Best Foods for Athletes

Posted on: March 7th, 2013 by Laura No Comments

foodMost of know that it’s important to feed our athletes the proper food if we want them to perform well. Of course, what is good fuel for a football player is different that of a ballet dancer.

So I went on a search for good foods for specific sports and found  this great news article from

Here are some excerpts from the article. To read the entire article, go here!

There’s no “one size fits all” diet, so how can you make sure you’re properly nourishing your body, while achieving the results you desire?

We spoke with certified dietitian, Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Sports Medicines.

Here is a list of guidelines for athletes.

Football: It’s all about recovery
Football players need to fuel their bodies before, during and after practices.
Bonci recommended players ingest 20 grams of protein one hour prior to intense weight-lifting. Half a protein bar or a glass of milk will prepare your body without making you bloated or uncomfortable during a workout. She also suggested incorporating carbohydrates into this pre-workout snack. Drinking a standard-size water bottle (20 ounces) or sports drink one hour before a practice will keep the player fueled through a two-hour training period.

To recover quickly and efficiently from these strenuous exercises, a player should eat a small meal that is high in protein and carbohydrates at least 15 to 30 minutes afterward.

Hockey: Energy levels matter 

Investing in a sports drink to keep hydrated and replace your depleted electrolytes. Also, bring a sports gel or honey stick with you to get an extra boost when needed. What’s just as crucial to gulping down fluids, is eating the right proportions of food.

Soccer: Be aware of your surroundings

Similar to hockey, soccer quickly uses up the player’s strength and endurance. Since players often tend to stay on the field for long periods of time, Bonci recommends eating a moderate portion of carbohydrates — such as a piece of fruit or a handful of trail mix — about a hour before play. The body often needs this as a source of energy to feed off of.

Ballet: Lighter is better
Leslie Bonci admitted that a huge issue for dancers is understanding the need to eat certain foods to perform according to professional standards. Aesthetics are a huge part of ballet, and most dancers do not want to hop around the stage with a “bulging belly.” Carbohydrates usually cause this bloating effect, which is why Bonci recommended a modest amount of starches in their diet. Focus on eating protein, fruits and vegetables.

Traditionally, a lot of long distance runners think they should ingest as many carbohydrates as possible the night before a big run. Although this isn’t entirely incorrect, runners should also make sure to incorporate protein and fat into their meals. Meals should be around 50 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent fat and 25 percent protein.

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