cessation, reduced alcohol consumption, etc.) is essential to improving health outcomes successfully. Compliance to any prescribed treatment is the number one thing you can do to ensure positive changes and optimal treatment outcomes.

Seeing your family physician and asking for a  referral to a registered dietician or nutritionist is a great please to start.

  A local Registered Dietitian In treating patients a  registered dietitian can also educate them on meal planning, lowering cholesterolnutritional requirements for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and anorexia and bulimia recovery. In regards to Arthritus a Registered Dietician can help with anti inflamitorty foods and celiac disease.

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