Which food should be part of an athlete's diet, and how do I prepare it so it tastes great?
Just recently, I was out with friends. After a long day, we went for dinner together, and as usual for us, the conversation topics soon turned to fitness and diet. Luckily for me, there are some ambitious athletes in my peer group, and it’s nice to be able to exchange ideas. This time, we quickly reached the subject “Food for Athletes”. It didn’t take long for a heated discussion to ensue. Everyone seemed to have a different view, and after this back and forth I had become very uncertain about my own diet. I wanted to find what kind of food is decidedly important for an athlete, so I visited a few fitness trainers, and asked them for some good tips. I have listed the most important food for athletes below, together with a short description. And since we all know how unimaginative we can be sometimes, I’ve added some inspiring recipes to this article. So then: Eat well, to be fit for your next workout!
Anyone who wants to build muscle and does sport requiring a lot of effort, should pay attention to a protein-rich diet. Protein gives you a lot of power, and supplying it with eggs is very easy. Not only the boiled variant tastes great. How about an omelette creation?
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon milk
- cherry tomatoes
- salt pepper
- basil, parsley, chives
- Clean the mushrooms, and cut them into slices, then lightly fry them in a pan.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, and add them to the mushrooms.
- Beat the eggs, add the milk, spice, and add to the mushrooms and tomatoes in the pan.
- For the first 2 minutes, spread the egg mixture carefully around the pan, cover it with a lid, and let the omelette bake for circa 4-5 minutes over medium heat.
- In the meantime, you can already cut the herbs, and add them to your omelette in the final 2 minutes! Enjoy your tasty, protein-rich meal!
For vegans, tofu is a good substitute for meat, and a great source of protein!
Snack on some almonds before training, and you will be well supplied with vitamin E and magnesium. Almonds are helpful in regulating your metabolism. Take care, though: eat nuts in moderation and chew well, so they’re not heavy on the stomach while you’re exercising!
Walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, cashews or pumpkin seeds - all these nuts provide magnesium, which plays an important role in your energy metabolism and keeping up your performance. Since you lose a lot of magnesium during exercise through sweat, it is very important for athletes to put nuts on the grocery list. So always have nuts at home!
A little tip: Use your favorite nuts to create an individual mix to enjoy at any time. Or roast some portions in the oven, it tastes even better! Here’s a wonderful recipe.
- olive oil
- Fresh rosemary, thyme
- A pinch of salt
- Cut the garlic into small pieces, and chop the herbs.
- Saute the garlic with the almonds and cashews.
- When everything starts turning brown, add a little olive oil, and season to taste with fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
- Leave to cool.
Fish provides important Omega-3 fatty acids and improves blood flow, so oxygen and nutrients are transported faster to the cells. Fish can be served in the evening with a nice combination of vegetables, or how about creating your own individual sauce!
Energy supplier and muscle fuel, this is how carbohydrates could be described for athletes. A power supply in the form of carbohydrates is very important, if you are physically active. Nevertheless, you should make sure that you only consume good (!) carbs. This includes, for example, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal and potatoes. Potatoes also provide plenty of vitamins and minerals. Incorporating carbohydrates into a daily schedule is not difficult. Oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, wholemeal bread with your favorite spread, or oven potatoes - there are endless possibilities to fill your energy reserve.
Fruit supports the development of your immune system, which athletes need to pay particular attention to, and provides you with important vitamins! Ideally, you’ll always have a colorful bowl of fruit at home, from which you can grab a quick snack.
As we have been taught by advertising at an early age: calcium strengthens bones. Milk also provides you with important proteins. If you don’t like drinking pure milk, make a delicious shake!
- 250 ml of milk
- A large handful of strawberries (the more the better!)
- Optionally honey / agave syrup
Combine all ingredients in a blender, mix well, and enjoy! On warm days, some ice cubes round off your shake perfectly.
Zinc, protein and iron are found in lean beef. Zinc helps your body to convert proteins, and iron builds red blood cells. A great piece of meat from an organic farm, with a colorful vegetable pan or a crisp salad, doesn’t that sound great?
These legumes are packing magnesium, potassium, proteins, carbohydrates and B vitamins, and thus cover a large part of the nutritional spectrum! Especially for vegan athletes, these versatile legumes are important food. How about a delicious bean salad, or a colorful salad of lentils and vegetables? Fantastic, I promise!
- Green beans
- Pine nuts
- Fresh basil leaves
- olive oil
- Salt, pepper
- Simmer the beans until they are al dente.
- In the meantime, cut the tomatoes into small pieces, and roast the pine nuts in a frying pan fry until slightly brown.
- Chop the basil leaves finely.
- Throw all the ingredients in a bowl, and season to taste. So easy, but so good and nutritious!
- Red lentils
- Fresh herbs
- Salt, pepper
- Dried Tomatoes from a jar
- Cook the lentils and let cool.
- Meanwhile, cut the vegetables, and chop the herbs.
- Cut the dried tomatoes into small pieces.
- Once the lenses have cooled, mix them with the vegetables and herbs.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Your lentil salad can be refrigerated very well in an airtight container, so you can enjoy it the next day!