Good nutrition for all means eating a variety of foods. Many athletes get slack in a routine of eating the same staple foods over and over again - salads, pasta, bananas, bread. However, in the long run, varying your diet is a much healthier plan.
Ear healthy 80 percent of the time but leave some room for pleasure. 20 percent of the time eat food that gives you the maximum psychological pleasure.
Athletes should eat 3 meals a day with the largest portion being vegetables or fruits. Make sure you add carbohydrates, good quality fats and lean protein. Eat 2 or 3 healthy snacks a day and do not allow more than 4 hours in a day without eating. Healthy snacks could be fruits, sprout salad, soups, and raw, unsalted nuts.
Carbohydrates are the best fuel source to provide power for your muscles. With carbohydrates you can maintain your activity for a longer period. Carbohydrate foods should make up more than half your total energy intake. Do make sure you eat enough carbohydrates to meet your increased daily requirements if you are exercising heavily daily.
Proteins are the major building blocks of the body - the muscles and tissues.You do not really need any supplements if you increase your protein intake with good quality food protein. Add lean meats, legumes, eggs and dairy in your diet. However, in case of loss of muscle mass for any reason, do take the occasional protein shake.
Fats should be eaten in moderation but include good fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as fish, nuts, seeds, sesame and olive oils and avocados. Fat provides energy, fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids.
Vitamins and minerals are the "spark plugs " of physical activity. Some help your body use the energy from carbohydrates, protein and fat. Others help your muscles relax and contract.You will generally take in enough essential vitamins and minerals. Despite the best intentions however, some people don't have a balanced diet, so watch your intake of iron, calcium and zinc, which are especially important for physically active people.
Stay well hydrated and drink water with all meals and snacks. Please drink 45 ml.of water per kilo of body weight. Drink before, during and after exercise.
Your diet should be optimal in both quality and quantity of food, in order to replenish your energy reserves and avoid fatigue or inadequate nutrition. Meet your nutritional needs for your best performance.