Athletes are busy people. They try to balance training with work, school, family and other activities. With all these responsibilities, athletes consume a lot of energy each day. Food preparation can become a challenge but it is a challenge that athletes need to face since good sports nutrition help to adequately fuel work-outs and improve performance and recovery.
Eating well should be a part of an athlete's overall training plan. But buying well is a requirement for eating well.
Nutritious meals begin at the grocery store. If you purchase the right ingredients, it's a cinch to whip up a nutritious and flavorful meal. Stocking up with healthy staples is critical to good sports nutrition and will give you many options when you get home from a workout. Here are some foods busy athletes must be armed with.
* Frozen foods are time-savers. Many prepackaged frozen items let you use the exact amount you need thus cutting cleaning up time. Leftovers are also instant meals on a busy night.
* Freezing is an important method of preserving most nutrients. Frozen vegetables are a lot of help because they require no washing, chopping, or peeling. Serve vegetables as a side dish, or incorporate into soups, sauces, or pasta dishes.
* Frozen fruit has longer shelf-life and are easily available if supply of fresh ones is low. Frozen blueberries, mixed berries, and mangoes can be blended into a smoothie with fruit juice and milk or yogurt or used as cereal topping.
* Chicken breasts or fish fillets that are frozen in individual packing are a good protein source for your meals. Frozen meatballs provide variation and can be easily mixed with pasta.
Canned products don't compromise nutrition. Upon being harvested fruits and vegetables are processed to keep nutrients locked in.
* Beans that are canned are nutrient dense, and will load you with the important fuel for maximum growth and sports performance.
* Canned tuna and salmon are rich in protein and omega-3 fats, which have been shown to help conditions of cancer, heart disease, arthritis and mental health. Pasta dishes, salads and sandwiches can be given another character by including these in the recipe.
Peanut Butter is a good source of calories, and for busy athletes, an easy fill. Use this as sandwich spread and top with a banana or enjoy with carrot strips. Peanut butter is packed with healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats and vitamin E.
Popular among athletes is the use of tomato sauce. Processed tomatoes are concentrated with protective compounds. One half-cup of tomato sauce, for instance, contains six times more of the antioxidant lycopene than a medium fresh tomato.
Tomato sauce is usually cooked with pasta which is a staple of many athletes' sports nutrition diet. If available, use the whole grain variety because refined pasta has been stripped off of its vitamins, fiber and other nutrients. Frozen bell peppers and tuna can boost protein content of meals with tomato sauce.
A wide variety of whole grains must be explored, examples of which are brown rice and red rice. Whole grains take a little longer to cook so cook in medium batches just enough to have leftovers for the next day.
In the Fridge
Fridge wonders include prewashed and ready-to-eat salad greens and carrots, cheese, eggs, milk, and yogurt.