An Authentic Italian Diet for Athletes

October 20, 2012 | Alessandro Brazzit

Must See Nutrition Videos

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...
Must See
Dashon Goldson: Dashon Goldson: "You Just Gotta Have Heart"
Views: 6,336,505
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 7,213,244
Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court
Views: 8,081,467

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,016,699
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,631
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,354
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,676
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,362
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,576,773
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,004
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,053

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

The summer is approaching which bring to mind certain events. People will go to the beach, enjoying a day by the pool, and most importantly people will...

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

The Boston Cannons' Keep It Real Eating Plan

The Boston Cannons'

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

YardBarker