Lunchtime is a crucial time for athletes to eat well. It will help serve as a recovery meal if you had a morning workout. It will contribute to the fuel and fluids your body needs for a great afternoon or evening practice. So, how does one eat like a champ?
The lunches offered at school tend to be high in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, and too low in fiber, fruits and vegetables. A popular choice is to grab a burger or a slice of pizza and wash it down with an energy drink.
This will not help your body perform its best.
Bring your lunches from home!
This will ensure you eat a balanced meal that will energize your muscles, keep you mentally focused and nourish your body.
It will take some planning and prep time, but will be worth it when you realize you’re feeling great during practices and competitions.
Follow these tips to eat like a champ
>> Too Busy? Plan Ahead
Consider making a weekly lunch menu with your family. It will prevent everyone from choosing last-minute, less healthy lunch foods. Make the week’s lunches on Sunday so there’s no prep time needed in the morning. Package sandwiches and keep them in the freezer.
Use Ziploc bags to make individual servings of snack foods, so you can portion out the right amount for you.
>> Quality Fuel
Pack items from at least three different food groups for each lunch.
Include a good source of protein from the meat/bean group or the dairy group (such as Greek yogurt or cottage cheese).
Team it up with energy-rich carbohydrates like whole grain breads, tortillas or crackers. Add some color and lots of nutrients with fruits and vegetables.
Top it off with something fun such as homemade oatmeal cookies, chocolate milk, graham crackers or a peanut-raisin-M&M mix.
Jill Daniels, MS, RD, CSSD is a Registered Dietitian in the Bay Area of Northern California who specializes in sports nutrition and weight management. She works with people of all ages. Visit her at JillDanielsRD.com