"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food" - Hippocrates

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Train to eat: A plan for good nutrition

A good nutrition plan is important for fueling the body and investing in overall health. However, nutrition is the most commonly overlooked component in an endurance athlete’s training program. If you are like most Americans, you skip breakfast; work through lunch, and by late afternoon you are starving, so you buy a candy bar from the vending machine. You are so tired after work that you buzz through the nearest fast food drive thru. Many athletes become concerned about nutrition weeks or days prior to an event, but nutrition is an important part of their training year round. A good nutrition plan supports training so that you are able to train efficiently and effectively and improve your health and performance. Let’s get started. As you shape your diet, include these foods for optimal energy.

• Whole grains and starches such as brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, and barley. Most athletes need 55-60% of their calories from carbohydrates to adequately fuel their muscles. This equates to 6-11 servings per day (1 slice of bread, ½ bagel, ½ cup cooked rice, pasta or cereal equals a serving).

• Fruits (think color) such as oranges, apples, bananas, and strawberries. Fruits improve healing and aid in recovery after exercise. Aim for at least 2 cups per day. A cup equals 1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice or ½ cup dried fruit.
• Choose dark, colorful vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, carrots. The recommended intake is at least 3 to 5 servings of vegetables per day. Most people rarely eat that much in a week! A serving of vegetables equals 1 cup raw or cooked, 1 cup vegetable juice, and 2 cups raw leafy greens.
• Protein for muscle building and recovery including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts. Aim for 0.5-0.75 grams of protein per pound. 1 oz (~7g protein) equals 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked dry beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds. Some top choices include: skinless white meat chicken or turkey, fish, lean beef (products with round or loin in the name), peanut butter, canned beans, tofu, and almonds.
• Dairy products for bone health. Try to get in 3 cups a day. 1 cup equals 1 cup of milk or yogurt, or 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese. Make low fat choices such as 1% or skim milk, low fat yogurt, low fat cheeses (part-skim mozzarella, string cheese, light cheddar cheese).

Not a big vegetable fan? Try preparing vegetables in different ways. We all love French fries, but have you tried sweet potato oven fries? Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins B6, C and beta-carotene, as well as a good source of fiber.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries

3 large sweet potatoes, cleaned with skin on
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375. Cut potatoes into 1" thick slices using a sharp knife. Place potatoes in large mixing bowl. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Gently stir allowing ingredients to be spread evenly over potatoes. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place potatoes on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until tender and crisp. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Shouldn't have read this post so close to dinner...YUMMY FOODS!
    Great ideas! I LOVE sweet potato fries (w/ cinnamon as a desert). Great post!