Athletes often have busy schedules and have to juggle practices, classes and meetings throughout the day. It can be difficult to find time to stop and refuel with a balanced meal. A healthy combination of complex carbohydrates, protein and fats will help athletes have sustained energy throughout the day and prepare them for the physical demands of their sport. Here are some strategies to keep energized for peak performance.
Prepare for Lunch
Preparing for your weekly lunches over the weekend or the night before minimizes the stress around finding a lunch during the day when you may be busy. Make a big batch of salad with a lean protein like grilled chicken and have enough prepared to make lunch for most of the week. Buy turkey lunchmeat and low-fat cheese and make turkey wraps on whole wheat tortillas for a healthy, easy lunch that provides lean protein and complex carbohydrates. Make 10 peanut butter and banana sandwiches on Sunday to have as a meal or snack option when needed. Remember, planning ahead and packing a lunch will relieve stress and provide healthy fuel to help you perform at the highest level throughout the day.
Pack a Lunch
Lunch is essential to help with sustained energy and build fuel stores for performances later in the day. Planning ahead and packing a lunch can help minimize the stress around finding something to eat when you are hungry in the middle of the day. Packing your lunch also helps you avoid eating fast food, which is high in saturated fat, sodium and processed carbohydrates. Packing a lunch is also beneficial for those athletes trying to build muscle and pack on healthy weightas you can control how many calories you consume and not have to rely on your cafeteria.
Lunch Recipes Ideas
The middle of the day is an important time to provide important nutrients to prepare for practices or games later in the day. A balance of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats will help you feel full and energized. Some lunch ideas include a hummus and cucumber whole grain pita pocket, peanut butter and banana on a whole grain bagel, or quinoa salad with feta and tomatoes. These options provide a combination of protein, whole grains and healthy fats.
Recipe Sneak Peak
Below is a recipe featured from the eBook “Lunch Made Simple: Quick and Easy Lunch Recipes for Athletes” available online at mysportsdconnect.com.
Philly Cheese Steak Burrito
- 1Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1/4 Yellow Onion, Sliced
- 1 Whole Wheat Flour Tortilla
- Hot Sauce
- 3oz. Cooked Lean Steak, Sliced
- 2 Slices of Swiss, Cheddar or Provolone Cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers and sauté 5-7 minutes until they become soft. Layer the peppers and onions, steak and cheese on to the tortilla and top with few dashes of hot sauce. Fold in the edges and roll up, wrapping in foil. Place the burrito on the baking sheet and bake 10 minutes until warm. Serve with sour cream, yogurt or hot sauce, if desired.
Quick Nutrition Facts
Carbohydrates: 41 grams
Total Fat: 44 grams
Saturated fat: 16 grams
Protein: 47 grams
Sodium: 785 mg
Cholesterol: 116 mg
All of these recipes with nutritional information can be found in the eBook Lunch Made Simple: Quick and Easy Lunch Recipes for Athletes by Dana Angelo White MS, RD, ATC. Click here to check out this eBook bundle for more tips and recipes for preparing healthy meals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer, and nutrition and fitness consultant. She specializes in culinary nutrition, recipe development and sports nutrition. Follow here on Twitter @dwnutrition.