As the world gears up for the twenty-second winter Olympics in Sochi, we’ll begin to see athletes from around the globe challenge each other, as well as themselves, as they go for a spot on the podium. Though most people will never get to that level of athleticism and competition, that doesn’t mean they can’t learn a thing or two from these fitness heroes. One of those lessons is what to eat to stay at the top of your game.
We all know that garbage in, equates to garbage out; which is why any CrossFit addict feels at least a pang of shame downing a sugary soda or wolfing down a bag of potato chips. Beyond committing those minor diet sins though, many athletes don’t realize how much they can gain from tweaking their food intake slightly. This is where they could take some serious advice from Olympians.
Below are some of the foods that the winter Olympic athletes will be eating in mass quantities. Not only do they and their coaches swear by these fuels, but they’re all items that you can find easily in your local grocery or natural health foods store.
Peanut Butter is a Good Fat
So many athletes tout the versatility of peanut butter that it really needs to be on your “to eat” list, unless of course you are allergic to peanuts. The trick is that you can’t just slather it on everything from toast to cookies to cakes. Like all “good fat” foods, it should be measured out and used sparingly. Ideally, if you’re going to spread it on something, make sure whatever you’re spreading it on either contains grains or is a fruit, like an apple.
Lean Protein is Necessary Every Day
As most people know, lean protein is a great way to help build muscle and keep the belly full. Although most Olympians eschew red meat, they seem to be fond of egg whites, chicken and fish. Some even prefer to boost their intake of lean protein with delicious smoothie concoctions that include everything from chocolate powder (yes, chocolate is occasionally allowed) to prebiotic fiber to kale.
Carbs Are a Reliable Source of Energy
If you have been struggling to keep yourself from eating too many carbs, be careful: You don’t want to cut them out entirely. No Olympian we know would go on a carb-free diet plan. This doesn’t mean you can eat plates of pasta and bagels, but you shouldn’t be afraid of whole wheat toast. Just keep the processed carbs to a strict minimum. A slice of cake won’t do for your body what a slice of a sweet potato will.
Fill up on Veggies
Vegetables that are steamed, baked or raw should be on your menu every single day. In fact, if you can eat them for at least two of your meals, you’ll be ahead of the game. The key is to trying different veggies so you don’t get bored.
Additionally, you can try adding them to sandwiches and entrees so you don’t get “vegetable fatigue”. The same salad day after day will soon grow tiresome. Mix it up and you’ll be doing something excellent for your entire digestive system.
Though you may never actually know what it feels like to ski down the slopes at Sochi or nail a triple sow cow, you can definitely eat like you’re prepping for an Olympic moment. As a final note before you start to revise your menu for the week, remember that no athlete skips breakfast. Your mom was right: It’s the most important meal of the day!