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Eating for Athletes Karen LaFace, MD Cindy Milner, RDN, CSSD Photo credit: TableatNY

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Presentation on theme: "Eating for Athletes Karen LaFace, MD Cindy Milner, RDN, CSSD Photo credit: TableatNY"— Presentation transcript:

1 Eating for Athletes Karen LaFace, MD Cindy Milner, RDN, CSSD Photo credit: TableatNY

2 Big Picture Food is fuel WHAT should you eat? WHEN should you eat? Normal eating: what is it? What does not work?


4 Eating well as an athlete requires Eating often (4 or 5 times a day) Breakfast!!! Choosing whole foods Planning ahead Packing food Don’t underfuel Avoid empty calories

5 But I don’t have time! Yes, you do It doesn’t get easier! Establish healthy routines for life Plan ahead

6 Sugar, sugar, everywhere!

7 Fructose and HFCS Highly concentrated sweet compounds Found in nature (fruit), but packaged with water and fiber by Mother Nature Added to many foods (almost everything packaged) Does not cause fullness, linked to metabolic syndrome (obesity, high blood sugar, high fats in blood, diabetes)

8 Fruit is ok fructose because it comes in small amounts with fiber But in packaged foods it is concentrated and hidden: Sucrose, Fructose, High fructose corn syrup EAT WHOLE FOODS!!!

9 Supplements First and foremost: – Maximize nutrition; Appropriate training; Allow for recovery (rest and sleep!) Some supplements may be helpful for performance improvement BUT: – Seek guidance from healthcare provider or sports nutritionist, discuss with coach and parents – May contain contaminants (mercury, lead, caffeine, ephedra, steroids)


11 Take away points Healthy relationship with food Try to eat real food (whole foods) Eat often Don’t underfuel Plan ahead Avoid too much sugar/fructose

12 Food is Fuel Cars need gas for energy You need food for energy Athletes need carbs Photo credit: Simon Davison,

13 Athlete Scenario The day of a baseball game, I often feel nervous and sometimes skip lunch, only to feel hungry later. What foods can I eat and when should I eat to have enough energy to play well?

14 Pre-exercise Foods & Fluids 3–4 Hours Before Exercise Peanut butter & honey on toast + instant breakfast drink Fruit and yogurt smoothie + low-fat granola Oatmeal with brown sugar and almonds + skim milk + banana Low-fat cottage cheese + apple butter + crackers + fresh grapes Lean hamburger on bun with lettuce & tomato + side salad + yogurt-fruit parfait Turkey and Swiss sandwich + fruit + water Low-fat tuna melt sandwich + fruit cup + fat-free, low sugar yogurt

15 What to Avoid? High Fat High Fiber “Too Large” portions

16 Pre-exercise Foods & Fluids 30–60 Minutes Before Exercise Piece of fruit or jam sandwich ½ bagel, handful of animal crackers Water

17 Pre-Exercise Eating – Take Home Points Don’t experiment with foods and drinks on competition days Don’t skip meals on practice or competition days Avoid slow-digesting fat and LOTS of fiber pre- exercise

18 Athlete Scenario I usually feel good and perform well during the first half of practice but I struggle to keep up during the later part of practice. What can I eat and drink to feel good throughout the entire practice?

19 Hydration - During Exercise In general, for exercise shorter than 60 minutes – water is appropriate Strenuous, continuous exercise >60 minutes, eat/drink carb source such as small piece of fruit, sports drink, few pretzels, gels, Sports drinks for endurance Photo credit:

20 What about sports drinks, gels, etc? Not necessary for exercise <1 hour For prolonged, strenuous, continuous exercise they can provide quick carbohydrate readily accessible to your body (long soccer game or tennis match, long runs) Do not use to rehydrate when water is sufficient Lots of sugar: fructose without fiber

21 Athlete Scenario: The day after a hard track practice, my legs feel heavy, I feel sluggish, and I’m often sore. How can nutrition help me recover? Photo credit:

22 The Goals of Recovery Nutrition Restore fluid and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) lost in sweat Replace muscle fuel (carbohydrate) used during practice Provide protein to help repair damaged muscle tissue and make new muscle tissue

23 Recovery Nutrition - Timing Begin nutritional recovery within 15-60 minutes following practice or competition

24 Recovery Fluids and Snacks Low-fat milk Graham crackers with peanut butter + low-fat milk + banana Yogurt and fruit ½ turkey sandwich + handful of raisins Bars in a pinch, but whole foods are best

25 Recovery Meal Ideas Whole wheat pita sandwich with turkey and veggies + pretzels + low-fat milk Rice bowl with beans, cheese, salsa, avocado + whole grain tortilla chips or whole wheat tortilla Stir fry with lean steak, broccoli, bell peppers, carrots + brown rice

26 Quick Recovery Meal or Snack Ideas Sandwich (peanut butter, turkey, tuna, etc.) & fruit & pretzels Cottage cheese, English muffin, apple Wrap with non-fat refried beans, cheese and salsa & applesauce Canned chili on baked potato & broccoli spears (cooked from frozen) Yogurt and granola bar and banana

27 To Lose Weight Focus on health and performance, not weight Best done in the off-season Better to learn how to eat a generally healthy diet than to diet Thinnest athlete not necessarily the strongest or fastest athlete Adequate sleep

28 Breakfast! The most important meal of the day 2 lunches Dinner Eat often (about every 4 hours)

29 To Gain Weight Timing – eat regularly during the day High-calorie, energy dense foods – i.e. nuts, dried fruits, granola Liquid calories – i.e. smoothies, 1% milk, low- fat chocolate milk, Muscle Milk, Ensure, Boost More protein doesn’t mean more muscle Get enough sleep

30 Resource

31 Eat Well! Be Well! Play Well!

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