Richard Stockton College Athletic Training

Sports Nutrition Newsletter
A periodic Newsletter that addresses the Nutritional aspects
of athletic competition.


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Kim Raring, MS, RD, is Richard Stockton College's campus nutritionist..

She provides individual, confidential nutritional counseling to students. Her service is free for RSC students. For appointments call extension 5740. Kim Raring can be contacted at Kimberly.Raring@stockton.edu

Top 5 Eating Strategies for Athletes

By Kim Raring, MS, RD

Let’s face it. College athletes are extremely busy. A full academic course load combined with hours of team practice leads to minimal time to plan ahead and eat healthy. Unfortunately, if an athlete does not eat healthy or have an energy producing meal pattern, athletic performance decreases over time. Below are a few simple eating strategies all athletes will benefit from regardless of their sport.

Strategy #1

Eat Breakfast - It is true, breakfast is vitally important for an athlete. Breakfast “breaks” the “fast” and jump starts your metabolism and energy for the day. Ideally, breakfast should consist of a whole grain carbohydrate, fruit and protein. Examples are: raisin bran cereal with a banana and 1% milk, oatmeal made with 1% milk and raisins, scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast and orange juice. If you are short on time, grab a granola bar, yogurt and apple, or bagel with peanut butter and juice.

Strategy #2

Snack Between Meals - Many athletes skip breakfast or eat minimally throughout the day and consume majority of their calories in the evening. If you routinely skip meals or go longer than 4-5 hours without food, your metabolism will slow down and energy levels will plummet. Just like a fire needs wood to burn, your metabolism needs a constant supply of food to “burn” calories and maintain energy levels. Ideally, snacks should consist of a whole grain high fiber carbohydrate and a protein. For example: banana and yogurt, granola bar and peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread, cheese and crackers or trail mix (nuts and raisins).

Strategy #3

Consume Carbohydrates after Practice - Training for a sport requires hours of repetitive exercise. Glycogen, which is in your muscles, provides the energy for your workouts. Each time you train, glycogen stores decrease or become depleted. To replenish the glycogen stores, carbohydrates need to be consumed ideally within 15 minutes after your workout. If carbohydrates are not consumed after your workouts on a regular basis, glycogen levels over time will become depleted. This depletion will lead to a decline in energy levels and performance. Examples of carbohydrate snacks post training or competition are: orange juice and a bagel, bowl of cereal with a banana, or a sports drink, yogurt and fruit.

Strategy #4

Replace Fluids - After an intense workout or competition, it is extremely important to replace fluids lost from sweating. Ideally, fluids should be consumed during training and post training. To determine fluid loss, check weight prior to your workout and post workout. Fluid replenishment would depend on the amount of weight lost. For example, if you lost 2 pounds of fluid, this would be the equivalent of 32 ounces (1 pound = 16 ounces). 32 ounces of fluid would need to be consumed. Suggestions for fluid replacement include: water, juices, sports beverages and watery foods such as watermelon and grapes.

Strategy #5

Minimize Foods High in Fat and Refined Sugar - Eating large portions of foods high in refined sugar (candy, sodas, ice tea, sweets) and fat (fried foods, mayonnaise, butter, hot dogs, French fries, sweets, etc.) over time can lead to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. Choose the majority of foods from low-fat whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, protein (chicken, turkey and fish), olive oil and nuts. In addition to preventing disease, eating healthy will lead to optimal health and enhance your athletic performance.

   
   
 
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