5 Simple Steps for Eating to Maximize Athletic Performance

Make Good Food Choices

Good food choices are important to support anyone in terms of health, cognitive function and physical performance and is especially important for athletic growing children and young adults. Choices should include a wide variety of colorful foods from each of the four food groups.

Listed below are 5 simple steps for eating to maximize athletic performance:

  1. Eat meals at least 2 hours before events. Choose foods that are higher in carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  2. Avoid eating high-fat foods such as hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries, potato chips, donuts and cheese before an activity. Higher fat foods take longer to digest and may cause discomfort if eaten too close to the start of practice or competition.
  3. Avoid sugary foods, such as soda and chocolate bars, right before practice or a game. They contain a short-lived source of energy. Empty calorie foods high in sugars contain little or no nutrients which equals poor performance in the long run.
  4. After competition we need to rebuild muscle and restore energy sources (carbohydrates) and water. Choosing nutrient dense foods will help the body recover. Poor choices will slow recovery and result in poor performance in future practices and competitions.
  5. Stay hydrated. Be sure to replace fluids during and after exercise. Keep a water bottle with you at all times.