I am finally getting the chance to post the Nutrition information that I went over at the parents' meeting! I will can also send a hard copy home with the athletes before this competition season begins (if you would like a hard copy, please send me a quick email). If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask! Please be aware that I am not an expert on this topic. I am just taking the information that I have received through courses in my Sports Injury Therapy Diploma, my Level 4 coaching course, suggestions from Christine Ng (a nutritionist) and my own personal experiences as a competitive athlete.
For all young athletes, growth will be compromised if energy intake is insufficient. Their bodies require energy for both growth and training. If an athlete is undernourished, they will be tired most of the time and won't have enough energy to recover properly from trainings. They may show a loss of motivation to train or compete, have inconsistent performances; chronic fatigue and an inability to gain desired weight or weight loss are other indicators of an energy deficit.
Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating for Athletes
WHOLE GRAIN PRODUCTS: MINIMUM OF 6-10 SERVINGS
VEGETABLES AND FRUIT: MINIMUM OF 6-10 SERVINGS (more veggies than fruit is better)
MILK PRODUCTS: 3-4 SERVINGS
MEAT AND ALTERNATIVES: MINIMUM OF 2 SERVINGS
OTHERS: CHOOSE IN MODERATION. AFTER ATHLETES HAVE ENOUGH SERVINGS FROM THE FOOD GROUPS. THERE ISN'T MUCH ROOM FOR FOODS WITHOUT MANY NUTRIENTS.
Athletes need to understand that they need to be drinking regularly throughout physical activity. They should be drinking 1/2 a cup to 1.5 cups of water approximately every 20-30 minutes during activity.
REMEMBER: IF YOU ARE THIRSTY, IT IS TOO LATE......YOU ARE ALREADY DEHYDRATED.
Dehydration decreases your digestive system's ability to absorb water, which will slow rehydration and causes cramping, and decreases work capacity, therefore impairing performance.
You can easily judge your level of hydration by the colour of your urine. It should be clear if you are properly hydrated. Parents should encourage their athlete to check their urine, especially in the morning. This is the best time to test......and if the urine is yellow in the morning, you need to be hydrating more!!
Sports Drinks: NOT RECOMMENDED FOR ATHLETES PARTICIPATING IN POWER TUMBLING!!!
There are more than 14 packs of sugar in one bottle of a sports drink! This is an appropriate drink for those athletes who participate in endurance sports. So......if you are planning on running a marathon, go ahead and drink up!!
Drinks with splenda, sucralose and aspartame are also not a good idea!
WHICH FOODS TO EAT AND WHEN???
· during exercise, muscles rely mostly on the fuel that has been stored from meals eaten in preceding days
· choose carbohydrates that provide a slower release of energy (complex carbs)
· choose carbs/foods that are easy and quick to digest and absorb
· fat and protein take longer to digest should be consumed in smaller amounts
Examples: peanuts, almonds, apple, pear, orange, grapes, green peas, whole grain pasta, brown rice, cereals, potatoes, whole grain bread, low-fat granola bars, milk (alternatives to cow’s milk include: rice milk, almond milk or soy milk), smoothies
· during exercise, muscles rely mostly on the fuel that has been stored from meals eaten in previous days
· food eaten on the day of the event mostly fuels the brain, and when activity is long or intermittent, the liver
· meals high in carbohydrate
· fat and protein are harder to digest, therefore should be consumed in smaller amounts
· since pre-competition nerves can cause upset stomach, athletes should be familiar and comfortable with the food....it is not wise to try new foods on competition day!!
· milk products are also not recommended, as they can mix with the stomach acids (which are present in increased amounts with nerves or increased stress) and cause upset stomach or diarrhea
BEST CHOICES WHEN BREAKFAST IS THE PRE-EVENT MEAL
· cereal-with low-fat milk (or cow’s milk alternative) (milk is ok in this case, as it is a very small amount)
· French toast/pancakes (without butter/margarine)
· eggs (not fried)
· ham/steak (if lean and not fried)
· potato (not fried)
· rice (not fried)
· toast (limit butter/margarine)
· muffins (no butter)
· water, fruit juice (limited fruit juice)(hydrating before is important, but too much fluid too soon before warm-up/competition can lead to numerous bathroom breaks!)
BEST CHOICES WHEN LUNCH OR SUPPER IS THE PRE-EVENT MEAL
· fruit and veggies/fruit and veggie juices (limited fruit juice)
· soups (broth based)
· meat, fish, poultry (no skin, trim fat, not fried)
· meat alternatives (beans, peas, lentil dishes ***if these are familiar foods (gas produced when these foods are not part of the usual diet can cause discomfort)
· potatoes (not fried, no butter/margarine) sweet potatoe is a great choice with the skin!!
· brown rice
· whole grain noodles
· whole grain pasta (plain, tomatoes/vegetable sauce)
· whole grain bread
· salads (bean, fresh veggies, fruit, low-fat cottage cheese), small amount of dressing
· desserts (fruit, low-fat yogurt, custards, puddings
· cheese (in moderation)
Goals of the pre-event meal:
· to prevent hunger from occurring during competition
· to ensure adequate blood sugar levels
· to ensure quick and easy digestion
· to maximize fluid levels
· to allow athletes foods they believe will provide a good performance
FOODS TO LIMIT PRIOR TO COMPETITION/TRAINING
· limit fatty foods because they are slow to digest
· limit protein-rich food because they are also slow to digest and are not the most important source of fuel during exercise
FOODS TO AVOID PRIOR TO COMPETITON/TRAINING
· milk, cream
· fried eggs
· bacon, sausage
· fries, hash browns
· fried rice
· cream/butter sauces
· doughnuts, danish, croissants, pastries
· cookies, crackers, chips, granola bars (unless low-fat)
· cream soups
· buttered, sautéed, creamed or soufflé foods
· fried potatoes
· sausages, processed meats, liverwurst
· potato and macaroni salad, creamy coleslaw
· salad dressing
· pies, ice cream
FOODS AND BEVERAGES THAT MAY NOT BE WELL TOLERATED (PRIOR TO COMPETITION OR TRAINING)
· spicy foods may be difficult to digest before exercise
· fibre-rich foods like whole-grain bread, cookies and whole-wheat cereals, dried fruits.....these foods stimulate mobility in the intestines and can induce bowel movements. They should be avoided, especially if the athletes has diarrhea.
· gas-producing foods: cabbage, broccoli, onions and carbonated drinks, make some athletes feel bloated
· coffee, tea, cola and chocolate may cause diarrhea, which can have a dehydrated effect
· alcoholic beverages (for obvious reasons!!!!)
-energy balance (e.g. energy intake must equal energy expenditure to maintain weight
-diet must be high in complex carbohydrate (the most efficient energy source for physical activity), moderate in protein and lower in fat. For most sports, about 60% of total energy intake should be provided by complex carbs
-adequate intake of minerals: esp iron, calcium, zinc, potassium and magnesium.
Athletes, esp. female need to include more iron-rich foods
-adequate intake of vitamins, esp. Vitamins B and C
NUTRITION FOR RECOVERY
· to replace water lost through sweating
· to replenish reserves
· to repair muscle damage
· to replace electrolytes lost through sweating (this isn’t a huge concern in tumbling)
DELAY BETWEEN MEALS AND EXERCISE
· allow 3-4 hours for a large meal to digest
· 2-3 hours for smaller meal to digest
· 1-2 hours for a small snack or blender/liquid meal to digest
If an athlete will be competing within 2 hours after eating, small quantities of carbs are the best choice: fruit, beverages, low-fat crackers, bread, yogurt and/or well-cooked pasta. The athlete should also have water.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SPECIFIC NUTRIENTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM!
Function: helps with night vision; promotes growth of bones and teeth; helps to keep the skin and mucous tissues healthy
Where it can be found: liver; green and yellow veggies (spinach, broccoli, squash, carrots), orange fruit (cantaloupe), egg yolk, milk products, fish oil
Function: helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which are necessary for growth and maintenance of bones and teeth
Where it can be found: Vitamin D fortified milk, fortified soy beverages, egg yolk, liver, fish (tuna, salmon)
The body can produce small amounts of vit D when skin is exposed to sunlight…….BUT sunscreen blocks ultraviolet rays, thus preventing the reaction necessary to produce vit D.
Function: Helps prevent oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids and other lipids, including vitamin A; helps to keep cell membranes healthy; involved in blood clotting
Where it can be found: oils (soybean, wheat germ), sunflower seeds, wheat germ, whole-wheat bread, cereal, liver, margarine, eggs, green veggies, nuts, sweet potatoes, avocado, mango
Function: involved in blood clotting
Where it can be found: green leafy veggies (broccoli, spinach), liver, milk, eggs
Function: anti-allergy, nervous system, anti-inflammatory, cell structures
Where it can be found: fish oils, flax, hemp, salba
Function: maintains healthy teeth and gums, helps in the healing process through collagen production, increases resistance to infections, facilitates iron absorption and storage, helps with the production for some hormones, antioxidant
Where it can be found: citrus fruit and juice (orange, lemon, grapefruit), broccoli, red and green pepper, cantaloupe, kiwi fruit, strawberries, tomatoes, rose hips, dark leafy greens
Function: involved in metabolism of carbs; assists in normal growth, helps regulate hunger, necessary for the nervous system and the digestive system to function properly
Where it can be found: whole-grain and enriched cereal products (bread, breakfast cereal, pasta, meat (pork), organ meats (liver), brewer’s yeast, wheat germ/bran, molasses, oat, millet, nuts, seeds avocado
Function: involved in fat and oxidative metabolism, helps maintain health of skin and eyes, necessary for the nervous system to function properly
Where it can be found: milk and milk products, liver, organ meat, eggs, whole-grain or enriched cereal products, leafy green veggies, fish, brewer’s yeast
Function: necessary for the nervous system and digestive system to function properly
Where it can be found: liver, meat (beef, chicken), mild, eggs, legumes (chickpeas), peanut butter, whole-grain or enriched cereal products, fish
Function: involved in forming red blood cells (along with vitamin B 12)
Where it can be found: organ meats, legumes, dark green leafy veggies, fruit (orange and cantaloupe), fortified breads and cereals, brewer’s yeast
Function: involved in carb, fat and amino acid metabolism (particularly amino acids), plays a role in building different tissues
Where it can be found: meat, poultry, milk, whole grains, bananas, legumes, wheat germ, fish
Function: involved in forming red blood cells, helps to maintain nervous and gastrointestinal tissues
Where it can be found: animal products (meat, liver, poultry, eggs, milk products), fortified soy beverages, tofu, miso, fish
Function: involved in metabolizing carbs, protein and fat
Where it can be found: liver, peanuts, eggs, organ meats, fish, found in many common foods
Function: involved in energy-producing reactions
Where it can be found: liver, nuts, egg yolk, legumes, meat, veggies, fruit
· important for normal growth, tissue maintenance and reproduction
· assist in the transformation of fuel into energy
· regulate body fluids
vitamins can’t function without minerals
· the following are all minerals…….
Function: involved in the formation of teeth and bones, important for nervous system function, involved in normal blood clotting, triggers the process of muscular contraction
Where it can be found: milk and milk products (soy milk, almond and rice milk) , canned sardines and salmon with bones, broccoli, legumes, fortified plant beverages (soy, rice), almonds/butter, dried figs, dark green leafy veggies, calcium-fortified tofu, sesame seeds
Function: involved in the formation of haemoglobin (key in transporting oxygen through the blood)
Where it can be found: sources ready absorbed include: liver, heart, kidney, meat, dark poultry meat, fish, oysters, clams
Less readily absorbed: nuts, seeds, dark green leafy veggies, whole or enriched grains, legumes, black strap molasses, dried fruit, wheat germ
Function: involved in forming teeth and bones, involved in energy metabolism, involved in tissue development, role in the process of muscular contraction and relaxation
Where it can be found: oysters, milk and yogurt, legumes, cereals, nuts, molasses, green leafy veggies, coca (raw)
Function: helps in nerve transmission, maintains fluid and electrolyte balance
Where it can be found: meat, veggies and fruit (esp. potato, tomato, cantaloupe, banana, orange, grapefruit), milk, cereals, legumes
Function: important for the function of the thyroid and energy metabolism
Where it can be found: iodized salt, seafood, sea veggies, milk, sea veggies
Function: helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance, part of the stomach’s acid
Where it can be found: salt
Function: necessary for growth and development, assists in immune function, important for wound healing, needed for taste, part of many enzymes involved in energy metabolism
Where it can be found: oysters, meat, liver, whole grains, legumes, milk
Function: required by all tissues for normal function; helps carry foods through digestive tract and nutrients in the blood and within cells; protects against overheating; carries body wastes
SPECIFIC CONSIDERATIONS IN DIETS
I am not here to judge people who make the decision to be vegetarian. The choice becomes a problem when athletes decide to become vegetarian when the rest of their families are not. They often don't get the required protein, iron and other important nutrients. What usually happens is mom/dad cook a meal of salad, meat, veggies and a starch........the non-meat eater of the family eats everything except the meat and believes that if they just add a little peanut butter as a snack later, that is all they need!
YOU CANNOT LIVE OFF PEANUT BUTTER!!!!! (this pertains to one of my athletes in particular!)
In fact, vegetarian athletes require 10% more protein daily over athletes that eat meat. This is to compensate for the incomplete digestion of plant protein.
Sufficient protein is essential to provide muscle maintenance, tissue repair and for the production of antibodies to fight off infection.
One of my past vegetarian athletes was sick all the time, missing numerous days of school and training. I suggested for her to go back to just having a small amount of chicken a couple of times a week and there was an enormous change in her immune system! Her number of absent days due to illness decreased almost immediately, she was stronger and her trainings were more efficient!!! (Most of you know this athlete, who is now the coach of tumbling at Quinte Bay :)
Another major concern for vegetarians is getting adequate iron in their diets.
Main dietary sources include:
-iron that is easily absorbed: liver, beef, dark poultry meat; fish; oysters; clams
-iron less readily absorbed: nuts, seeds, dark green leafy veggies, whole/enriched grains, legumes (beans), blackstrap molasses; dried fruit, wheat germ
(athletes need to ingest much higher quantities of these foods in order to get the required amount of iron)
-legumes must be eaten with whole grains in order to get a complete protein (such as brown rice, oats, etc)
-need to supplement with liquid B12 and high quality iron (many over the counter are not high quality)
NO CARB DIETS:
THIS TYPE OF DIET IS A BAD IDEA FOR ANYONE!!!!
Carbohydrates are extremely important for numerous functions!
-carbs are the most important fuel for athletic performance in both training and competition
-it is the only source of energy for the brain and nervous system......it is the only source of energy that has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. (People that choose this type of eating style are essentially starving their brains!!)
-this type of diet causes ketosis....the body destroys muscle for its own energy requirements
I tried this particular diet for a couple of days while I was an acrobat, upon advice of my hand-balancing partner. I lasted 2 days!!! I was tired, couldn’t focus and incredibly grumpy!!!