Key #3: Eat Healthy Carbohydrates
For all athletes, carbohydrates are absolutely essential. Your body requires carbohydrates to store enough fuel to get you through your training sessions without crashing. You require stored carbohydrates to complete quality sessions and get the most out of your training. You should be consuming about 6-12g of carbohydrates per kilogram of your body weight per day. If you're a female athlete you will usually be at the lower end of this range and if you're a male at the upper end.
However, just like fats, there are good and bad carbohydrates. In general, complex carbohydrates high in fibre are quite healthful, while simple carbs can be problematic.
Healthy carbohydrates include quinoa, whole grains, vegetables (such as sweet potato), fruits (especially berries), beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Simple carbohydrates are often found in refined and processed foods like breakfast cereals, white bread, sugars and syrups.
Eating real food rather than pre-packaged or processed foods will make you feel healthier and perform to your highest potential both in sport and daily life. 68% of packaged foods and beverages in the USA contain caloric sweeteners and 74% contain both caloric and low-caloric sweeteners. This added refined sugar in processed foods provides no additional nutrients and as an athlete, you want the most nutrient dense foods to fuel your body and brain. Stick to whole foods that are unprocessed as often as possible.
Make sure you're fuelling your body properly during every meal. Setting up your morning with starchy sweets leads to a cascade of bad behaviour for the rest of the day. Worse yet, these eating habits set the stage for exhaustion at the worst times. Try performing your best when you're hitting a sugar low during a workout!
Today's POWER-UP: Add healthy carbohydrate sources to your nutrition plan
Choose oatmeal with almond butter rather than cereal for breakfast. Choose plain full fat yogurt with berries instead of the sweetened low fat variety. Choose spaghetti squash with tuna pesto sauce instead of white pasta with tomato sauce.
Here are a few sources of healthy carbs for athletes:
Oats (that take longer than 3 minutes to cook :-))