Smart Food Choices

Sports Nutrition

A well-balanced diet containing appropriate amounts of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) is essential to provide enough energy for growth and activity. Fluids are also essential for hydration to support growth and athletic performance

Victoria Middleton

Victoria Middleton

RD
Registered Dietitian
New York City, NY
Yumna Khan

Yumna Khan

RD
Registered Dietitian
Burlington, ON
Margarita deGraaf

Margarita deGraaf

RD
Registered Dietitian
Burlington, ON

Stefanie Senior, BSc., Registered Dietitian, discusses Meal Planning For Maximum Energy During Sport.

Quiz: Do You Understand Sports Nutrition?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:

Questions
True
False
1

Carbohydrates are the preferred energy source for the body.

Explanation:
Carbohydrates are the only nutrient that is converted into glucose as soon as it is digested. You should be eating carbohydrates throughout your training, leading up to a competition and on the day of so that your body has sustained energy.
2

Your body needs protein after a workout, in order to repair the muscle that you're breaking down from training or competing.

Explanation:
Protein helps to repair and rebuild the muscle that you're breaking down from exercise. Eat chicken, fish or lean steaks or look to vegetarian protein sources such as beans and tofu.
3

The two main nutrients you want to consume before a workout are carbohydrates and lipids.

Explanation:
Lipids are fats, and may make you feel sluggish or bloated. You want to consume carbohydrates and protein before a workout. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy., and are found in foods such as whole-wheat toast, low-fat yogurt, fruits and vegetables. Protein helps repair muscles that are broken down during exercise, so reach for snacks such as peanut butter, eggs and tuna.
4

Try to eat three big meals during the day to keep your energy levels consistent.

Explanation:
Assure adequate timing by getting up in advance in the morning to make sure that your food is digested. Eat every few hours throughout the day and within 30 minutes of your workout or competition to immediately start the refueling process. Try to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to keep your energy levels consistent.
5

Playing sports can benefit your mental health as well as your physical health.

Explanation:
Exercise reduces cortisol (stress hormone) levels and causes your body to release endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that relieve stress. Regular exercise may also reduce depression symptoms.
(Answer all questions to activate)

Nanci Guest, MSc, RD, CSCS, Registered Dietitian, discusses Sports Injuries and Diet – Consider Foods With Anti-Inflammatory Properties.

Meal Planning For Maximum Energy During Sports

Well, one of the most important things is timing, and so a lot of athletes hesitate to get up too early before their event because they are nervous of being tired during their event and to eat a substantial breakfast.

And so they may rely on something quick and simple before they head out for their event. Ideally you actually want to eat something three to four hours before an event, and that’s not always realistic.

But if you have the time to do that you definitely want to make sure that you’re consuming a meal or large snack that is focusing on carbohydrate. So that could be oatmeal, that could be a muesli type cereal, that could be a Sparta grain bread, another type of low sugar but high carbohydrate breakfast cereal, fruit is a great, and then you want to make sure that it is low in fat, low in fiber, and then moderate in protein.

So you could have depending on the timing of the meal you could add some eggs or have some Greek yogurt or cottage cheese something higher in protein. But that shouldn’t be the basis of your meal. It should more be a garnish to your pre-event meal.

So if you’re looking at the snack right before, you want to make sure it’s something that is easy to digest, and that you are going to be able to absorb to benefit from it during your event. So that would be a quick-acting carbohydrate, so that could be something like a banana or a sports drink.

So for a detailed sports nutrition plan that outlines what to consume before an event, contact a local dietitian to help you out.

Presenter: Stefanie Senior, Registered Dietitian, Toronto, ON

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

Lauren K. Williams, M.S., Registered Dietitian, discusses travel nutrition for athletes over 50.

Travel Nutrition for Adult Athletes

For adults, it’s important to plan ahead before you leave for your athletic competition.

Whether it be by bus, by airplane or just driving to a different city for a competition that day, make sure to pack a cooler full of snacks. Even if you don’t think you’re gonna need that much, great things to pack such as hard-boiled eggs, an excellent source of protein, low-fat cottage cheese.

For your carbohydrate sources, things like whole grain breads, so sandwiches are an excellent option. Also fruits and veggies. Again, apples and oranges and bananas don’t need a lot of refrigeration, so they’re an excellent source of your good carbohydrates to pack for that competition. Also things like yogurt and pairing some berries with that before your competition are very easy to travel with.

During your competition for those adult athletes, making sure again, you’re replenishing your electrolytes and your carbohydrates throughout that competition. Grapes and oranges are excellent. These are gonna be better options than things like cookies or candy, things that are really high in that refined sugar.

Avoid high fat and high fiber foods pre-competition and during competition as this will delay digestion, and you wanna make sure that you’re getting those energy stores very quickly into your body to be able to use them.

Post-competition, again, same concepts. The carbohydrates and protein are important for energy, as well as muscle repair. Focus on water or sports drinks or diluted fruit juices. Try to avoid caffeinated beverages like pops, teas, coffee as well as alcohol as this will delay the recovery process in your body. Making sure you’re getting that adequate nutrition before you have other types of food.

Restaurant options, again, either pre-game or post-game, look for something like a deli that you can actually make your own sandwich that way you get to pick and choose what’s going onto your sandwich, making sure it’s healthy options, or a salad bar is an excellent option as well. Grocery stores also have great options there, so you can eat like you do when you’re at home.

For more information on the traveling athlete tips for the adult, contact your local sports nutritionist or your local registered dietitian with a sports expertise.

Presenter: Ms. Lauren K. Williams, Registered Dietitian, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

Lauren K. Williams, M.S., Registered Dietitian, discusses travel nutrition for adult athletes.

Lauren K. Williams, M.S., Registered Dietitian, discusses weight control for athletes.

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