Early Season Fueling

Keeping up with a healthy diet not only during the peak of training but all year is essential for successful early season training and optimal performance throughout the season.  A simple way to make sure your body is in good condition for the start of training season is to follow the newest version of the food pyramid known as MyPlate.  This visually simple diet tool looks just like –you guessed it—a plate but divides the dish into four separate categories: vegetables, fruits, grains and protein foods with dairy as a side.  Let’s take a look at each food group to see what they provide for a healthy diet.

Fruits and Vegetables:

One of the key points of MyPlate is that half of every meal should be made up of fruits and vegetables.  Fruits and veggies are chalked full of vitamins, minerals and fiber which are all essential for maintaining a proper weight and keeping your body fit enough to compete!  Adding more fruits and vegies to your diet could also potentially lower your risk of many chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer.

Grains:

A little over one fourth of your plate should consist of grains.  The most important point to remember when picking which grains to add to your diet is to make sure you are choosing whole grains instead of refined grains. Whole grains are a great source of energy-sustaining carbs, vitamins and minerals which are essential for health maintenance throughout the year.  Try to find rolled oats, plain popcorn, brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta at the grocery store to add to your diet.

Protein Foods: try opt for lean cuts of beef and pork wich includes the word loin

The rest of the plate is made up of protein foods which are important for recovering from workouts and for maintaining and building new muscle for performance and power.  To keep up your body’s muscle mass choose foods with high protein content with as little saturated fat and cholesterol as possible.  Try opting for lean cuts of beef and pork which include the word “loin” as well as 90/7 ground beef, poultry such as chicken (not fried), seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, soy and beans to your diet.

Dairy: stress fractures and bones in feet in order to prevent injury to your bones during exercise

What would a body be left with without strong bones? An athlete needs to keep up with low-fat high-calcium dairy foods to keep bones healthy and to prevent bone injuries during exercise.  If you haven’t already done so try to drink fat-free skim milk or at most 1% and include soft cheeses, low and non-fat yogurt, calcium fortified soymilk, almond milk and green leafy vegetables for optimal calcium intake.

Vitamins and minerals:

To finish off your healthy diet make sure you are getting all of the essential vitamins and minerals needed to keep your body in tip top shape! Here is a list of some nutrients, why they are essential and where they can be found in foods.

-B vitamins:  Vitamins that help convert food into energy and keep your nervous system running as well as help produce red blood cells. Found in salmon, brown rice, beans, yogurt.

-Iron: A mineral that helps oxygen get transported throughout our entire bodies.  Found in eggs, turkey, oats, chickpeas.

– Magnesium: A mineral essential for healthy bones and energy production. Found in quinoa, almonds, spinach, edamame.

-Potassium: A mineral that works with sodium within the body to maintain a healthy blood pressure and can reduce hypertension. Found in bananas, milk, chicken, tomatoes, spinach.

-Vitamin C- A vitamin that aids tissue repair, helps heal wounds, and aids in iron absorption.  Found in citrus fruits, kiwi, brussel sprouts, green and red peppers.

-Vitamin D: A vitamin that aids calcium absorption.  Found in tuna, fortified milk, eggs and the sun so go out and get some sunshine!

Need a little extra help?

To give you a jump start on all of this MyPlate diet planning check out my blog for recipes. Are you training for any events this year? Looking to take your performance to the next level? ENP’s newest program, Athlete’s Nutrition, will help you take your performance to a whole new level! You’ll learn how to create and easily follow a personalized sports nutrition fueling and hydration plan for training, competition and rest days, how to fuel without overeating and how to shop for performance-boosting foods! Fuel like the pro’s with Athlete’s Nutrition

Check out this presentation I gave to Outspokin Bicycles Athletes for more information on this important topic!

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