What Kind of Food Should Athletes Eat (and How to Make It More Convenient)
If you're struggling to lead a busy lifestyle and manage your athletic goals, you're not alone. Studies show that only 9% of female athletes meet their caloric needs, and 75% fail to reach the recommended carbohydrate intake. Male athletes were also shown to have calorie deficits that negatively impacted muscle recovery and compromised their nutrition.
Instead of settling for good enough with your athletic performance, you can supercharge your nutrition with select foods and simplify the process along the way. If you're ready to revolutionize your diet and supercharge your athletic ability, here's what to eat more of.
Meat is often toted as the best source of protein for athletes, but the wrong kinds could quickly compromise your goals. Many meat sources, including lunch meats and pre-packed options contain salt, chemicals, and excess fat. Meanwhile, broccoli has more protein per calorie than beef.
That's not to say you should eliminate meat altogether. Lean chicken and beef can help contribute to the necessary 45 to 70 grams (or more) grams of fat per day that athletes need for performance. Here are some lean meat meal options to consider:
Leafy Green Vegetables
Dark, leafy green vegetables, including spinach, contain fiber for healthy digestion and help your body quickly eliminate waste. You can optimize your weight with more green veggies and help protect your bone health. Green veggies are high in Vitamin K and calcium and help contribute to bone health to lower the risk of injury.
Some of the oiliest fish you can find like salmon, mackerel, and trout are packed with lean protein and valuable Omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and boost athletic performance. Or if you want to throw something on the grill, Snapper's firm profile makes it a great option for a cookout and boasts hearty flavor.
Need ideas? Try our Salmon with Ratatouille Quinoa and Lemon Vinaigrette.
Athletes should tread lightly with fruit during intense workouts and training as you can quickly overeat its natural sugars and carbs. However, the right fruits could also help with fuel recovery and aid in hydration. Add a banana to get more potassium, electors, and minerals in your body. Berries are also helpful in conserving muscle strength, and fruits like watermelon aid with hydration and ease soreness after intense exercise.
Instead of making fruit the cornerstone of your diet, add it to mealtime for dessert or an afternoon snack.
Carbohydrates are often called out as the villain when it comes to nutrition. In reality, carbs are crucial to your success as an athlete. The trick is picking complex carbs, like whole grain pasta, that help fill up your glycogen stores so you have the energy to draw on during your workout. You'll also get plenty of B vitamins that help further boost your energy.
Here are some inspired twists on mealtime to get in more carbs:
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The hard part isn't picking the right foods to eat; it's sticking to a meal plan that enhances your athletic performance. Meal prep is often time-consuming and can feel frustrating if you don't enjoy being in the kitchen. Instead of going it alone, meal prep delivery service supercharges your athletic ability and enhances your nutrition. From athletes to vegans, we have options for everyone to help optimize your health, energy, and performance.
You can still work on your athletic goals and eat healthy, even if you're too busy to meal prep. FitTrax helps fuel your performance with macro-friendly meals and dishes with weekly to 21-day meal options. Or choose from our A La Carte option and bulk items to maximize your favorite flavors and nutrients. Get started today.