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Five Eating Habits to Boost A Player's Game

Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2007 by Amanda Carlson, M.S., R. D.

Nutrition Secret #1:
Come back to earth
Select the least processed forms of food (especially carbohydrates) possible. In other words, if the label reads like an organic chemistry textbook, it's probably filled with unwanted additives and preservatives. Minimally processed foods have more nutrients, extra fiber and provide stable energy to your working muscles, says Carlson. Choose foods with at least four grams of dietary fiber per serving. So, when you have the option of 100-percent whole wheat or white, pick 100-percent whole wheat. Brown rice or white?go brown,? says Carlson.

Nutrition Secret #2:
The less legs the better
When choosing protein sources, you want foods with high protein and low fat. Typically the fewer legs on the animal where the protein cam from, the better the protein source, recommends Carlson. Fish, sans legs, is your ultimate protein source. Chicken or turkey (two legs) is another good option, as long as you remove the skin and keep it out of the deep fryer, says Carlson. Just be selective when eating beef or pork (four legs). Go for 96-percent lean ground beef or ground chuck; skim milk over 2-percent milk; a pork chop over bacon,? says Carlson.

Nutrition Secret #3:
3 for 3
You need all three nutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) every three hours to maintain your energy and keep your muscle mass up, says Carlson. No excuses, you must eat five to eight meals per day.

Nutrition Secret #4:
Get hydrated
Drink one half oz. to one oz. of water per pound per day, says Carlson. ?So if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be drinking at least 100 ounces of water daily. And stay away from sugary drinks and sodas. Reach for 100-percent fruit juice if you need a break from water, as long as you count juice as a carbohydrate portion.

Sports drinks are designed to enhance performance on the field by providing calories and replacing fluid and electrolytes lost during and after practices or games. Otherwise, water is your best choice.

Nutrition Secret #5:
Food first, supplement second
A quality nutritional supplement is intended to compliment, not replace, a well-rounded diet.

Establish sensible eating habits first, then incorporate a protein shake or energy bar,? says Carlson. ?Supplements are not magic fairy dust; they are simply the icing on the cake of great foundational nutrition habits.? Focus on quantity (portion control), quality (low fat/unprocessed) and frequently (eat every three hours).

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