Heading to your favorite restaurant pre-game? Well, if you plan on bringing your A-game to the court, you'd better know what menu selections will help you most. Below, Carrie Peterson, MS, RD, and former dietician for the Minnesota Twins, offers a few tips.
Since 60 percent of your diet should comprise carbohydrates, munch on bread and crackers while you wait for your dinner. When you order, go for carb-rich foods like pasta and rice (whole wheat or whole grain if available) to fuel your muscles, and request that your dishes be cooked without extra butter. Keep things even healthier by avoiding foods with creamy, fatty sauces, like Alfredo.
Forget the beef. Though it's a top protein source, red meat is a bit higher in fat than other choices, which means it takes longer to digest. Save the beef for your post-game meal, and opt for grilled chicken or whitefish. A three-ounce salmon fillet provides 19 grams of protein with about 10 grams of fat.
Substitute steamed veggies for sides that are cooked in oil, such as french fries. Veggies like squash and broccoli are rich in minerals like calcium and iron and vitamins A and C, which help keep you flu-free.
Remember that moderation is always key, even with beverages. Instead of gulping down soda and flavored teas, which are loaded with empty calories and sugar, drink low-fat milk or water.
Pass on dessert until after the game. It'll be a good way to celebrate your win.
Eat the same portion sizes as you do at home. If your meal is huge, share it or put some in a to-go container.
Look for foods that are roasted, baked, boiled or broiled, and stay away from breaded and fried foods, along with anything that contains mayonnaise.
If you don't know what's in a dish, ask your server. Don't hesitate to make cooking requests.
* for a 3-oz. salmon fillet with 1C long-grain brown rice and ½C steamed carrots
Carrie Peterson, MS, RD, LD, is an assistant clinical specialist at the University of Minnesota, specializing in sports nutrition and dietetic education. She has served as the team dietitian for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Wild, Vikings and Lynx.
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