WMS Cross Country Nutrition and Hydration Guidelines
A diet consisting of 60-70% carbohydrates, 15-20% protein, and 15-20% fat is recommended. Strive to eat complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes (beans). Unlike refined carbohydrates like white bread, cookies, candy, chips, donuts and sodas, complex carbs are left in their whole state and have good nutritional value.
Carbohydrates are your “master fuel”. A diet rich in these give you the energy you need to perform your best. Carbohydrates are also needed for brain and central nervous system function. If you eat too few, you may experience chronic fatigue and poor performance(s). Your goal should be to try and eat at least 9 servings (1/2 cup or one average piece of fruit) a day, going for as many colors as you can. Some ways to get more fruits and vegetables in your diet:
Mix dried fruit with almonds for a snack
Have a fruit smoothie for breakfast or after practice
Eat baby carrots(or other vegetables) with hummus or salsa
Take fresh fruit in your lunch
Put fresh fruit on your cereal
Have a salad with at least 4 different colors of vegetables
Fresh pineapple is great after a workout as it has an enzyme that repairs muscle
Fruits with a high water content like watermelon and cantaloupe are great after a workout
Get your protein from lean meats, chicken, fish, low fat milk & cheese, and peanut butter. Protein helps build and repair body tissues including muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Most of us get plenty of protein. Just remember more is not necessarily better. Too much stresses the digestive tract, kidneys and liver. Fat is important for maintaining healthy skin, cell membranes, making hormones, and transporting vitamins. But the type of fat you eat is important. Try to avoid trans fat (hydrogenated and/or partially hydrogenated fat). Trans fat is fat that has been altered to give food a longer shelf life. It is found in cookies (store bought), crackers, cakes, fast food, and highly processed food. They are very hard for your body to break down. They also cause fatty deposits in the liver and arteries. Good types of fat, in moderation, are found in olive oil, canola oil, nuts, seeds, flax seed, avocados and olives. Saturated fat is found in beef, pork, veal, poultry skin, butter, cheese, milk and lard. It should be eaten in moderation. Examples of some meals that will give you the energy and the right fuel for your body:
Breakfast – whole grain cereal with low fat milk and fruit; bagel with peanut butter and banana
Lunch – turkey on whole wheat bread, trail mix, fruit, pretzels and water; peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread, fruit, baby carrots and water
Dinner – grilled chicken, baked potato, green beans, whole wheat roll; spaghetti and meatballs, salad
Here are some general guidelines for eating before practices and how to stay hydrated:
Morning practices – it is important to eat something at least an hour before morning practices. Try ½ a bagel with a little peanut butter; a banana,peach,pear; a slice of toast; ½ of an energy bar, granola bar. Avoid high sugar, high fat, dairy products. Do not drink Gatorade, Powerade (or other drinks like that) unless you have done it before and know it won’t bother your stomach. Drink some water. You have been “fasting” over night and your blood sugar is low, so you need to eat a bit to perform your best.
Afterschool practices – you need to eat breakfast EVERYDAY to do your best in school and at practice. You also need to eat a good lunch. Drink water at breakfast, at lunch, and during the day if your teacher will allow it. You can have a very light snack before practice, especially if you have an early lunch period. Follow the morning practice guidelines.
After practice – it is important that you eat something within 30 minutes after practice. This is how you replenish your muscle glycogen stores and help your muscles to recover. Bagels, fruits, pastas, vegetables, yogurt, cereal with low fat milk, toast and peanut butter, fluid replacement drinks, food bars, and smoothies are examples. If you only have time for something light, make sure that you have a full meal within about 2 hours.
* Fluids – it is very important to drink fluids (water, juice, fluid replacement drinks) throughout the day. Most of the time, water is enough. There are a couple of ways to make sure that you are drinking enough. Your urine should be very pale (like pale lemonade or weak tea). If it is dark gold, that indicates dehydration. Another way is to weigh yourself before practice if possible. For every pound lost during a workout (race, etc.), drink 3 cups fluid to rehydrate the body. Thirst is not always a good indicator of how much fluid one has lost. Many times you do not become thirsty until 2% of your body weight is lost. Bring water to practice, and drink throughout.