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Player Development

Performance Nutrition

 Nutrition must be a priority if your goal is consistent high-level performance. Performance nutrition can be the difference between average and awesome! It is the great equalizer! Performance nutrition is not just about eating pasta and drinking Gatorade though. It is about eating to maximize health, minimize illness, optimize energy production, maintain a healthy body composition and accelerate recovery and healing. A true edge is gained by eating for health and performance every day, not just on game-day!

 
Rules of the Nutrition Game
 
1. Eat breakfast daily within 30 minutes of getting up, unless you have a morning workout. Before a morning workout eat something light- a banana, granola bar or a bottle of Gatorade then eat a good breakfast as soon as you finish.
 
2. Breakfast must include (at least) 1 piece of fruit, 2 servings of complex carbohydrates (whole grains) and 1 serving of lean or low-fat protein (egg whites, low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese).
3. Eat at regular intervals throughout the day- 3 meals and 2 or 3 small snacks. Do not go longer than 3 hours without eating something. When you’re hungry you lose the ability to make good choices and tend to overeat.
 
4. Balance your caloric intake with your activity level. On heavy training days and competition days, eat more calories and more carbohydrates. On heavy days, be sure that at least half of the food on your plate at each meal is carbohydrate. Never compromise your carbohydrate intake during the 24 hours prior to competition.
 
5. On light training days and off days reduce your total carbohydrate intake. In particular, reduce your intake of fast-absorbing carbs. “Fast carbs” include: breads and rolls, sweetened cereals, white rice, pasta, pancakes/waffles, biscuits, juices and pretzels. These are “gameday” foods, not “rest” day foods.
 
6. Incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds in to each meal. These natural foods are excellent sources of vitamins A, C and E, phytonutrients, fiber and many minerals that strengthen the immune system, accelerate recovery, protect our bodies from pollution and stress. They are also a great source of energy.
 
7. Incorporate lean and/or low-fat protein in to each meal. Protein is found in dairy foods, soy foods, animal foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs) and some vegetable foods (seeds, nuts). Do not rely on the same protein foods at each meal, or each day. Before heavy training sessions and competition avoid high fat protein foods and processed or smoked meats, which take a long time to digest. These should also be avoided on inactive days, because of their high fat content. Better protein choices include: low-fat dairy products, poultry, egg whites and fish.
 
8. Drink adequately at all times, to prevent dehydration and overheating. Super-hydrate before exercise, remain hydrated during exercise (drinking 4-8 oz. every 15-20 minutes) and replenish any lost fluids after exercise. The best way to monitor your hydration status is by your urine. Urine output should always be significant and urine color should be clear.
 
9. Eat immediately following exercise. During the first 30-60 minutes you should begin to focus on recovery. Eating during this window will accelerate glycogen repletion and protein synthesis, and minimize muscle breakdown. You should eat and/or drink foods and fluids that contain “fast” carbohydrates, protein and antioxidants (especially vitamins C & E). A good post-workout snack could include a sports bar or bagel with peanut butter, with a banana and either orange juice or a sports drink. After this post-workout snack you should eat a balanced meal within 2 hours.
 
10. Your body only repairs itself when you are sleeping. Always be sure to get a minimum of 7- 8 hours of quality sleep. Also, try to maintain the same sleeping patterns- go to bed at roughly the same time each night and get up at approximately the same time each morning.  Your body works best when it is in a routine.
 
Nutrition Solutions

Breakfast Foods of Champions

Whole-grain cereals (low in sugar) with fruit and low-fat, skim or soy milk
 
Oatmeal with banana or other fresh fruit, milk, nuts & cinnamon (to get some extra protein add 2 tbsp. soy or whey protein powder)
 
Fresh fruit and unsweetened fruit juices
 
Buckwheat pancakes with fruit and syrup
 
Whole wheat, rye, pumpernickel or multigrain breads and bagels with fruit jam, light cream cheese or peanut butter (preferably organic)
 
Low-fat yogurt with granola, oatmeal, nuts or dried cereal mixed in
 
Egg white omelets with vegetables and cheese
 
Breakfast burrito with egg whites, vegetables, cheese and salsa wrapped in a tortilla
 
*The goal is to consume foods that provide fuel (complex carbohydrate), assist with tissue growth and repair (protein) and enhance recovery (complex carbohydrate and antioxidants).
 
Lunch/ Dinner Options
 
Sandwiches with turkey, tuna or hummus and vegetables on whole grain breads
 
Peanut butter and banana in whole wheat pita bread
 
Salads (choose spinach if available) with carrots, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lean turkey, beans or hard-boiled eggs and low-fat dressing
 
Black bean and rice burritos with salsa and guacamole
 
Grilled chicken breast sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles
 
Pasta with marinara sauce, garden salad and wheat bread
 
Turkey or tuna subs with lettuce, tomato, green pepper, onion, pickles and mustard
 
Chicken, turkey or tofu stir-fry with vegetables and rice
 
Vegetable pizza with cheese, garden salad and low-fat dressing
 
Turkey or veggie burgers with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles
 
Grilled chicken (skinless) or fish (not breaded) with rice and vegetables
 
Snack Suggestions
 
Fruit smoothies (fresh fruit blended with milk or fruit juices and crushed ice- add 2 tbsp. of protein powder for extra protein or 2 tbsp. peanut butter for more calories)
 
Yogurt smoothies (fresh fruit blended with non-fat yogurt or frozen yogurt and crushed ice)
 
Trail mix (buy it or make your own- nuts, seeds, raisins, chocolate chips, dried fruit)
 
Whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese
 
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on wheat bread with a glass of skim milk
 
Clif Bars, Balance Bars & other meal replacement bars*
 
Low-fat granola bars
 
Fresh or dried fruit
 
Unsweetened fruit juices
 
Bagels or English muffins with fruit jam or low-fat cream cheese
 
Baked tortilla chips and salsa
 
Low-fat yogurt (add dried cereal, nuts, oatmeal and/or dried fruit)
 
Fig Newtons (also apple, cranberry and raspberry) and low-fat milk
 
Hard-boiled egg whites
 
Unsalted almonds, peanuts or soy nuts
 
Cereal (whole grain, low sugar) and skim milk
 
Oatmeal (mix uncooked oats with yogurt for a great snack)
 
*Energy bars like Power Bars are best before and during exercise since they are primarily carbohydrate (lots of quick sugar). Meal replacement bars are better snack and post-workout bars since they contain more protein, which is important for assisting with recovery after intense workouts.
 
Fluid Basics

Athletes must drink regularly and abundantly- before, during and after exercise. Water is always the best choice, except during prolonged intense exercise, when sports drinks are best. Avoid diuretics like caffeine, alcohol and excessive sugar.
 

Before: Drink 16 oz. of water 2 hours before and another 4-8 oz. (of water or sports drink) 15-20 minutes before
 
During: Drink 4-8 oz. of water or sports drink every 10-15 minutes


After: Drink 16-24 oz. (2-3 cups) for every pound lost during a workout or game. Or, monitor urine color and output. Urine should be clear in color and output should be significant in a hydrated state.

*Eating high carbohydrate foods (especially fruits and vegetables) assists with fluid replacement. A high protein intake negatively effects hydration.