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An Authentic Italian Diet for Athletes

October 20, 2012 | Alessandro Brazzit

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Italian food is hugely popular the night before games. It provides the nutrients and energy needed to fuel performance. However, the benefits of an Italian diet go well beyond the pre-game meal.

If you eat Italian food the night before a game because it fuels performance, wouldn't it make sense to eat a similar style meal each day? If you do, you may see improvements in your practice performance and workout results.

I am not talking about throwing some canned pasta sauce on overcooked spaghetti. I'm talking about the Italian diet based on thousands of years of history, tradition and passion for delicious food. This is full of pastas, cheeses, healthy meats and vegetables that provide a balance of carbs, protein and fat, all of which are essential for athletes. (Learn more about Sports Nutrition.)

Below you will find an authentic Italian diet plan for athletes. Make sure to choose organic foods if possible to avoid fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides that can impair performance and health.

Breakfast

  • Cup of natural yogurt with oats and 20 nuts
  • 60 grams of parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 apple or 1 pear
  • 1 espresso coffee (no sugar)

Snack

  • 80 grams of prosciutto or bresaola
  • 1 piece of whole wheat bread
  • 10 almonds

Lunch

Choose one of these five options:

  • Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes and basil
  • Penne zucchini and shrimps
  • Orecchiette with broccoli and anchovies
  • Paccheri with swordfish and olives
  • Spaghetti with tuna

Note: Pasta should always be prepared al dente (firm, not soft) to avoid changing its glycemic index. Cook pasta for about two minutes less than the recommend time.

Snack

  • 30 grams of parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 banana

Dinner

Choose one of these five options:

  • Scaloppina (200 grams) and 50 grams of roasted potatoes
  • Whole fish (sea bream/snapper, 350 grams) cooked in oven with fresh veggies
  • Meatballs (6-8 balls, 200 grams) with fresh veggies
  • Tuna or swordfish (200 grams) with grilled veggies
  • Legume soup (100 grams) and sheep cheese

Note: Eat dinner three hours before bedtime

Alessandro Brazzit
- Alessandro Brazzit is the strength and conditioning coach for junior performance development at FC Treviso. He has worked as a strength and conditioning coach with...
Alessandro Brazzit
- Alessandro Brazzit is the strength and conditioning coach for junior performance development at FC Treviso. He has worked as a strength and conditioning coach with...
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