Elite athletes understand the importance of proper sports nutrition. They constantly fine tune their diets to gain a metabolic edge over opponents. High school athletes should do the same, but this can prove difficult in an era where vending machines seem to fill every corridor of every school in the country.
Teenage sports stars who are prepared to sacrifice unhealthy snacks and commit to a diet made for an athlete must peer down at their plates with caution and navigate the world using a few key sports nutrition guidelines.
go for unrefined grains
Coaches and nutritionists have long touted the benefits of complex carbohydrates. And, according to Men’s Health, athletes do indeed need their starch. This doesn’t mean high school basketball players or runners should dive head first into a bowl of fettuccine alfredo before every event. Instead, turn to healthier grains like quinoa. One cup of the stuff contains 8 grams of protein and tons of amino acids, reported Outside Magazine. It’s versatile too. You can pair quinoa with spices and honey for breakfast or stick it on a dinner plate next to some lean protein.
dodge processed food
Air-packed snacks are obviously a no-no, but so are convenient all-in-one meals like canned soup. Sealed, heat-and-eat food – even the kind that resembles home-cooked fare – normally contains high amounts of sodium, reported Men’s Fitness.
“Some soups are so processed and high in sodium that it trumps over the health benefits,” registered dietician Jim White told the magazine. “I would opt for low-sodium or homemade instead.”
“Air-packed snacks are obviously a no-no.”
stick to real water
Sports drinks are, of course, legendary within high school athletics circles. Unfortunately, these colorful, vitamin-enriched beverages carry few benefits for athletes and anyone else who decides to drink them. Most contain around 30 grams of sugar per bottle.