No one understands the importance of a good diet better than professional athletes, who rely on their bodies to function at peak performance.
Athletes need to eat more food than non-athletes, but that does not mean filling up on junk. You can’t put gasoline in a diesel vehicle and expect it to run any more than you can expect an athlete to perform well when they’re fueled with simple carbs and sugar.
Continue reading to learn what foods to avoid when eating an athlete’s diet to improve performance, lose weight, or stay in shape.
5 Foods to Avoid When Eating an Athlete’s Diet
Many athletes prefer to have their fitness meals delivered so they do not need to think about meal planning or shopping. If you prefer to plan and cook your own meals, try to avoid the following five foods.
#1: Diet Soda
Completely devoid of any nutritional value, diet soda offers nothing in an athlete’s diet. The artificial sweeteners found in diet soda increase your chances of gaining weight as well as other health problems. If you really crave a sweet drink, choose one with natural sugar and drink in moderation.
#2: Nutrition Bars
Although the name “nutrition bar” would make you think these are a healthy food for athletes that could not be farther from the truth. It does not matter if you choose a snack, energy, or protein bar. Most nutrition bars contain added fats and sugars.
If you munch on a nutrition bar without working out or after light exercise, it can cause you to gain weight instead of muscle. Avoid eating snack bars stuffed with dried fruit, nuts, or chocolate, which increase the sugar content.
#3: Pre-Flavored Yogurt
Another convenient meal that packs on the pounds, pre-flavored yogurts always come with tons of extra sugar. The ones with granola or fruit-at-the-bottom usually have the most. Blood sugar spikes will prevent you from getting lean and often lead to more binging.
Choose plain Greek yogurt instead. Then add on your own topping to keep the calories down.
#4: Individual Oatmeal Packets
The differences between instant oats and whole, rolled oats make no difference here. They offer the same nutritional content.
The problem with oatmeal packs lies, again, with the amount of added sugar. Cook your own plain instant oatmeal and top it with your preferred flavorings.
#5: Bottled Salad Dressing
Vegetables do not lose their nutritional value when you cover them in salt, sugar, or fat. However, you still get all the extra calories from those additions. The same applies to the salad dressing you choose for your healthy noontime meal.
Most bottled salad dressings come with unnecessary sugars, fats, and/or creams that sabotage your healthy eating plan. They contain chemicals, preservatives, and processed oils not found in homemade dressing. If you do want to buy a bottled salad dressing, choose ones with an olive oil and vinegar base and add your own herbs or spices.
Find the Best Helpful Tips for Triathletes
Staying healthy by following an athlete’s diet will improve your energy and performance in a matter of weeks. It will make you feel better while playing and allow you to recover quicker after a game or competition.
Interested in learning some more great tips and tricks regarding how to stay healthy as a triathlete? Check out the Triathlon blog with tons of informative articles on how to master your workouts and learn more about healthy food for athletes.