Fuel for thought!
Vicky’s top 10 tips for great nutrition
Our everyday food and drink choices provide energy and the essential core nutrients needed to support the demands of any sport. Good food and drink choices are key for energy, hydration, performance and recovery. As no single food contains the perfect mix we need a wide variety of different foods for a healthy diet.
1. Base your meals and snacks on fuel-rich starchy carbohydrates such as bread, rice, pasta, potatoes and cereals, preferably the wholegrain versions.
2. Aim for at least five portions of fruit and veg every day. Choose the rainbow of different colourful fruit and veg as each has its own special combination of vitamins and minerals. Fresh, frozen, canned and dried all count towards your daily five.
3. Some protein is essential for muscle building and wear and tear. Protein rich foods include beans, pulses, fish, eggs, lean meat, chicken, nuts and seeds plus milk, low fat dairy products and veggie alternatives.
4. Oily fish (mackerel, salmon, herring and sardines) are especially rich in healthy fats called omega 3’s and should be part of your diet once a week. Flaxseeds (linseeds), soybeans and walnuts make a good alternative if you don’t eat fish.
5. Drinking enough fluids is essential for hydration. We all need around 6 to 8 glasses of water or other fluids throughout the day and extra for exercise and when the temperature is hot.
6. Adding nutritious ‘’extras” to your meals and as snacks can add important nutrients. Scatter raisins over muesli or porridge to top up on iron, stir a teaspoon of yeast extract into soups to increase B vitamins or sprinkle sunflower seeds over a salad or stir-fry – they’re a great source of copper, a mineral that helps iron to be absorbed
7. Don't skip breakfast as a good breakfast will give you energy to face the day, a top-up of essential nutrients and help your concentration. Try a wholegrain cereal, wholemeal bread or fresh fruit for slow releasing carbs that keep you going for longer
8. Traffic light colours on the label are great guide to healthy eating credentials. Red means the food is high in fat, saturated fats, sugar or salt. It doesn't mean 'don't eat me'. It's fine to choose that food now and then, as a treat, or just have a small amount. Amber means the food isn't too high or low and green means that the levels are low. Choosing amber or green-labelled foods more often is the healthier option.
9. Plan ahead if you want to save the pennies and stick to a healthy diet. I recommend planning a week’s menu in advance and using this to write a shopping list.
10. Last, but never least remember choosing an array of nourishing, great tasting foods makes healthy eating enjoyable and fun!