What Should Athletes Eat And What To Watch For

Nutrition information for athletes and for health conscious people is very important. Eating fresh vegetables, fruits and proteins most of the time is an ideal worth striving for. Good  supplements  use may also be helpful.

For those times when manufactured products like protein powders and other packaged articles need to be used there is one action that should be taken when deciding on which food products to buy:

 

Read Nutrition facts labels

athletes need to read nutrition facs labels

 

You can never know all the ingredients contained in what you eat. However,  it’s very good idea to look at the nutrition facts labels on food products that have them. Then you can make an informed decision whether to buy and use them.

It’s very easy to choose foods based on what they look like since some packaging is very appealing. But packaging is not what you eat.

It gets more difficult when you want to find something that is also good for you.

Nutrition facts labels may not seem like good reading when they reveal the truth about something you really enjoy eating.

But you will want to read them to make sure you are not ingesting frequently and on a regular basis something that you know is bad for your health and for your athletic performance.

Ingredients labels can be especially important to read if you’re trying to avoid or minimize certain substances like sodium, trans fatty acids and refined high glycemic index carbohydrates.

young athletes in action athletic food break

It’s also important to read nutrition facts labels correctly, because they list the nutrients of foods per serving.

Food packages almost always contain more than one serving. It makes sense for food packaged intended for a family or a group of people.

It can be misleading when it comes to snack packs and beverages.

Who eats part of a snack bag or drinks only part of a bottle, saving the rest for later?

Why don’t they just make one serving bags and bottles?

If it’s because they would be too small, that’s probably a food or drink you want to avoid.

large drinks athletes may want to avoid

Nutrition facts labels also usually pertain to a 2000 calorie diet. So what the nutrition facts mean to you will depend on how you eat or how you should eat.

They will list the number of calories per serving but if you eat the entire contents that consisted of 2 servings you’re actually eating twice the calories listed. This goes for all of the nutrients in the food.

Nutrition facts labels are a good guide, but they’re not always completely factual.

Take Ingredients Labels With A Grain Of Salt

Nutrition facts labels are now required to list the amount of trans fats in the contents.

You will often see products loudly proclaiming that they have zero trans fats but that may be deceptive.

In reality food products manufacturers are allowed to list 0 grams of trans fats on their labels as long as the amount is under 1 g per serving.

So if you eat several servings, it can easily add up to a significant amount of trans fats which is far from zero.

Nutrition information is never one hundred per cent accurate.

When using manufactured, prepackaged and processed foods the ingredients labels are all we can go by. Athletes and everybody who cares about their health need to read them.

When it comes to natural foods, deciding whether something is healthy is pretty straight forward.

Athletes, whether young, developing or at their peak levels as well as healthy conscious people should always strive to eat healthy, natural and fresh foods combined into a healthy diet menu.

When the need to use manufactured products arises as it occasionally will, nutrition information for athletes and anyone else can and should be gleaned from reading nutrition facts labels.

 

Healthy Eating Diets

Talking about healthy eating diets, we’ve all been there, done that. We cheated because of the temptations of fast foods, chocolates and many other things considered as a breach of good dieting conduct.  However following a healthy eating plan, combined with some basic regular exercise is the key to a longer and healthier life. Here are some ideas and tips to get on and stick to a healthy plan.

The Key Is Balanced Diet Menu

The human body has some standard minimum nutritional requirements that need to be fulfilled every day. Here are the standard figures for all the nutrients to help you know whether or not you are following a balanced diet menu:

Carbohydrates

Recommended Intake: It is recommended that you obtain 45-65% of your daily calorie intake from carbohydrates.

Sources Of Carbohydrates

Whole grains, beans, legumes, nutrient-rich fruits, milk, corn, and other foodstuff made from sugar are all rich sources of carbohydrates. Limit your sugar intake from candy and other sweet products.

Protein

Recommended Intake:It is recommended that 10-35% of your daily calorie intake should be obtained from proteins.

Sources Of Protein

Protein is found in many plant as well as animal sources. Legumes, nuts and seeds, poultry, meat and dairy products as well as sea-food are rich sources of proteins.

Fat

Recommended Intake:It is recommended that you should obtain 20-35% of your daily calorie intake from fats. However you have to limit your saturated fat intake to 10% and the intake of trans fat should not exceed 1%.

Fat Sources

Nuts and oils like canola oil and olive oil are sources of good fats whereas saturated fat is found in coconut oil, red meat, poultry and butter. The sources of trans fats are crackers, cookies, chips, doughnuts, and many other fried or baked snacks.

Cholesterol

Recommended Intake: It is recommended that your daily cholesterol intake should not exceed 300 milligrams.

Cholesterol Sources

Common sources of cholesterol are meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy products.

Fiber

Recommended Intake: The daily fiber requirement varies according to gender. The daily recommended fiber intake for males is 30-38 grams where as for women it is 21-25 grams.

Sources Of Fiber 

Vegetables, wheat bran, other whole grain, oats, dried beans, fruits like apples and oranges are rich sources of fiber. Fiber prevents constipation and helps to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Eating Healthy For Weight Loss

Healthy diet for weight loss will not make you starve. It will lead to overall health and fitness of the body. Here are some basic rules to follow in a healthy eating plan:

Avoid Junk food

junk food and soft drinks do not form good diets

Potato chips, ice-cream, biscuits, pastries, milk shakes, pizzas need to be avoided. In case it is impossible for you to totally give up the junk food, try cutting it down slowly until you are confident enough that you can live without it. Try to think of healthier substitutes in the fast food section. For example if you feel like having a tempting pizza on the go, pick a whole-wheat pizza instead of the regular one. In case you feel you cannot resist the temptation, have your favorite fast food once a week but in moderation. Avoid eating too much cheese every day, try and restrict/lower the usage of cheese in your food.

Drink Pure Water

drinking pure water is important in any weight loss program

There is a large number of people who are simply addicted to soft drinks. Diet soda is another popular option that people feel helps them in reducing the calorie intake. Even if diet soda might be less on the calorie count than the regular soda, some recent studies have suggested that drinking any type of soda results in obesity and can also lead to other health problems. Make sure you avoid soda, and have healthier options like fresh fruit juice , skimmed milk, lemonade or pure water. Drinking clean, pure water is one of the essentials in any healthy eating plan.

 

Vegetarian Diet Option

Although many people do not believe that a vegetarian diet is sufficient on the nutrition meter,  vegetarian diet has plenty of healthy and delicious substitutes for the nutrients provided by meat and other non-vegetarian sources. A diet with fresh vegetables, fruits and nuts, and other foodstuff like tofu, is not only delicious but can be a great healthy option for a healthy eating plan. For all the people who are hardcore non-vegetarians, and just can’t do away with meat, make sure you don’t overdo the meat intake and balance it out with sufficient number of vegetables and fresh fruits. To keep the meat intake in moderation try incorporating meat substitutes like tofu in your diet.

 Healthy Weight Loss Lifestyle

No healthy diet or eating plan will truly work unless supplemented by a regular fitness regime. Burning calories is of utmost importance for a healthy lifestyle and weight loss and for maintaining perfect weight. Make sure you work out for a minimum of 30 minutes every day. Try walking, rebounder exercise, aerobics, yoga, swimming, dancing or any physical activity that you like. A good workout every day will definitely improve your health and help you create a healthy lifestyle.

Long Term Success In Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy lifestyle cannot be limited to a week, a month, or a year. Always aim for long term and permanent fitness. Eating healthy needs to be done regularly; only then will it help you. Practicing a healthy diet for a few weeks and then switching to a drastically unhealthy diet will harm you. You need to be determined and focused on your fitness and follow a healthy eating diet rigorously.

By Uttara Manohar
Published: 2/20/2008

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