- Build an optimal diet routine that supports day-to-day training.
- Define the health functions and sources of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Make a “super” meal plan that fits even the busiest athlete’s hectic lifestyle.
The optimal (not perfect) diet includes:
- Sufficient Calories
- Eating Frequently
- Breakfast should equal about 20-25% of your total daily calories along with some whole grain and 8 – 16 grams of protein.
- Eat every 2-3 hours for high energy levels and to be ready for your next workout.
- Time sugary food and drinks, protein, fat, and fiber carefully.
- 90 mins – 2 hrs before exercise stick to high carb, low fat foods.
- Thinking Simple!
- Start with basic food groups: fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy, and meats/eggs/beans.
- Look for foods with short ingredient lists.
Follow Niki’s 3-2 Rule: Include at least 3 food groups at every meal, 2 groups at every snack. The following is an example of what your meals and snacks could look like:
- Breakfast: Quinoa parfait (hot or cold) with plain low-fat yogurt, dried fruit and/or nuts
- Lunch: Whole grain penne pasta w/ crisp steamed broccoli, salmon fillet and drizzle of olive oil
- Snack: Red delicious apple sliced w/ peanut butter
- Dinner: Black beans, brown rice, canned petite diced tomatoes w/ chipotle spice in a whole grain tortilla
- Dessert: Blueberry Walnut Smoothie (1/4 cup plain non-fat yogurt, ½ cup milk, 1 frozen banana, ½ cup berries, 2 tbsp chopped walnuts, 1 cup spinach optional)
What are the following nutrients? How do I plan them in?
- Phytochemicals and Antioxidants – Compounds in plant foods that protect our body in 4 major ways:
- Act as anti-inflammatory agents decreasing our risk of chronic disease.
- Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, or toxic by-products, that lead to disease development and aging.
- Enhance immune function.
- Function as natural detoxifying agents.
- Best sources: Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fortified margarines (plant sterols and stanols)
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – A healthy fat that acts as an anti-inflammatory improving cardiovascular and mental health.
- Best sources: Salmon, Omega-3 eggs, walnuts, flax seed, chia seeds, canola oil
- Recommended intake: 500-1000 mg per day through supplemental, animal, or plant forms.
|Pre-workout: Banana, water, coffee||Pre-workout: Banana, water, coffee|
|Post-workout: 1 cup oatmeal with milk, brown sugar, coffee||Post-workout: 1 cup oatmeal w/ milk, cinnamon, 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts, 1/3 cup blueberries, coffee, water|
|Snack: Nutri-Grain™ Cereal bar with 8 oz apple juice||Snack: Carrots, broccoli, red pepper strips w/ garlic hummus, Green tea|
|Lunch: Iceberg lettuce salad w/ 3 oz chicken breast, raw veggies, and light ranch dressing, croutons||Lunch: Baby kale salad w/ 3 oz salmon, raw veggies, olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, 1 Tbsp chia seeds|
|Pre-workout: Nature Valley Granola bar, water or sports drink||Pre-workout: Nature Valley Granola bar, water or sports drink|
|Afternoon workout||Afternoon Workout|
|Post-workout: 16 oz LF Chocolate milk||Post-workout: 8 oz low-fat milk, 2 Tbsp dried cherries, 20 almonds|
|Dinner: Regular Spaghetti w/ marinara sauce, canned green beans, low-fat milk||Dinner: Whole grain pasta w/ black beans, diced tomatoes and olive oil, steamed asparagus, low-fat milk|
|Snack: Low-fat Ice cream||Snack: Low-fat Greek yogurt w/ fruit|