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Basketball Nutrition Plan

May 1, 2009 | Featured in the Summer 2009 Issue

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 Basketball is a demanding sport that requires repeated bouts of explosive movements. Practicing solid nutrition habits as you follow Coach McKown's summer program can improve your performance by enhancing training, speeding recovery and decreasing illness.

Throughout your summer training, key in on: carbohydrates to provide necessary energy; lean protein to repair damaged muscles; and antioxidant-rich foods that fight the inflammatory effects of exercise.

Carbohydrate-containing foods are the staple of a sports diet as they are the primary energy source for high intensity, maximal-outburst activity—but many athletes don’t eat enough. Consuming adequate amounts helps promote rapid recovery, delay fatigue when eaten before exercise, maintain training intensity when consumed during longer-than-60-minute sessions, and improve muscle glycogen storage, especially when received within 30 minutes after a workout.

Protein encourages muscle growth and repair, and boosts your immune system. Meeting your protein needs is most effective and cost-efficient through food. Include a lean protein source, (e.g., chicken, turkey, fish, skim milk, reduced-fat cheese, eggs) in every meal and snack, and make sure to combine protein with a carbohydrate immediately after workouts.

Strenuous exercise leads to muscle damage and inflammation. Foods high in antioxidants protect against this inflammation and aid in repair of muscle damage. Eat foods from the list below every day.

Develop the following habits to maximize your training results:

1. Eat every three to four hours.

2. Include a fruit or vegetable and a lean protein source every time you eat.

3. Eat breakfast daily.

4. Choose high fiber, less processed carbohydrates.

5. Eat or drink a combination of carbohydrates and protein immediately after workouts. Aim for two to four grams of carbohydrate for every gram of protein. An excellent choice: skim chocolate milk.

6. Minimize animal fats, and include more plantbased fats, like nuts, seeds and oils.

7. Hydrate! Drink water throughout the day, and replace fluids and electrolytes lost during the court workout with a sports drink.

The following sample menu provides about 3,100 daily calories, which breaks down to 59 percent carbohydrates, 19 percent protein and 22 percent fat.

Breakfast

2-egg omelet with shredded cheese and spinach
1C quick-cook oats with 2 tbsp maple syrup
1 banana [can be cut into oatmeal]
8 oz skim milk

Morning snack

2 granola bars
1 piece of string cheese
½ C blueberries
20 oz water

Lunch

2 slices whole-wheat bread
4 oz tuna mixed with 1 tbsp mayo
1 oz bag of pretzels
1 orange
20 oz sports drink

Afternoon snack

1 apple
1 container light yogurt
1 slice whole-wheat bread with 1 tbsp peanut butter
20 oz water

Dinner

1 sweet potato with
2 tbsp brown sugar and
¼ tsp cinnamon
4 oz chicken breast
1C steamed broccoli
2C salad [spinach leaves, bell peppers, walnuts and Italian dressing]
20 oz water

Evening snack

½ C nonfat cottage cheese
½ C pineapple
1 oz whole-grain snack crackers

FRUIT
VEGETABLES
BEVERAGES
OMEGA-3 FATS
Cherries
Spinach
Cherry juice
Salmon
Blueberries
Broccoli
Green tea
Tuna
Pineapples
Bell peppers
Blueberry juice
Walnuts
Raspberries
Green beans
Pomegranate juice
Flax
Strawberries
Cauliflower
Vegetable juice
Canola oil
Oranges
Sweet potatoes

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