Regardless of the exact sport, there are several foods that athletes should avoid to ensure maximum efficiency on the court or field. These foods have poor nutritional qualities or high caloric levels that are inappropriate for anyone who wants to maintain a healthy, high-functioning body.
Food 1: Pasta Made with Refined Flours
Pasta made with refined flour is a poor nutritional choice that athletes will not commonly add to their meals due to the many health issues associated with high-carb diets. In addition, pasta has a lot of calories that can lead to weight gain. For obvious reasons, athletes will want to maintain their weight, which can help protect their bodies’ joints from damage during physical activity, for example.
Food 2: Sugary Boxed Cereals
You’d be hard pressed to find boxed cereals in the kitchen cabinets of athletes, especially those catered to a younger audience, i.e. Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, etc. Rather than eating this unhealthy food for breakfast, an athlete should make healthier cooked oats with nutritious fruit such as raisins or berries, or perhaps a vegetable omelette.
Food 3: High-Sodium Canned Soups
Most canned soups are high in sodium and other preservatives, making this option a bad nutritional choice for an athlete. Consuming a lot of salt can reduce an athlete’s level of performance because it can cause a number of serious health issues including, but not limited to, high blood pressure, kidney damage, and cardiovascular disease.
Food 4: High-Fat Meats
Meats high in fat can, obviously, cause a severe decrease in athletic performance. Athletes often look for leaner meats such as chicken, turkey, or most seafood to protect the body’s cardiovascular system. Additionally, athletes would be wise to cut off the excess fat from poultry, beef, or pork.
Food 5: Ice Cream
While ice cream and most junk foods are not harmful in moderation, consuming these products immediately before or after a game can be. A standard serving size of ice cream contains high levels of fat along with several tablespoons of sugar. Eating this several times a week can lead to not only weight gain, but an increase in cravings for sugary foods in general.
Food 6: Microwaveable Popcorn
Most brands of microwave popcorn contain artificial ingredients such as preservatives, sodium, fat, and sugar. While plain popcorn has only a few calories, microwaveable popcorn with excessive amounts of butter is often processed with several substances. Preparing air-popped popcorn for a snack is a much healthier choice, especially athletes.