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Healthy Eating for On-the-Go Athletes

July 16, 2012

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As an athlete, you have a busy schedule, with days full of work or school, practice, lifting, team meetings and even double headers—not to mention tournament days, which can take anywhere from four to eight hours, with multiple games being played on the same day. All that moving around and travel can make proper nutrition difficult, with major consequences for game-day performance.

As a high-performance athlete, you should be eating every 2-3 hours—three meals per day, plus snacks before and after games or practice. To protect your performance, you need to plan ahead for proper fueling. Make it a habit always to have non-perishable snacks in your gym bag, and pack extra items so you never run out. The worst-case scenario is to get caught at a tournament for longer than you expected and start feeling dizzy or fatigued because you forgot to bring enough snack food. Pack your gym bag the night before so you won't feel rushed the next morning.

Ideally, each meal and snack should have a carbohydrate and a protein. Getting in a vegetable at meals is helpful but not always realistic.

Here are some good packable choices:

• Trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits
• Sliced fruit and peanut butter
• Raw vegetables and humus
• Turkey sandwich
• Bagel with peanut butter
• Protein bars
• Yogurt with nuts and granola

If you forget to pack snacks or run out, check out SCAN's recommendations for fast food options, such as:

Mexican

Burrito with grilled veggies and chicken, fish or steak

Fast Food

Grilled chicken sandwich or plain hamburger with side salad

Sub Sandwich/Deli

Turkey or grilled chicken sandwich with side salad or side of chili

Italian

Piece of fish or chicken, side of pasta and side salad

Chinese

Steamed chicken and vegetables with a side of brown rice

Bagel Shop

Bagel with peanut butter or egg

Finally, keep a reusable water bottle with you at all times and hydrate throughout the day. Sometimes, adding a few slices of lemon or lime makes it more appealing and easier to drink.

Photo Credit: morguepress.com

Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
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