Here’s How To Achieve Balance In A Time Crunch
As an athlete, you can run into some challenging food situations. Sometimes the dinner stop on the way home from an away game is at the mini-mart at the closest gas station. Win or lose, athletes need some post-game calories, and may even want some comfort foods. Even at a convenience store, you’ll be able to find healthy choices that can bring nourishment to both your body and soul.
For a balanced meal, include a carbohydrate, from either the fruit or grain group, and a protein. This will give your body some great nutrients for recovery, and help you feel more satisfied after eating. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Fruit: Banana or other fresh fruit, orange juice, 100 percent fruit juice/smoothie, raisins or other dried fruit, applesauce, dried apple chips, fruit leather
Grain: Triscuits, Wheat Thins, Belvita, graham crackers, popcorn, pretzels, cereal cups, biscotti, granola bar, whole wheat fig bars
Protein: Milk, hard-boiled eggs, cheese stick, beef jerky, nuts, seeds, trail mix, canned tuna, yogurt, Greek yogurt, individual peanut butter or almond butter packs, cottage cheese, energy bars with 10-20 grams of protein
If you’re looking to save money, or you want to have even healthier options, you could always pack food ahead of time and bring it in a cooler. Here are some nutritious foods that might sound good after the game: turkey and avocado sandwich, carrots and hummus, peanut butter on graham crackers, yogurt with granola and fruit, cheese and crackers, egg salad and pita chips, pasta salad with veggies and chicken, tortilla with almond butter and banana.
One meal from a gas station mini-mart won’t make or break your overall diet. If you know that you’ll be eating dinner at a convenience store, plan on eating healthier foods during your other meals and snacks throughout the day. Make the best choices you can, and follow it up with lots of water and a good night’s rest. These strategies will help your body recover well, and you’ll be set for a fresh start when you wake up.
Maximize your athletic performance by seeking personalized advice from Nutrition Coach Jill Daniels, MS, RD, CSSD, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. www.JillDanielsRD.com