Top 10 Foods for Sports Nutrition

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Not sure what you should buy for your family at the grocery store? Make sure these foods make there way into your basket and you will feed  your family with foods that will keep them healthy and fit. These foods are exceptionally great for fueling your young athletes for top performance and their sports nutrition needs.

Sports Nutrition and performance

Top 10 Foods for Sports Nutrition:

1. Sweet Potatoes

The super food! So which food is the king among kings of carbohydrates? If you ask the Center for Science in the Public Interest, it’s the sweet potato—a nutritionally-dense vegetable ranked higher than the regular potato due to its fibrous, fat-free content. Sweet potatoes are dense in carbohydrates, an energy-providing macronutrient, this is great for athlete nutrition because it serves as energy sources while dieting, and during grueling workouts, and I even lean on this spud to get me through FRAN and other CrossFit Workouts.

If your athlete want’s to cut down their body fat, sweet potatoes are a safe and healthy way to help this process because it cuts down hunger temporarily. Sweet potatoes can also be made in a variety of ways, so you won’t get bored. Looking for sweet potatoe recipes to share with your family? Try this great site!

2. Spinach

Spinach can be made a number of ways, hot in a skillet, mixed in with eggs, and even used fresh for salad! It is also a great food to supply your athletes with the nutrition and vitamins they need.

Low in calories and high in vitamins, spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. One cup of the leafy green vegetable contains far more than your daily requirements of vitamin K and vitamin A, almost all the manganese and folate your body needs and nearly 40 percent of your magnesium requirement. It is a good, very good or excellent source of more than 20 different measurable nutrients, including dietary fiber, calcium and protein. And yet, 1 cup has only 40 calories!

Spinach is an excellent choice for nutrition without high calories. Read more:

Magnesium in spinach works toward healthy blood pressure levels. In fact, just a salad-size portion of spinach will work to lower high blood pressure within hours. A serving of spinach contains 65 percent of your daily requirement of folate, and folate converts harmful, stroke-inducing chemicals into harmless compounds.

For spinach recipes visit:

3. Eggs

With six grams of protein a pop, along with all of the amino acids our bodies need to build muscle, eggs are a great choice to feed your family and especially your growing athlete. Eggs encourage muscle development, and even egg yolks are one of the richest sources of dietary choline — a B vitamin that is often thought of as a “brain food” because it contributes to neurological function and development. I often eat egg whites more often than the whole egg, simply because egg whites are considered the “gold standard” for protein quality because their amino acids are the most digestible to humans. I make egg whites and add salsa and and veggies in a scramble. Then use butter lettuce cups to wrap up your eggs like a breakfast taco, soooo darn good your kids will always want more! Traveling? If you are traveling don’t forget about making hard boiled eggs, these are great while on the go and can always be cut up for salads, sandwiches, and wraps! 4. Broccoli There are multitude reasons why broccoli remains of the most consumed vegetables among athletes and bodybuilders. For one, broccoli is filled with vitamins and minerals that aid with numerous processes and functions in the body. Broccoli large amounts of  chromium, a mineral that is essential for metabolizing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and scontrolling blood-sugar levels (insulin). Controlling blood sugar levels is especially important in young athletes. As they play multiple games a day and practice, this means they need food to help stabalize their body for the energy they are putting out. If they don’t all sorts of bad things happen. They become irritable, shaky, weak, and get headaches. A great way to prevent this is by managing their blood sugar with snacks and meals that give them the nutrients and energy they need. Broccoli can accomplish that goal. Worried about eating too much broccoli in calories? Knock it off! Broccolli actually burns more calories than it actually contains when eaten.

Lastly, broccoli contains indole-3-carbinol, a muscle-friendly compound that appears to abate the effects of estrogen, encourage higher testosterone levels, reduce bodyfat, limit negative water retention, and increase muscle growth.

5. Lara Bars

Have you heard of Lara Bars? If not your in for a treat. No. Literally! These bars are so good I find myself stocking up on a weekly basis. I use them when I’m on the go, in a hurry, or need to balance my blood sugar. sports nutition and snacks LÄRABAR® is a delicious blend of unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices. Made from whole food, each flavor contains no more than nine ingredients. Pure and simple, just as nature intended. Worried about Gluten? LARABAR’s are GLUTEN FREE/CELIACS LÄRABAR®, über® and Jŏcalat® are Gluten Free. They have no gluten-containing ingredients, and have manufacturing controls in place to ensure that there are no cross-contact concerns. 6. Apples Apples saved my life…okay that might be a bit dramatic, but they really have helped me stay healthy and fit. I use them for morning snacks between breakfast and lunch, and often pair one with some amazing almond butter. Cut up apples for dinner side dishes, breakfast, or lunches. They really can fill a lot of side dish spots and especially during the summer. Children are a fan, and if you pair it with healthy nut butter they will think it’s a big treat!

Women who eat at least one apple a day are 28 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t eat apples.

Apples are loaded with soluble fibre, the key to blunting blood sugar swings. An extensive body of research has linked high soluble fibre intake with a slower buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in your arteries. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease. Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you’re stressed out. Source

If your traveling: Make sure you bring your apples and keep them in an ice chest, you never know when they could help your athlete make it through to their next game.

7. Nuts & Seeds

Almonds, Macadamia Nuts, Pistachios,…yum! Keep these raw and handy for your family. These are a great source of fat, and contain some protein. It is best to eat them with a protein and a vegetable if possible.

Although nuts are high in fat, frequent nut eaters are thinner on average than those who almost never consume nuts. (Data from the Nurses’ Health Study)

Those who ate nuts at least two times per week were 31 percent less likely to gain weight than were those who never or seldom ate them in a study involving 8865 adults. (WHFood’s article on almonds) Almonds can also help your athletes nervous system, as they are known to nourish it and lea to an increase in high intellectual level and longevity

Athletes should snack on almonds and nuts between or during games to prevent hunger cravings and balance insulin levels. BUY ALMOND BUTTER, IT IS MY FAVORITE!

8. Lean Ground Turkey

Buy lean ground turkey in bulk and freeze it! This is a great way to ensure you always have a protein source for your family. I often make enough ground turkey for the entire week and put it in smaller Tupperware portions so that I can have it ready for a quick heat up breakfast, lunch, or even snack. Not a big fan of ground turkey, go for the lean ground beef. You would be surprised that ground beef and ground turkey don’t actually differ that much in fat and calorie content. It all depends on the kind of ground meat that you buy.

9. Chicken

Protein, protein, protein! Chicken should be available at all times. While I don’t encourage eating chicken everyday for everymeal, becuase where is the fun in that! I do recommend you eat it in the majority of your meals. It is lean, and mean, build muscle, and gives you energy. Did you know chicken is a natural anti-depresent: Chicken, like its brother fowl the turkey, is high in an amino acid called tryptophan, which gives you that comforting feeling after consuming a big bowl of mom’s chicken soup. In fact, if you’re feeling depressed, eating some poultry will increase the serotonin levels in your brain, enhance your mood, blasting stress, and lulling you to sleep. Benefits of Eating Chicken: 

  • High in Protein
  • Anti-Depresent
  • Prevents Bone Loss
  • Suppresses acids that promote cardiovascular disease
  • High in phosphorous which supports teeth and bones
  • Metabolism booster

Chicken is a great way to prepare for your work or school week, BBQ a few breasts, and legs Sunday night for the week. This makes it extremely easy for athletes and their families to get a good source of protein when you might be short on time.

10. Cauliflower

Worries about obesity and those extra pounds? Reach for Cauliflower! It contains high amounts of vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation. Inflammation is the number one cause for obesity! Potentially, regular cauliflower consumption can help decrease the risk of inflammation-mediated diseases such as arthritis, obesity, diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis. A cup of boiled cauliflower contains about 11 micrograms of vitamin K and 0.21 g omega-3 fatty acids. Other anti-inflammatory substances in cauliflower include glucosinolates (such as glucoraphin) and isothiocyanates (such as isothiocyanate sulforaphane).

Looking for a good Cauliflower recipe, try making is like rice or mashed potatoes!

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A little more about Natasha Hawkins...

Experience: Division 1 Fastpitch Softball player at San Jose State. Degree: B.S in Marketing and Advertising Certifications: Certified Level 1 CrossFit Trainer Interests: She loves the way the brain works and how personalities and attitude can create a warrior of an athlete that will always persevere and make success for themselves. While she is not a certified nutritionist she studies and practices the Paleo diet and Zone eating. Quirk: I am an avid archer and hunter. Yup, it's true. I have shot archery since I could walk, and hunted with my Dad since I was born. I also have a sister (Cheridan Hawkins) who is a stud pitcher for the Oregon Ducks Softball Team and is on the Junior Olympic Team. My youngest sister Charli Hawkins trains with me at CrossFit and is also a catcher on the 12U California Grapettes. Follow Natasha on Twitter: @NatashaBHawkins