Tips from Nancy Clark
Don't Arrive Too Hungry
One prerequisite to successful nighttime dining is to eat a hearty
lunch or an afternoon snack. This prevents you from attacking the
refrigerator the minute you walk in the house in the evening.
Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook ( Human Kinetics, 1997), p.
A Game Plan for Good Nutrition
Food is one of life's pleasures. Food is also important for fueling
your body and investing in your overall health. As an active person,
you may want to eat well but you struggle with juggling food and
good nutrition with your busy schedule of work and workouts, family
and friends. Students, parents, businesspeople, and athletes alike
repeatedly express their frustrations with trying to eat high quality
diets. "I know what I should eat," they tell me. "I just don't do
it." Although they take the time to exercise, they don't always
make time, or know how, to eat right.
One basic trick to winning with nutrition is to prevent yourself
from getting too hungry. Hunger depletes the energy you need to
choose the foods that both support your sports program and enhance
your health. Whether you are a fitness exercise or an Olympic athlete,
you can nourish yourself with wholesome foods, even if you are eating
on the run.
What shape is your diet?
Whereas square meals and a well-rounded diet were once the shape
of good nutrition, the food pyramid reflects nutrition for the 1990s.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed this new model
that divides food into six groupings of varied sizes that stack
into a pyramid. The pyramid supports the concept of a carbohydrate-based
sports diet and offers the visual message that you should eat lots
of breads, cereals, and grains for the foundation of your diet;
generous amounts of fruits and vegetables; and lesser amounts of
animal proteins and dairy foods. The tiny tip of the pyramid allows
for just a sprinkling of sugars and fats.
Three basic keys to healthful eating:
When choosing your meals and snacks, try to base your nutrition
game plan on these three important keys to healthful living:
1. Variety. There is no one magic food. Each food offers special
nutrients. For example, oranges provide vitamin C and carbohydrates
but not iron or protein. Beef offers iron and protein but not vitamin
C or carbohydrates. You'll thrive best by eating a variety of foods.
I often counsel athletes who severely restrict their diets. One
runner, for example, limited herself to plain yogurt, rice cakes,
and oranges. Besides lacking variety, her diet lacked iron, zinc,
vitamins A, E, K, and much more.
2. Moderation. Even soda pop and chips, in moderation, can fit
into a well-balanced diet. Simply balance out refined sugars and
fats with nutrient-wise choices at your next meal. For example,
compensate for a greasy sausage and biscuit at breakfast by selecting
a low-fat turkey sandwich for lunch. Although no one food is a junk
food, too many nutrient poor selections can accumulate into a junk
3. Wholesomeness. Choose natural or lightly processed foods as
often as possible. For instance, choose whole wheat rather than
white bread, apples rather than apple juice, baked potatoes rather
than potato chips. Natural foods usually have more nutritional value
and fewer questionable additives.
From Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Second Edition (Human
Kinetics, 1997), pp. 3, 5-6
Nancy Clark, MS, RD, personal nutrition counselor at SportsMedicine
Associates in Brookline MA, teaches casual and competitive athletes
how to eat to win. Her best-seller Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition
Guidebook, Second Edition is reputed to be among the best books
on this topic. It is available by sending $22 to Sports Nutrition
Services, 830 Boylston St. #205, Brookline MA 02467 or via http://www.nancyclarkrd.com.
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