Believe it or not, great nutrition is the key to a killer body. Food is fuel – it’s what keeps our bodies functioning! When you fuel your body with high quality foods you become stronger, more efficient, and more energized.
Fuel your day, and workout, with these 7 superfoods to help improve performance and speed up recovery time.
7 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat
Athletes need sustained energy to fuel intense trainings. This secret superfood [pronounced KEEN-wah] contains 13.1g of protein per serving and provides 8 amino acids that the body requires. Complex carbs (like quinoa) are absorbed slowly, offering the body a steady supply of energy. Looking for a tasty and easy quinoa recipe? Try my yummy Cheese & Veggie Quinoa Bites.
Bananas are the perfect pre-workout high carb snack straight from nature. Bananas are high in potassium, which is important in balancing electrolytes and may protect you from getting muscle cramps. Before hitting the gym, snack on a banana and peanut butter. The natural sugar will offer a quick pick-me-up to inspire you to lace up your sneakers and head out the door.
These underrated starches are high potassium and the antioxidant beta carotene, both of which promote muscle recovery. Sweet potatoes are excellent sources of manganese and copper – nutrients that are essential for healthy muscle function. Fuel up with sweet potatoes a couple of hours before a workout or post-workout to replace lost electrolytes. Power up with delicious homemade sweet potato fries.
Beans are a powerful trio of fiber rich carbs, protein, and antioxidants. Carbs fuel your workout while protein and antioxidants promote muscle recovery. A half-cup serving offers 11g of protein and 7g of fiber. Add them to salads, soups, burritos, or salsa. Enjoy your beans a few hours before or after a workout since the high fiber content makes them difficult to digest.
Yogurt packs a powerful punch of protein and a high dose of calcium to keep muscles and bones strong. Feeling drained after a long or intense run? Protein is essential for post-workout recovery and Greek yogurt is a great snack option. Bonus: yogurt may promote fat loss, especially in the tummy area.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed can ease joint pain and decrease inflammation in the body — just what athletes need! Flaxseed is an excellent source of fiber which can prevent digestive pains and issues while training. Sprinkle some on your oatmeal or bake up a batch of almond and flaxseed granola.
Athletes have a higher blood volume than most which makes their iron stores deplete faster. The body also loses iron through sweating. An iron deficiency equals zero energy to train. Keep your levels up by eating lean beef, one of the best sources of complete iron. Not into meat? Get your iron in veggie form with soybeans, pumpkin, swiss chard, collard greens, oatmeal, and lentils.