Food Suggestions for Traveling Athletes
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Food Suggestions for Traveling Athletes

By Andrea Holwegner, Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc.

Are you an athlete that travels for training or competing? Then this article is for you! Read on to get the facts on eating well on the road…

The Challenges

  • Someone else plans the menu
  • Unknown cooking methods
  • Larger portions than often eaten at home which can contribute to extra calories
  • Often high-fat – particularly saturated/trans fats which have a negative effect on heart health
  • Often high-sodium
  • Often missing: fruits & veggies; calcium rich foods such as dairy/soy; higher fibre choices
  • Sometimes unbalanced meals

The Goals

  • Overall nutrition goals for traveling athletes include a diet rich in carbohydrates, adequate in protein, and low in fat. Drink plenty of fluids!
  • Contains the 3 components of a balanced meal (see below)
  • Lower in saturated/trans fat for your heart
  • Nutrient dense – considers choices rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre.
  • Lower in added sugars
  • Reasonable portion size for you

Build Balanced Meals

  • Regardless if you are eating at home or eating out, strive for the 3 components of a balanced meal:
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Supper should consist of 3 things:
    • Grain/Starch: bread, pasta, rice, potato, cereal etc.
    • Vegetables and/or Fruit: fresh/frozen veggies, fresh fruit, dried/canned fruit, fruit juice, tomato/vegetable juice
    • Protein Source: meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, eggs, soy product, legumes, nuts, nut butter
  • Grains/starches and veggies/fruits supply your brain and muscles with energy so you will be able to focus/concentrate throughout your day and have the muscle stores needed to train your best.
  • Why Protein in a Meal? Carbohydrates (grains/starches, vegetables/fruit, sweets) are digested quickly and protein in a meal keeps you full longer because it is digested slowly. Protein is also important in improving muscle/tissue repair post workout and for healthy immune function.
  • Having a veggie and/or fruit at each meal makes sure you will eat enough by the end of the day and will keep the calories of your meals down.

Top Breakfast Picks:

  • Hot/cold cereal with milk; fresh fruit; cheese
  • Yogurt with muesli; dried fruit and nuts
  • Toast; scrambled eggs; juice
  • Cottage cheese or cheese; fresh/canned fruit; low fat bran muffin
  • Pancakes/waffles; back bacon; fresh fruit
  • Breakfast burrito: scrambled eggs with salsa, cheese, green peppers, mushrooms, and onions rolled in a tortilla/wrap.
  • Protein shake, dried fruit bar, granola bar

Top Lunch/Supper Picks:

  • Sandwich with whole wheat bread and mustard (skip added mayonnaise/butter); ham/chicken/turkey/pastrami/roast beef/corned beef/tuna/egg; vegetable soup or salad; fresh fruit
  • Pasta with meat sauce; salad with vinaigrette; fresh fruit salad
  • Beef/pork/turkey/chicken cooked with minimal fat; rice/potato prepared with minimal fat; steamed veggies prepared with minimal fat; canned/fresh fruit
  • Stew/soup with lean meat, veggies, potatoes; whole wheat buns; fresh fruit
  • Salad with pizza with ham/back bacon/chicken/shrimp; veggies such as green peppers, mushrooms, onions, olives, tomatoes; cheese
  • Chili served over rice or with a bun, side salad
  • Grilled chicken breast or lean hamburger on a bun with lettuce, tomato, onions and a side salad.

Top Snack Attacks:

  • Piece of fresh fruit and yogurt
  • Dried fruit (such as apricots, raisins, cranberries, apples, prunes) and nuts
  • Dried fruit bar and glass of milk
  • Yogurt and muesli/granola
  • Canned fruit or applesauce cup and a handful of almonds
  • Crackers and Cheese
  • Hot cocoa made with milk, latte or steamer
  • Chocolate milk or flavored soy milk and banana
  • Raw Veggies and Dip – try carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, green/red peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower etc.
  • V8, tomato, or clamato juice and a wedge of cheese
  • GORP – Good old raisins and peanuts
  • Cottage Cheese with sliced apples/pears and cinnamon
  • Granola bar, cereal Bar, or sports bar with an unsweetened juice box
  • High-fibre muffin and glass of milk
  • Hot or cold cereal and milk
  • Toast and peanut butter
  • Flavored dessert tofu
  • Smoothie (for recipe see recipes section)
  • Homemade energy bar (for recipe see recipes section)
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