This is a guest post from Austin Thomas, MS, RDN, LDN. Austin is the owner of Keystone Nutrition, LLC. She is a fellow athlete, cancer survivor, advocate of healthy living and living life to its fullest. You can follow Austin on Keystone Nutrition, LLC and Instagram.
This is where working with a registered dietitian and nutritionist can come in handy. He or she will teach you how to do this without having to count anything throughout the day and how to just know by seeing what your plate will look like. Healthy fats should be used not only during snacks, providing high satiety, but also throughout meals in your cooking. Focusing on polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats will provide numerous health benefits – from the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 essential fatty acids (a polyunsaturated fatty acid) to the cholesterol lowering and insulin regulating effects of monounsaturated fatty acids. As healthy as these fats - which include olive oil, peanut oil, avocados, almonds, cashews, nut butters – are to the diet, even at 35-40% of daily caloric intake, portion sizes need to be taken into consideration. So while I don’t encourage calorie counting, it can not be discounted that 1 gram of fat is 9 calories compared to protein and carbohydrate, which are only 4 calories per gram.
Athlete sample plate: Salmon, roasted vegetables, quiona with cilantro and olive oil.
Athletic Performance: It is difficult to provide general recommendations for “athletic performance” since there are so many different types of athletes with a wide variety of specific goals! However, it is important for all athletes, from endurance runners to wrestlers to weight lifters to have a higher amount of protein in their diet. This can range from 1.2g/kg to 2.0g/kg. Again, a registered dietitian and nutritionist can assess your goals and help you determine what will be best for your individual goals. This increase in protein is essential to athletes. Training takes a toll on an athlete’s body and it is important to refuel the body with enough protein to repair and build muscle, provide the body with energy and help maintain a healthy immune system.
So THINK, quality carbohydrates! Even if following a lower carb diet, is an important energy source to athletes as well. Most athletes will require about 40-45% of their diet coming from carbohydrates, again all depending on goals, and the remainder of the day's calories should come from the same healthy fats which were previously recommended for those who want to lose weight. Although the basic nutrition are all the same, for optimal results you should focus in on your specific needs.
I want to hear from you guys, what do you struggle with the most when figuring out your next meal? What do you want to know more about?
Yours in health,
By Austin Thomas, MS, RDN, LDN. Austin is the owner of Keystone Nutrition, LLC. She is a fellow athlete, cancer survivor, advocate of healthy living and living life to its fullest.
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