Sports nutrition is essential for athletes during holidays. It plays a very significant role in maintaining their health while they are away enjoying the fruits of the hard work with family and friends with endless traveling, shopping, eating
Most athletes refer to holidays as ‘the best season of the year.’ It’s a special time for them to celebrate with family and friends after a long time of intense training and field performances. Of course, continuous training and field performances without a break can affect athletes both physically and mentally. Unfortunately, it can be very harmful as athletes might be carried away with those happy moments eating many unhealthy foods that may affect their athletic performance when they resume work.
Many coaches have discovered that not sticking to the right sports nutrition plan during the holiday is the primary reason for most athletes’ poor performances when they return. Some athletes, especially in food, never get it right till the half of the season because they are now looking fat and weak.
Meanwhile, you don’t have to deny yourself those happy hours to stay healthy; this sports nutrition guide contains seven healthy habits that will help you stay healthy during holidays while you enjoy the season.
Control the portion you eat
Eating as much as you can is against sports nutrition rules. Excessive eating at a time can harm your athletic body and performance. During holidays, you might be tempted to eat everything that sits on your plate because you are sitting amidst your friends and family, not your fellow athletes. That’s why you need to control the portion of the food you eat at once.
As an athlete, your health and body matter. So, you would have to smaller portions of your favorite holiday dishes. To avoid overeating, fill half your dishes with fresh fruits and vegetables. You can also add sweet or mashed potatoes up to a quarter of your dish and fill the other quarter with ham, chicken, turkey, or any other protein-rich foods you prefer. Do you like desserts? It not bad at all. But, as a sports nutritionist, I will advise you to take your favorite instead of trying several other options trying out their taste.
Staying healthy during holidays does not mean staying away from your favorite dishes or boring yourself while others are catching fun; you only have to stick to your nutrition guide to stay fit and healthy.
Don’t skip your meals
Avoid those sports nutrition guides that advise you to skip your meals during holidays to save your calories. Those guides are ubiquitous out there, but they are not adequate to follow. Skipping meals will make you hungrier and increase your cravings, which will later result in overeating.
Instead of skipping your meals, eat them. But, be sure you are smaller portions as earlier discussed. You can also cultivate the habit of eating smaller portions frequently if you feel hungry later in the day. Sports nutrition does not involve starving, fasting, or skipping meals; those acts won’t help you stay healthy.
Instead of doing away with some of your favorite foods, you can make simple substitutions to get the same nutrients more healthily. There are several ways you reduce the amount of sugar, saturated fats, and excess calories in your holiday recipes and still enjoy every bite.
You can get healthy fats, a minimal amount of sugar, and calories from other foods that will be close substitutions to those that can affect your health. From a sports nutritionist’s perspective, you can substitute white flours with wheat flours when the recipe calls for the ingredients. Low-fat or non-fat yogurts can also substitute for mayonnaise or sour cream. When the recipe calls for vegetable oil, you can use coconut oil or olive oil as suitable substitutes for the same nutrients in a healthier way. If you need to substitute for processed, refined, white sugar, you can reduce the amount you want to add.
Most times, during the holiday, athletes may always be sitting around a table full of appetizers and desserts. This might lead to the temptation of excessive grazing and snacking all through the day. The tricky part is that it might be somewhat challenging to avoid grazing because you would have to hang out with friends and family eating delicious delicacies. That’s why sports nutrition experts always advise that athletes should stick to a healthy nutrition plan to avoid eating at random.
You can limit grazing by strictly following this sports nutrition guide, sticking to your routine, and eat a few recommended snacks. This will help you become mindful of what you eat while you enjoy your holiday.
Lack of frequent exercise is one of the primary reasons athletes display poor performance after returning from holidays. I understand how it feels being at home after a long while and being around your family and friends who have not seen you for a long time. But as much as you want to relax and enjoy yourself, you must take your exercises as a priority.
Exercising is an essential part of sports nutrition. Aside from the fact that it keeps you active, it also helps maintain your health, especially during holidays when you are away from your regular physical activities.
Reduce taking high calories beverages
Most athletes believe that alcohol or sweetened sugar are the best pair with holiday meals. But, that is not consistent with sports nutrition. Alcohol increases your calorie intake. However, you don’t have to take it out completely. You need to be conscious of how much you take per day. You should not contain more than two alcoholic beverages per day for male athletes, while one alcoholic beverage per day is ideal for female athletes.
Relax to recover
Holidays are mostly for relaxation, so make it count. You are going on a holiday to take time out of those hard training and create enough time to rest. Getting enough sleep during holidays also helps in maintaining sound health during holidays. Sports nutrition experts recommend sound sleep for up to 7 – 8 hours per day.
Holidays are good for athletes to have fun with loved ones and create time to relax. Holidays have several health and performance benefits on athletes and mar health and performance if not guided with an appropriate sports nutrition guide.