A sports diet can be very different than a weight loss diet. The sports or athletic diet does not have any food group that is off the table. The food groups for many athletic diets include breads, fruits and veggies, dairy, meat or alternatives, and fatty or sugary foods. Every once in a while athletes may partake in fatty or sugary foods, but on a daily basis athletes should partake in the other food groups listed. The fatty and sugary foods are not completely off of the table because athletes are constantly burning calories and every once in a while it is good to throw something tasty in the mix. Athletes thrive off of energy and utilize all of the different food groups to develop muscles and create a healthy physique overall. The following will breakdown how the different food groups should be utilized for the ideal diet geared towards athletes.
Bread, Cereals, Potatoes
- Whole Meal
- Whole Grain
- High Fiber
- Fried Versions
- Adding Extra Fat
- Adding Thick Rich Dressings and Sauces
This particular grouping involves cereal, pasta, noodles, maize, oats, rice, cornmeal and millet. Carbohydrates are the initial form of energy. The body burns carbohydrates before it begins to breakdown muscle, so having a breakfast high in carbohydrates is important for optimal body performance and endurance. The nutrients taken from many forms of carbohydrates include fiber, calcium, iron, and different B vitamins.
Fruit and Vegetables
- Variety of Fruit
- Variety of Vegetables
- Adding Rich Sauces
- Adding Syrupy Sugary Dressing
Fruits and vegetables usually involve carbohydrates which aid in helping the performer gain energy to burn. Fruits and vegetables can be utilized in many different forms to include fresh, frozen, and canned. All of the forms listed can be effective for the ultimate athletic diet. The nutrients involved in this grouping are Vitamin C, carotenes, fiber, folates and carbohydrates.
Milk and Dairy
- Low Fat Dairy Versions
Milk and dairy foods include milk, yogurt, cheese, and from age frais. This group should be taken in moderate amounts partaking in the fat free and low fat versions if possible. The nutrients involved in this food group include calcium protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12.
Meat, Fish and Alternatives
Viable Eating Options
- Options Lower in Fat
- Fat Cut Off
- Skin Off
- Without Batter
- Try to Cook Without Fat Additives
- Substitute Beans and Pulses for this Group When Able
This group includes eggs, nuts, pulses, beans, fish, poultry, and meat. By meat it means meat products, bacon, salami, pretty much any pork or beef products. Meat options have to be watched quite closely because they tend to be high in fat which is not ideal for the ultimate athletic diet. This group should be eaten in moderation. Meat options should be chosen according to their fat content. The lower the fat the better. The nutrients offered in this food grouping include iron, B Vitamins, protein, Magnesium, and Zinc.
Fatty and Sugary Foods
This group includes low fat spread, margarine, butter, cooking oils, spreading fats, mayonnaise, oily salad dressing, chocolate, biscuits, crisps, cake, pastries, pudding, fatty gravies, rich sauces, ice-cream, sugar, and sweets. This particular group will be eaten daily in some form or fashion, but athletes should partake sparingly, utilizing this group in very small amounts.
Overall different body types call for different amounts of calories and the sport the athlete is involved in also needs to be taken into consideration. A body builders’ diet is much different from a basketball players’ diet. The basketball player will usually have a much leaner diet with less calories than the body builder. There are also factors that affect the athletes’ energy requirements. The factors include gender, amount of physical activity, age, and being overweight. Some athletes also have an issue with eating enough of the needed items in order to maintain a well-balanced diet, so they find the appropriate vitamin and mineral supplements to take care of the parts of their diet that needs enhancing. Utilizing the right vitamin and mineral supplements can help maintain the well-balanced diet needed to help one’s body to perform at its best. No matter what your level of athletics is a balanced diet can help you be the best YOU that you can be.