Good Eating Habits Are Key For Peak Academic and Sports Performance

September 21, 2012 | Jim Carpentier

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You know by now that what you eat and drink influences classroom and on-the-field performance. This new school year and fall sports season, recommit to good nutrition by following these recommendations, and watch your numbers improve throughout the year.

Replace soda and sugary juices with water

Water consumption is essential for optimum health and energy, which you'll need to focus better on your studies, practices and games. For sufficient hydration, keep that water bottle handy in the classroom, on the field and in the weight room.

How can you tell if you are adequately hydrated? Monitor the color of your urine throughout the day. It should be clear. Yellow-colored urine means you need to drink more water.

Never skip breakfast

Be sure you are well fueled to perform at your best before leaving for school each morning. Start the day with two glasses of water and have some fruit and protein. Breakfast skippers tend to eat more the rest of the day. Hello weight gain and unnecessary body fat. They also tend to get more colds during the school year. So if you want to stay healthy, not miss classes or sports and be leaner than your peers, make breakfast a priority every day.

A good sample breakfast plan is two eggs, yogurt or cheese and whole grain toast or cereal like oatmeal.

Eat more fruits and veggies

Want to remain healthy for those big games? Fruits and veggies are full of vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting antioxidants. Antioxidants are plant compounds that help the body recover from exercise and sports. And the vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables boost your immune system, making you less likely to be sidelined with illness throughout the school year.

Need another reason to consume more fruits and veggies each day? They have natural anti-inflammatory properties that can promote healing from sports injuries and enhance recovery between workouts, practices and games. Also, certain fruits such as blueberries enhance memory, great when you're taking an exam or recalling the plays for your sport.

Consume fish at least twice a week

Seafood such as salmon, tuna, sardines and shrimp are packed with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart and brain health and help recovery from exercise and sports. The fatty acids in seafood also contain anti-inflammatory properties to optimize healing of those bumps, bruises, sprains and strains during a long sports season. Also, just as certain fruits enhance memory, fish is a brain-boosting food.

Eat smaller, more frequent meals every few hours

They'll give you better metabolism, constant energy and balanced blood sugar levels than eating two or three large meals several hours apart. These take longer to digest and promote the accumulation of body fat.

Choose nuts and seeds over chips, candy and cake

Nuts and seeds have protein and healthy fats that are good for your heart and help you build lean muscle after workouts.

Always have a small pre-workouk meal (45 to 60 minutes before)

Your pre-workout meal should have muscle-building protein such as cheese and nuts and energizing carbohydrates such as fruit. The ideal post-workout meal is higher in carbohydrates such as a banana and a whole grain bagel (to replace the lost glycogen from weight training) and lower in protein (glass of milk).

Topics: DIET
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...
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