The importance of a healthy, nutritious diet from organic sources can’t be overstated for athletes and runners. When you power your body and mind with foods that are both nutritious and satisfying, you feel great mentally and physically and can excel in everything from school to sports to work. In this post, we’ll show you how eating a diet rich in lean protein, vegetables, and whole foods can help increase your performance!
Nutrition Basics to Keep You Winning
You want to excel at running, sports, and overall fitness, but to do that, you need energy! The fuel you give your body is incredibly important for your workouts and sporting events. Here are some basic tips to help you get the right nutrition for boosting stamina, endurance, and strength.
Try sticking to lean proteins that are low in saturated fat. Lean protein is very important for building muscle, so be sure your diet includes sources such as beans, fish, poultry without skin, or ground turkey.
Eat lots of veggies! They provide the nutrients you need for optimal health but are also rich in antioxidants that help prevent cellular damage.
Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, or olive oil will not only boost metabolism but can reduce the risk of heart disease and lower your blood cholesterol levels.
Lots of small meals spread throughout the day are better than several large meals. In other words, eat in moderation. You should eat a variety of foods as well. Too much of any certain food isn’t good for you, including healthy foods!
Eat nourishing whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, or oats instead of refined carbohydrates, which spike your blood sugar, make you crash, and leave you feeling worn out.
Get enough protein and calcium to get the most out of your workout — but don’t go overboard. A few servings a day will suffice. Limit sweets and sugars as these are linked with obesity and diabetes as well as an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Choose organic foods whenever possible. Organic foods are free of harmful substances that are used in conventional farming.
You don’t have to avoid dairy, but don’t overdo it. Consuming dairy products in excess can be inflammatory. When you do indulge, stick with healthy options like organic butter, cottage cheese, unsweetened Greek yogurt, and organic cheese.
Healthy Meals for Athletes
Balanced meals are the key to keeping the body healthy and in top shape. Here are a few meal ideas to help you fuel up for a day of training!
Nutritious Breakfast Ideas
- Oatmeal with some fruit or nuts added in
- Smoothie made with ricotta cheese, frozen berries, and almond milk
- Fruit toast with ricotta cheese or hummus
- Poached, scrambled, or boiled eggs with whole-grain toast and fresh fruit
- Whole wheat or rye toast with peanut butter and banana slices
- Homemade granola mixed into a bowl of yogurt with fresh fruit on top
- Oatmeal with almond milk, berries, and pumpkin seeds (add some honey if desired)
- Whole wheat toast, avocado, and tomato slices
- A ghee-fried egg on top of spinach leaves drizzled in olive oil with black pepper for seasoning
Healthy Lunch Ideas
- A salad that includes lean meats like chicken, tuna, or turkey, as well as a variety of vegetables such as carrots, fresh broccoli, and sliced cucumbers (add a small amount of cheese for flavor if desired)
- Tuna or egg salad with a side of veggies such as baby carrots, celery sticks, bell pepper strips, or cucumbers
- Whole wheat pita pockets stuffed with grilled chicken breast, grated carrot, and diced tomatoes
- Salad made of mixed greens, beans, olive oil, and vinegar dressing (add some lean meat if you prefer)
- Vegetable soup alongside a ham and cheese sandwich toasted on whole grain bread
- Brown rice or quinoa salad with roasted vegetables and lean meat (cold)
- Lentil soup, chicken breast, sweet potato, and banana
- Chicken salad on spinach with avocado and olives
Balanced Dinner Ideas
- Ground turkey burgers on whole wheat buns with sautéed mushrooms, onions, and peppers served alongside zucchini fries made of sliced zucchinis coated in egg white and almond flour
- Turkey burger with a whole wheat bun (or bunless) paired with steamed green beans
- Lean grilled chicken breast with brown rice and roasted asparagus spears
- Steak and sweet potato wedges
- Salmon with quinoa or brown rice and broccoli
- Burrito bowls with lean meat, brown rice, black beans, and veggies
- Grilled chicken breast with quinoa and broccoli
- Tuna in extra virgin olive oil with brown rice and a side of mixed veggies
- Whole wheat spaghetti with lean ground beef and marinara sauce
Healthy Snack Ideas
Don’t let yourself get hungry between meals, since those are usually the times when it’s most tempting to grab unhealthy foods because they’re quick and easy. Stay fit and healthy by trying the following:
- Greek yogurt with berries and honey
- Apple slices dipped in peanut butter or almond butter
- A handful of nuts or seeds
- Fruit salad with a sprinkle of nuts or homemade granola
- Carrot and celery sticks with hummus
- Cottage cheese with apple slices
- Natural trail mix made with dried fruit, nuts, and seeds (not sweetened granola mix)
- Oatmeal with almond milk and fruit
Find Your Organic Food Supplier
To make eating organic convenient, you’ll need to find a trustworthy supplier with prices that work for you. Take some time over the weekend or on your day off to visit the local organic farms or produce stands within a reasonable distance from your home. Local farms can be excellent sources of fruits and vegetables, organic eggs, natural poultry products, honey, and more.
Farmers’ markets are another great way to find your regular sources of organic foods. They allow you to browse many vendors in one place and get a feel for their products and prices before you buy.
Also, visit the websites of your local organic grocery stores and compare their prices. You may find that one of the larger stores is more affordable. On the other hand, you may be surprised that a smaller, family-owned store carries organic food at a better value. Whichever supplier you choose, know that every dollar you spend is an investment in your health and well-being.
Additional Tips for Eating To Win in Sports and Life
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Coffee, tea, and unsweetened (or sweetened with stevia) green/black teas can also be consumed in moderation. Avoid fruit juices because they’re high in fructose, which tends to spike blood sugar levels rapidly.
Avoid pizza, fatty beef burgers, fries, and fast food in general. Fast food is a low-nutrient, high-calorie food — think “fat food” because that’s what it is! Additionally, consider giving up refined sugar for good. Too much sugar can lead to mood swings, decreased willpower, and low energy, which affects performance in sports, endurance events, strength training, and overall mental clarity.
Other foods to avoid include white rice, white flour products such as pasta and bread, and white potatoes. Like sugar, these foods lead to insulin spikes, which is something that athletes and the general population alike don’t need. Instead, you want steady blood sugar levels that don’t soar and dip throughout the day, especially when you’re giving it 100% in a marathon or playing to win on the field.
You Are What You Eat
We all know deep down that the old saying “you are what you eat” seems to hold true, so make your food count! Consuming a healthy, organic diet can help improve your performance as an athlete. Of course, it’s important to eat well all the time, not just when you’re exercising, so you can feel your best and be mentally sharp each and every day. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us.