General Dietary Guidelines for Athletes

Evie Katahdin, ND, MSOM, LAc

My basic sports nutrition philosophy is that good fuel produces good performance. There are few tricks and shortcuts to achieving and maintaining optimal health, it all comes down to taking good care of ourselves.

The same rules apply to athletes as the rest of the general population in terms of good nutrition, but you get to eat more carbohydrates than they do.

Basic Guidelines:

Eat 6 small meals per day
Eat within an hour of waking
Have a serving of protein with every snack and meal
Eat more vegetables
Save the refined sugars for training (before, during, immediately after workouts)
Moderate alcohol and caffeine intake
If you work out twice in one day, consume carbs immediately following the first bout of exercise in order to replenish your muscles stores of glycogen

Nutrient Dense Foods:

Protein: Wild salmon, Organic meats such as turkey, chicken and beef, Soy such as tofu, edamame and powders, Beans, Raw nuts and seeds.
Carbohydrates: Whole grains such as barley, brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth. Try sprouted breads which are far more nutrient dense than traditional. Consciously choose to mix other grains in with or instead of wheat products.
Fats: From wild fish, nuts and seeds, supplements.
Vegetables: Varied and plentiful. Buy something new each time you shop, experiment. Most of what you eat should come from this category. Raw and lightly steamed are best.
Fruit: Depending on your constitution, keep it to 2-3 servings per day, and always consume with protein. Seek variety.

Whenever possible, choose organic foods for yourself and for your families. Across the board these selections are more nutrient dense and less laden with toxins than conventional foods. This is especially important when it comes to meats, dairy and certain fruits and vegetables.

As long as you don’t have high blood pressure, if you are training at a high level feel free to liberally salt your foods to maintain proper electrolyte balance.