Back-to-school means more structure, which can be good for student athletes when it comes to nutrition. It’s easy to slip out of a good nutritional routine with all those tempting treats at concession stands and restaurants when you’re out and about for the summer. Now that students are getting back in the swing of things, here are some tips for reestablishing good nutrition during the school year.
- Enjoy seasonal local produce. Fall comes with all sorts of delicious, locally grown produce. You can still enjoy food and eat nutritionally sound meals. Hit the local farmers market and pick up some delicious veggies and fruits. With the crisp, cool weather approaching, don’t think grilling season is over. Roast your favorite vegetables and cook lean proteins like chicken or salmon on the grill. Just about any veggie can be prepared with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and then wrapped in tin foil and roasted on the grill for a flavorful, nutritious meal.
- Get back into a routine. If you slipped out of the habit of eating three meals and two small snacks a day, fall is a good time to reestablish that routine. Spend afternoons and evenings shopping and cooking together as a family. Even young student athletes can be involved in shopping and cooking to teach them valuable nutrition skills that will benefit them later in life.
- Stay hydrated. While the weather may be cooling off, it’s still important to stay hydrated. Prior to training, hydrate with about 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours prior and 16 ounces again 30 minutes prior. During exercise, drink about 6 ounces for every 20 minutes of exercise. You can determine how much water you need by weighing yourself before and after a workout. For every pound lost, you want to drink 16 ounces of water post-workout. In addition to drinking plenty of water, replace electrolytes with sports drinks.
- Eat whole foods. The easiest way to make sure you’re getting proper nutrition is to stick to primarily whole foods in your diet and avoid processed foods. Prior to a workout, anywhere from 3 hours to 30 minutes before exercising, consume healthy carbohydrates from fruits and veggies. Avoid carbs from processed foods and sugars, as your body will burn through them too quickly, and they won’t fuel your workout. Post-workout and throughout the day, fuel up with lean protein sources like lean turkey, eggs, nuts or whey protein shakes.
- Enjoy less healthy foods in moderation. You don’t have to completely avoid foods like fried food and ice cream. Keeping all “bad” foods off limits could actually lead to craving them and then over indulging. View less-nutrient-dense foods as a treat, and allow yourself the occasional indulgence. It’s all about finding balance.
Competitive Edge aims to develop the “complete athlete” using performance sports training in Woodbridge, VA and surrounding areas. Members are able to enhance their athletic performance and develop a competitive edge to excel in their desired sport.