MYTH VS. FACT
Myth: “If I am a vegetarian, I need to take supplements because I don’t get enough in my food.”
Fact: It is not always necessary for vegetarians to take supplements if they are consuming a wide range of foods. Consuming eggs and dairy will help meet protein, B12 and iron needs. If vegetarians are vegan or do not consume dairy or eggs, then getting protein from beans, nuts, seeds, nut butters and soy foods are good options. Also, choosing whole grains high in protein like quinoa and oats can also contribute to protein requirements. They key is eating a variety of foods from as many food groups as you can.
Sports Nutrition 101
Whether you play football in high school, college or professionally, fuel should be a part of your game! Providing your body with adequate nutrition at halftime can help your energy stay up, your mental acuity stay sharp, and your blood sugar stay normalized…all key to a solid game.
So what should you eat? When you think of what gives you energy, three things should come to mind: carbohydrates, protein and fat. Carbohydrates are your body’s are a great source of energy and thus digest very quickly to fuel the current activity. Eating carbohydrate alone can be a problem… Energy levels rise and drop very quickly. This can manifest as a headache or feeling fatigued, faint or dizzy. For those of you who wash a banana down with 20 oz of a sports drink, you might know the feeling I am talking about. This problem can be fixed by adding a protein or healthy fat to your carbohydrate snack. Both protein and fat provide satiety and slow down the digestion process which prevents a blood sugar spike.
Thus, in order to keep your blood sugar level and energy stabilized during a football game, you need to fuel the body with carbohydrate, protein and some healthy fat. Here are good examples:
- Energy Bar & Apple
o Aim to choose a bar with carbohydrate, protein and a few grams of fat
o Choose a bar that is not coated as they tend to melt and make a mess; bars that are trail mixed
based, oat based, and dried fruit based are good options
- Homemade Trail Mix
o 1⁄2 cup granola, 1⁄4 cup nuts, 1⁄4 cup dried fruit, crumbled protein bar Ø Granola Bar & 20-25 Almonds
o Choose a granola bar that is based with a variety of whole grains, not enriched flour and sugar
- Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich
o 2 Tbs. all natural peanut butter and 2 Tbs. 100% fruit jelly on whole wheat/multi-grain bread
- Fruit & Nuts
o Banana and 1⁄2 cup almonds
o 1⁄2 cup dried fruit and 1⁄2 cup nuts
Remember that many football games are very hot; thus there are some foods that should not be brought onto the field due to food safety issues. If you can’t keep them cold, don’t bring:
- Any form of meat (chicken, turkey, ham, tuna)
- Any food with a creamy sauce (mayonnaise, sour cream, salad dressing, cream cheese) Ø Any form of dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
You also need to stay hydrated so make sure you are drinking water throughout, not just at halftime. If you do not feel like eating much, a sports drink can provide carbohydrate in addition to fluid and electrolytes, just make sure to add some nuts or part of a protein bar to add a little protein. And if you have trouble getting in enough water, try drinking a low-calorie flavored water with electrolytes as flavor tends to help athletes of all levels drink more and thus do a better job at hydrating.
Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD is a registered dietitian for Ben Hogan Sports Medicine and serves as the sports dietitian for the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, FC Soccer Dallas, Jim McClean Golf School, Texas Christian University Athletics, and University of Texas at Arlington Athletics. In addition, she is an adjunct professor and dietetic intern preceptor for Texas Woman’s University, Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Arlington and is a state media representative for the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. . She received her Bachelor of Science degree in speech communications from Texas Christian University and Masters in Exercise and Sports Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University.