The expression “You are what you eat” should be posted on weight room walls and in cafeterias, athletic training offices and locker rooms as a constant reminder how foods and beverages affect academic and athletic performance.
Today’s student-athletes can select from a wide variety of foods, beverages and supplements. Making the right meal selections to stay well hydrated and nourished before and after weight room workouts, sports practices, games and school promotes recovery, builds muscle and provides needed energy to perform efficiently.
Below are sample nutritious meals for top performance in the classroom, weight room and on the field:
Choose: Eggs, milk, and an orange; or oatmeal topped with raisins and nuts
Avoid: Sugary cereal, juice and sausage
Choose: Peanut butter and mashed banana on 100-percent whole wheat bread; or whole grain bagel with lettuce, tomato, sliced turkey and cheese with water
Avoid: Overprocessed meats, fried foods and sugary drinks such as hot dogs, French fries and cola
Eat between breakfast, lunch, dinner and before bedtime.
Choose: Nuts, seeds, vegetable sticks and string cheese; or yogurt and an apple; or hard-boiled eggs and raisins; or whole grain cereal topped with sliced banana and milk
Avoid: Potato chips, candy and soda
Choose: Lean proteins (broiled fish, roasted chicken or beef) with a buttered baked potato, yam, brown rice; or beans and vegetables with mixed greens tossed in olive oil and lemon juice
Avoid: Fried fish or chicken with fries
Choose: Water, milk or chocolate milk
Avoid: Soda and other sugary drinks
Pre-Workout (one to two hours before exercise):
Choose: Sunflower seeds, strawberries, string cheese and water
Avoid: Plain bagel and water
Post-Workout (within 15 minutes after exercise):
Choose: Banana with chocolate milk
Avoid: Corn chips and soda
Try to consume foods in their natural state and avoid overprocessed foods.
Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, a New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness director at the Greater Morristown YMCA in Cedar Knolls, N.J.