Seven Nutrition Rules to Live By
June 23, 2010
1. Eat smaller meals more often. This means eating 5-6 times per day. By doing so, you will be supplying your body with a constant source of energy, which will prevent muscle breakdown and fight fatigue throughout the whole day.
2. Plan your meals ahead of time. Preparing what you are going to eat the night before will keep you from skipping meals and going for long amounts of time without eating. Carry snacks with you to class/practice, like peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, granola bars, fruit, and nuts. Plan what times you are going to eat so they fit your schedule.
Example Meal Timing(for afternoon workout):
3. Always eat breakfast. Skipping breakfast can cause the body to breakdown muscle stores for energy, and over time will start negatively affecting your performance. Always eat within 1 hour of waking up. If you workout early in the morning, have something small before your workout (like a piece of fruit and a granola bar), then eat your breakfast right after. Your breakfast should be one of your biggest meals and always include a good source of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Example: a bowl of cereal with milk, a small glass of orange juice, and a slice of whole-grain toast with peanut butter.
4. Focus on recovery after each workout. Eating right after a workout is the best time for increasing energy stores, building muscle, and fighting muscle soreness and fatigue. Within 30 minutes after a workout, have a recovery drink or snack (like a Gatorade Nutrition Shake, chocolate milk, or a smoothie made with yogurt and fruit).
5. Stay hydrated, all day, every day. Just a 1% decrease in body weight due to sweating can start affecting athletic performance. You need to drink 8-10 (12 oz.) glasses of fluid, preferably water every day (not including workouts).
6. Eat lots of colorful fruits & vegetables. Fruits and vegetables provide your body with vitamins and minerals essential to peak performance. Additionally, fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that counteract the damaging effects of exercise and help you recover faster. Eat at least 7 servings per day.
7. Eat a wide variety of foods every day. Eating different foods throughout the day will make sure you are getting all of the nutrients you need for optimal athletic performance. Change up your protein choices between meats, poultry, fish, dairy, nuts, and beans. Vary the types of fruits and vegetables you eat. Trying new foods will help you expand your food choices and keep healthy eating exciting.
Use the following table (PDF) to guide your food choices. Eat foods from the “Good” category often (4-7 times per week); enjoy foods from the “Fair” category occasionally (2-4 times per week); and limit foods in the “Poor” category.