Thursday, July 10, 2014

Great Food Choices for Athletes


Oatmeal has a high soluble fiber content, is high in complex carbohydrates, is a good source of protein and has a low glycemic index, which provides a sustained release of energy into the bloodstream—imperative for runners. Oatmeal offers your body a regular dose of Vitamin B and is rich in minerals and antioxidants. It's credited for maintaining the good level of cholesterol in the body and is known as one of the most nourishing foods for the body, especially for athletes.


Kale is a member of the cabbage family and contains high levels of vitamins: A, K, B6, calcium and iron. It's an antioxidant-rich vegetable that helps regulate the body's inflammatory process. Kale also contains carotenoids and flavonoids, two powerful antioxidants that protect cells from free radicals that cause oxidative stress, as well as a high fiber content that helps lower cholesterol.


With all the different types of milk out there today, soy, almond, rice and even hemp, it seems that good old fashioned milk is still number one when it comes to athletes. Milk is loaded with carbohydrates and protein, which makes it an ideal post exercise muscle recovery beverage for endurance athletes. When carbohydrates and proteins are consumed together, muscle tissues are repaired at a faster rate than if consumed separately.


Bananas are one of the best pre- and post- workout snacks. Loaded with potassium and vitamin B6, bananas help maintain low blood sugar, regulate digestion and re-stock your body with lost electrolytes after any sort of physical exertion. Vitamin B6 in bananas acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that helps ward of cardiovascular disease.


Walnuts are a plant-based protein, rich in fiber, B-vitamins and antioxidants, such as vitamin E. They contain the most Omega-3 fatty acids than any other nut and the anti-inflammatory nutrients are great for bone health.  Walnuts have also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, are beneficial for a healthy heart and make a great healthy and energizing snack on-the-go.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a starchy vegetable, rich in vitamins A and C, which are both powerful antioxidants that work in removing free radicals from your body. They help lower blood pressure and are a powerful food for athletes because of its high vitamin and mineral content. The potassium, iron, manganese and copper are all minerals that many athletes lack; manganese and copper being crucial in healthy muscle function.

Wild Salmon

Salmon is one of the most nutrient dense proteins, full of essential Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins B12 and B6. Salmon can help reduce inflammation in our bodies through it's high content of Omega-3's, which is valuable for athletes. Salmon is known to be the king of fish because of it's high quality protein. A weekly consumption of this power food has been shown to decrease the risk of numerous cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. The antioxidant in salmon, selenium, has been shown to be beneficial in cardiovascular protection.



*It isn't always possible to eat perfectly so here are some tricks to still enjoy some favorites but to be a little healthier about it.

·        When getting sandwiches and subs, get mustard, light mayo instead of options like ranch, regular mayo or other creamy dressings.

·        Water down soda and juice.  Still tastes good but a lot less sugar.

·        Have frozen yogurt over ice cream.

·        Whole wheat, Multigrain breads instead of white.

·        Cut down on cheese, if you're going to get a burger go for a hamburger instead of cheeseburger.  Get a sandwich without cheese every so often.

·        Have smoothies.. easy way to have fruits and even some vegetables like spinach.

·        Have healthy snacks, instead of grabbing a bag of chips.. grab some almonds, fruit or veggies and hummus or yogurt dressings/dips.

·        Try yogurt dressings, like ranch and Caesar.

·        If you're getting pizza try to get veggie toppings instead of doing a meatlovers. (Ham over pepperoni)

·         Dark chocolate over regular chocolate.

·         Pretzels over chips

·         Get tomato sauces instead of alfredo or other cheese/cream sauces.

·         After workouts it is important to get healthy fats in as well as protein.  Examples of healthy fats are avocados, plant oils (olive oil), fish, nuts and seeds.

·         Try as best as you can to stay away from fast foods like Mcdonalds and Wendy's and instead go to places like Chipotle, Subway.  If you go to Mcdonalds or Wendy's get chicken breast options instead of burgers.

  •  Water and fruit after training is better then sports drinks. They are ok if you are in a rush but fruits natural sugars are much healthier.