Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is essential for student athletes to perform their best in sports and academics. A professional sports dietitian can provide insight into how to maintain a well-rounded diet that meets your energy needs and the demands of an active lifestyle. Here are five tips from a sports dietitian on how student athletes can maintain a nutritious eating plan:
1. Eat Regular Meals
Athletes should eat regular meals throughout the day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Eating something every three to four hours helps keep hunger at bay and provides fuel for physical activity. Make sure each meal has carbohydrates (such as oatmeal or whole grain bread), proteins (lean meats or eggs) and healthy fats (nuts or avocado). Additionally, drink plenty of fluids throughout the day as dehydration can negatively affect performance.
2. Watch Portion Sizes
It’s important for athletes to monitor portion sizes when eating – especially if they’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle mass. Even if you opt for healthier food items such as grilled chicken over fried chicken, it doesn’t mean you can have double the portion size! Use measuring cups, bowls and plates to help get an accurate idea of what constitutes one serving. This will help prevent overeating and ensure your body gets the right amount of nutrients without consuming too many calories that could lead to weight gain or other health issues down the road.
3. Get Enough Protein
Protein plays an important role in muscle building, so it is essential that student-athletes consume adequate amounts of this nutrient throughout the day in the form of lean meats such as fish, poultry or lean beef, dairy products such as cottage cheese, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu, tempeh, edamame, etc. Try incorporating these foods into sandwiches/wraps, salads, stir-fries or smoothies to make them part of your daily routine!
4. Don’t forget about fruit and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help protect against diseases such as cancer and keep your immune system working at its best during sports training periods when you may be more susceptible to injury/illness due to increased physical activity coupled with inadequate rest/sleep patterns – all of which take their toll on your overall health! Eating five portions a day can be easily achieved by snacking on fruit between meals + adding vegetables to sandwiches/wraps/salads/stir-fries etc., plus including them in main meals at dinner time… simple but effective!
5. Limit unhealthy foods & drinks
Unhealthy processed foods such as crisps, chocolate bars and sugary drinks should be limited as they offer no nutritional value but contain a lot of unhealthy fats + sugars which not only increase the risk of obesity but also contribute to inflammation which causes long term damage to our bodies leading to chronic diseases such as diabetes + heart disease etc. Therefore stay away from these types of snacks + drinks whenever possible and instead opt for lower fat options such as low fat yoghurts + whole grain crackers plus water + herbal teas instead of processed juices + sodas etc… your body will thank you later!
By following these nutrition tips from a sports nutritionist, student athletes will have enough fuel to excel in both athletics and academics! Remember: it takes commitment and dedication, but once done consistently, good habits become second nature, making it easier for everyone involved – so don’t wait any longer, start today!