Samantha Kauffman, MA, RD, CD, sports dietitian, Parkview Sports Medicine Performance, offers some helpful pointers for proper nutrition and peak performance.
When we have a full day, it can be difficult to balance practice, class and fueling our bodies to assure we are primed to perform to the best of our abilities. In order to make sure you are fully prepared for your day, some planning is required.
An ideal meal will combine carbohydrates and proteins to provide the nutrients necessary for building muscle and maximizing recovery. The day should begin with breakfast to wake up your metabolism and fuel for the day. Suggestions for breakfast include:
Getting food in throughout the day is understandably difficult due to school restrictions on eating during classes. At lunch, choose healthy items when possible (fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and carbohydrates). Avoid fried foods or those covered in creams, sauces, gravies or butters, as well as sodas and large portions of juices. Instead, opt for baked, grilled or broiled items.
During the rest of your day, attempt to eat something small when you visit your locker, between classes and before your practice starts. Your goal should be to always have access to foods that are quick and easy to fuel before and after practice, as well as the rest of your day. The following list has some suggestions for portable foods that can be kept in your locker or bag and snacked on throughout the day:
Recovery begins when you finish practice and continues throughout the night. Replenishing lost nutrients will aid you in getting the most out of your workouts and preparing for the coming day. If you will be eating shortly after finishing your last practice or game of the day, there is no need for a snack, but if it will be a few hours before your next meal it would be best to have a small snack afterward. To recover after a long day, the following are suggestions of meals and snacks that contain carbohydrates and protein and will fuel muscle growth and recovery: