Diet for sportsman
All professional athletes and sports personalities need to keep a close check on what they eat and drink on a daily basis. This is because everything that they eat and drink eventually has a major effect on their performance in the sport’s arena. Hence their bodies require a healthy blend of all the essential nutrients that can boost their energy levels. Before setting up a diet for a sportsman or sportswoman, factors, like age, gender, physical fitness and the type of sport need to be considered carefully. Although athletes that belong to different fields have different types of nutritional needs, based on the type of sports they are involved in, there are a few basic and common criteria that can suit almost all sports personalities.
Hence, there are a few basic guidelines that could be followed, while setting up or following a diet for a sportsman.
One of the most basic principles of nutrition for a sportsman is consuming foods that contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber and carbs. Foods that are high in calories, but low in nutrients should be strictly avoided in a diet for a sportsman. Hence junk food, fried foods, processed foods, aerated drinks, sweets and other items that contain sugar, should be strictly avoided by most sportsmen. Instead, a healthy diet for a sportsman should include foods that can help increase stamina and energy. A high consumption of such foods can also help reduce the risks of sustaining a sports-related injury to a great extent.
Given below are a few tips that should be kept in mind, while setting up a meal plan for a sportsman or woman:
• It is best to consume smaller meals at frequent intervals throughout the day, instead of eating three large meals. Missing meals should be strictly avoided, especially breakfast, which is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast should be the heaviest meal, followed by a morning snack, lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, evening snack and dinner. Dinner should be the lightest meal of the day and should consist of mainly soup, salad, grilled meat, whole wheat bread and other foods that are low in fat and calories.
• While milk is an excellent source of calcium and Vitamin A, it is also high in fat. Therefore, athletes should consume mainly skim milk or other low fat dairy products. Eating plain yogurt is better than the flavored one and is an excellent option for an evening snack. For athletes that drink milk shortly before a sports event, skim milk is the best option.
• Contrary to the common belief, athletes can eat rice. However, white rice is best eaten during lunch and that too if it is accompanied by a sauce that is low in fat. In a diet for a sportsman brown rice can make a healthy option for dinner.
• Foods that are high in sugar and caffeine can give the body a boost, which is only temporary in nature. These foods can cause the energy levels to dip after a while, which results in weakness and fatigue. In fact the consumption of beverages that contain caffeine has also been associated with dehydration, as most sportsmen tend to perspire, when they are engaging in physical activity. This can have an adverse effect on the performance of any sports personality.
• There are several sports drinks of good brands that promise to increase the levels of endurance in most people, especially sports personalities. These drinks are great for improving the overall health as well as the performance levels of most athletes. However, several of these drinks are very high in sugar. Therefore, before choosing any brand, it is important to read the label carefully.
There are several recipes for a sportsman that can easily found through online resources and cookbooks. However, before setting up or following a diet for a sportsman, it is absolutely essential to consult a fitness trainer, as well as a dietician.