You’ve heard over and over again that it’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes lean proteins, healthy fats, fibre, lots of vegetables and fruit. And you’ve experienced how much easier it is to approach a training session with a positive mindset and leave the mat on a high note after a day of healthy meal options. But why?

Your muscles rely on instant energy compounds called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and creatine phosphate (CP) to go from zero to back flip at a moment’s notice. Your metabolic pathways convert energy from carbohydrates, fats, and protein to create ATP and CP. Your body will use the energy it gains from healthy foods considerably more efficiently than junk food. Choosing food that supports your body can reduce your risk of injury, and provide the foundation Nutritional tips FByou need to give each session and performance your best. Here are some nourishing choices that are often recommended to cheer athletes and why we love them so much!

  • Bananas: a good source of carbohydrates to fuel your body, plus potassium to reduce your risk of muscle cramps.
  • Oatmeal: This whole grain is full of fibre, which can slow down the rate that your body processes foods, allowing you to get more nutrients and making you feel nourished longer than, say, toaster waffles. It’s also jam packed with vitamins and minerals, including iron and magnesium.
  • Lean protein e.g. eggs, chicken: Your body breaks protein down into the materials needed to build and maintain your muscles.
  • Vegetables: A variety of vitamins and minerals are essential to everything your body does, and fruits and vegetables can provide most of those. We know you love fruit, so we’re highlighting veggies. Red peppers are high in vitamin C which helps your immune system, carrots are a good source of vitamin A which supports many organ functions, tomatoes have vitamin K to support your bones – just to name a few! Fruits and vegetables also contain energy-boosting carbohydrates.
  • Water: Water helps replace fluids lost through sweat, helps your body absorb nutrients from food, supports your joints, and protects your organs.

Before training or competition, eat breakfast! Set yourself up for success from the start with foods naturally rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre, carbohydrates and healthy fats. You don’t need to be a big eater to achieve this, a bowl of low-sugar oatmeal with a side of fruit is a great breakfast. Your body will rely on this fuel at afternoon practice, so don’t skip what is truly the most important meal of the day.

Plan snacks with reliable energy sources, like whole fruits and vegetables, plain yogurt, and healthy protein or granola bars. An apple is a good source of carbohydrates and fibre and easy to take on the go. Don’t forget water!

After training or competition you’ve expended a lot of energy! Provide your body with proper recovery time and resources. Reach for a lean protein, like poultry, eggs, fish, or nuts to support your muscles. And, of course, water.
Pay attention to what you eat and how you feel before, during, and after training, studying, or a competition and compare that to the foods you ate to keep track of what your body likes best. Need some more tips? Check out our Focus on Food blog posts Parts One and Two, and talk to your coach!

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