Athletes eat healthy to perform their best

Different sports, different people, different calorie intake, different meal plans. Every sport requires a different diet for their athletes. According to Live Strong, females should eat about 1,800-2,400 calories a day and males should eat 2,200-3,200 calories a day depending on the level of activity, even though a golfer may not need as many calories as a football player..

“My diet changes between volleyball and basketball season,” senior Grace Turner said. “I am more cautious of what I eat during basketball season because I know I will be running more.” Turner plays volleyball year-round and basketball during the winter season. “I mostly eat chicken for protein, pasta for carbs, and a lot of fruits and vegetables,” Turner said. “During season, I drink a lot of fruit juices, chocolate milk, and beet juice to reduce inflammation.”

According to Stack and Healthy For Good, every athlete should be eating sweet potatoes, oatmeal, bananas, oranges, nuts, olive oil, salmon, flax seeds, whey protein, tuna, eggs, and coconut oil:

  • Sweet potatoes, oranges, and nuts have vitamins and minerals in them to fuel the body with mandatory nutrients.
  • Oatmeal, bananas, and sweet potatoes are carbs that give long lasting energy. Carbs are great to eat the night before a big game or race.
  • Salmon, flax seeds, whey protein, eggs, and nuts contain high protein. Proteins are important to athletes because it provides energy and builds muscles stronger.
  • Olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, and egg yolks contain fats. Fats are needed to give the body energy and to absorb more nutrients. However, fats should be eaten in moderation because the fat that athletes don’t burn stores in the body, leading to weight gain. Olive oil includes monounsaturated fats that benefit athletes that put stress on their bodies.
  • Nuts, oatmeal, and flax seeds are also high in fiber, which assists in maintaining muscle while still burning fats.

During the offseason between volleyball and lacrosse, sophomore Ellie Rudolph said she ate whatever she wanted and didn’t care much about what she put into her body. “I ate a lot of fries and chicken nuggets,” Rudolph said. “But now that I’m in lacrosse, I’ve been eating protein bars, sandwiches, avocados, eggs, apples, and drinking more water to hydrate.” Earlier in the year, Rudolph went dairy-free to reduce bloating and skin break outs. “I was eating vegetables and drinking fruit smoothies every second of the day,” Rudolph said. “I was constantly reading food labels, and I came to the realization that butter is in everything!” Rudolph was dairy-free for a month before she realized she was missing out on important nutrients like calcium, potassium, protein, and vitamins.

Junior Thomas McDermott maintains the same diet throughout football, track, and the offseason. “I eat less junk food during football season, and I eat more pasta during track season,” McDermott said. “I drink a lot of protein shakes during both seasons.” He said he tries to eat nutritious foods and avoid soda.

Many professional athletes plan their entire day of eating so they don’t miss out on important nutrients. This meal planning ensures athletes are getting the proper amount of each food group and keeping away from junk food. “Eating a meal that is, in general, 60-70% carbohydrates, 15-25% protein, and less than 20% fats are always good,” McNick’s health and PE teacher, Cheryl Heise said. “Your body needs fresh, natural sources to work at its best.”

SF Gate Healthy Eating recommends some meals that athletes could be eating:

Medium bowl of pasta, 2-3 pieces of grilled chicken, topped with some grated cheese.


(photo courtesy of Thibeault’s Table)

2 bagels, with low-fat cream cheese, topped with smoked salmon.


(photo courtesy of My Recipes)

Low-fat yogurt topped with bananas, strawberries, and almonds could be a healthy snack.


(photo courtesy of Pinterest)

Eating fresh and healthy foods will provide all the nutrients necessary to be the best athlete possible. Having proper nutrient is very important for athletes, and for not as athletic people. “People need to pay attention to what they are putting in their bodies,” Heise said. A healthier diet can lead to a happier life.


healthy jill
Sophomore Jillian Vogler eats a healthy lunch to prepare for her track meet. She ate quinoa, a protein bar, apples, an orange, and drank a bottle of water.

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