As a high performance athlete, careful consideration of the timing of that pre-workout snack or the composition of that recovery bar after your training could help boost your performance to new levels. However, the weekend food warrior - the once-a-week intake of quality, fresh foods - is not building long-term health and peak performance.
Remember - it matters more what you’ve been eating over the last six months than what you eat on the day of a race or competition.
Below are some basic recommendations to follow for optimizing your sports nutrition on a daily basis.
1. Eat whole foods, avoiding processed and packaged foods full of refined sugars.
2. Include lots of vegetables of different varieties and different colours.
3. In general, choose complex carbohydrates high in fibre.
Healthy carbohydrates include quinoa, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes (lentils, chick peas, beans), nuts, and seeds.
Avoid simple carbohydrates that are often found in refined and processed foods like breakfast cereals, white bread, pastries (such as cakes, cupcakes, muffins), candy, sweet drinks (including fruit juices), sugars, and syrups.
4. Don’t eat all of your protein in one meal. You should be consuming protein throughout the day.
Healthy protein sources include eggs, tuna, hemp hearts, quinoa, nut butters, legumes (lentils, chick peas, beans), poultry, fish, and grass-fed meat.
5. A low-fat diet does not = healthy eating. However, the type of fat you eat has a major effect on your overall health.
Reduce your consumption of saturated animal fats, trans fats, and processed foods (red meat, butter, cheese, ice cream).
Increase your consumption of healthy fats. Healthy fats include olive oil, peanut oil, fish, flax, avocado, nuts, and seeds.