The Importance of A Daily Nutrition Plan
Nutrition is the most important contributor to an athlete’s success. While there is no shortage of dietary fads and eating plans to choose from, it is important for athletes to consume all the necessary nutrients on a daily basis. This is a guide on what to eat, how much to eat, and how maintain a daily nutrition plan.
What Should Your Daily Diet Consist of?
Protein should make up 10-15% of your daily calories. Protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass, but too much protein can strain your kidneys. Try to get your daily protein from food rather than supplements. High protein food sources include eggs, chicken, beef, pork, and soy beans.
Carbohydrates should make up 65-70% of your daily calories. They are your bodies main source of energy. Make sure you are consuming the right kinds of carbohydrates. Carb sources like whole-grain pasta and rice, as well as vegetables, will also provide you with nutrients and fibers.
Fats should make up 20-25% of your daily calories. You want unsaturated fats, avoid saturated fat. Sources of unsaturated fats include nuts, seeds, avocado, peanut butter, and vegetable oil. Saturated fats come from butter, cheese, pork, fatty beef, and fast food.
Vegetables fall under the three macro nutrient categories, but need to be addressed in a category of their own. According to the CDC, less than 10% of adults consume enough vegetables on a daily basis. This percentage is based off of the the general population, and adequate vegetable consumption is even more important for athletes. Athletes require the various vitamins and nutrients that vegetables provide in order to maximize performance. Below we have linked to a supplementary product that will help you easily get your daily vegetables in.
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What Not to Eat
Refined sugar – There is a long list of reasons to avoid refined sugar. When sugar enters your bloodstream, you body releases insulin. Excess sugar is converted to fat. The more sugar you consume the more resistant your body becomes to insulin, you then gain more fat and increase risk of diabetes. Avoid things like soda, candy, deserts, and other sweets.
Fried foods are often coated in batter and flour, adding extra calories. They then absorb the oil they are cooked in, adding significant amounts of fat. For example, a small baked potato (100 grams) has 93 calories and 0 grams of fat. The same amount of french fries (100 grams) has 319 calories and 17 grams of fat.
Daily Nutrition Plan Examples
The idea of this list is to provide ideas of what you could be eating for each meal and snacks in between. The important thing is that you are getting all the proper nutrients throughout the day.
-Eggs w/ oats/whole wheat toast or
-Fruit protein smoothie
-Chicken Salad w/ nuts or
-Salmon w/ side salad/vegetables
-Whole wheat pasta w/ lean beef & side of vegetables or
-Rice & Chicken and side of vegetables
Snacks throughout the day
Drink atleast 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water everyday. So if you weigh 180 lbs, you should drink 90 oz of water daily.
Try to get all the nutrient, vitamins, and minerals you need from food.
However, fish oils/omegas and multivitamins can be used to make sure you are getting everything you need to stay mentally and physically sharp.
In order to maintain a quality daily nutrition plan you must keep track of what you eat. Below is a link to a daily nutrition journal and tracking app, as well as other uses materials.
Managing Marathon Training Hunger by Laura Norris
A Balanced Diet for Athletes by Jackie Keller