How athletes should eat part 3
Eating at events that last all day/weekend
It is extremely important for athletes to eat after competing. Their muscles need the proper fuel to recover, and they need enough nourishment to get them ready for the next race/competition. If an athlete competes, with minimal rest, and on the same day, then foods that are high in protein and fat will more than likely still be in the stomach potentially causing stomach or gastrointestinal (GI) distress. Here are some guidelines to help athletes make wise food choices at all day athletic events.
Stick with carbohydrates that are in liquid form, such as sports drinks.
If something solid needs to be eaten, try fruits like oranges, watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, pears, applesauce, or bananas.
These foods are digested very fast and therefore, will not cause as much of a problem with stomach cramping or GI distress.
Two to Three hours between events or heats
Solid foods in the form of carbohydrates can be eaten, as there is enough time to digest them before competition.
Try eating bagels, hot or cold cereal with nonfat milk, or English muffins along with fruit like bananas, apples, oranges, peaches, or pears
Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, like water or sports drink, for hydration, electrolyte replacement, and restoration of glycogen stores. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, carbonation and other stimulants.
Four or more hours between events or heats
With four or more hours between events or heats, an athlete may want a meal, which should be composed primarily of carbohydrates. Keep the meals simple. The following meal examples for the situation are appropriate:
A turkey sandwich on two slices of whole wheat bread, low-fat yogurt with fruit, and water or sports (fluid replacement) drink
Spaghetti with lean meatballs, bread, salad with low-fat dressing, and water or a sports (fluid replacement) drink
Consuming carbohydrates during exercise lasting longer than 60 minutes ensures that the muscles receive adequate amounts of energy, especially during the later stages of the competition or workout. Here are some guidelines to follow:
Consume 6-12 oz. of a sports drink with 6-8% carbohydrate concentration every 15-30 minutes during exercise. One gulp is about 2 oz.
Water is needed to aid in absorption of the carbohydrate. Drinks with a concentration greater than 10% are often associated with abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.
For high intensity activities, sports drinks and gels containing multiple forms of sugar can increase absorption and delivery of carbohydrates, but avoid energy drinks. They are not a substitute.
Take a cooler to all day events. Here are some recommendations on what to keep in that cooler.
|Baby carrots||7 carrots||0 grams||3 grams||0 grams|
|Breadsticks||1 stick (2 oz.)||6 grams||24 grams||4 grams|
|Celery||1 large stalk||0 grams||2 grams||0 grams|
|Cherry tomatoes||½ cup||0 grams||7 grams||1 gram|
|Chocolate milk (low-fat)||1 cup||2 grams||26 grams||8 grams|
|Cottage cheese (low-fat)||½ cup||1 gram||3 grams||14 grams|
|Dried fruit||1 package||1 gram||188 grams||7 grams|
|Sports drink||8 oz.||0 grams||14 grams||0 grams|
|Granola bar||1 bar||5 grams||43 grams||10 grams|
|Fresh fruit||1 piece or 1 cup||<1 gram||19 grams||3 grams|
|Ginger snaps||1 oz||3 grams||22 grams||2 grams|
|Hummus||¼ cup||5 grams||13 grams||3 grams|
|Meal replacement drink||1 can (11 fl. oz.)||3 grams||40 grams||10 grams|
|Nuts (mixed)||¼ cup||15 grams||7 grams||5 grams|
|Peanut butter||2 tbsp||16 grams||7 grams||8 grams|
|Pita bread (whole wheat)||1 pita||2 grams||35 grams||6 grams|
|Turkey sandwich (3 slices deli meat, low-fat mayo, 2 slices whole wheat bread)/ baby carrots||Turkey: 1 sliceMayo: 1 tbspBread: 1 sliceCarrots: 7||Turkey: 1 gram per sliceMayo: 5 gBread: 5 gCarrots: 0 g||Turkey: 0gMayo: 0gBread: 24gCarrots: 3g||Turkey: 5g per sliceMayo: 0gBread: 2gCarrots: <1g|
|Vanilla Wafers||4 wafers||10 grams||19 grams||<1 gram|
|Whole grain bagel||1 bagel (4 oz.)||1.5 grams||47 grams||11 grams|
|Whole grain cereal||1 cup||1 gram||47 grams||7 grams|
|Whole grain crackers||5 crackers||15 grams||11 grams||1 gram|
|Yogurt (non-fat)||8 oz.||0 grams||15 grams||11 grams|