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Balanced Plates 101

Before thinking about special tweaks and specific nutrients to focus on for your individual sport, every athlete needs to first make sure their diet overall is balanced and full of a variety of nutritious foods. That means fresh fruits and vegetables, starches and grains, protein-rich foods, and healthy fats. Real, whole foods offer a bounty of minerals, vitamins, electrolytes and energy which is important for fueling both intense training days, recovery and rebuilding days, and juggling life in class, on the road, and on the field. Learn how to balance your plate with the appropriate amount of the food groups with this handout including three dorm-friendly balanced recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner!  For more information about what a balanced plate looks like, click HERE.



As an athlete, carbohydrates should be considered one of your closest friends. As the primary fuel source for muscles, the heart and the brain, carbohydrates make sure you have the energy and alertness to be able to power through practice, a competition or event, and ace your final exams. With intense activity demands, athletes have a higher-than-average need for carbohydrates. Unfortunately, carbs are becoming more and more unpopular by the big-business of the diet industry. There is no reason to fear carbs! Learn which foods are the best sources of carbohydrates for athletes, and how to best time your carbohydrate-rich meals and snacks for optimal performance in this carb-centric handout. For more information about carbohydrates in sports, click HERE.



Protein is at the forefront of popular sports nutrition these days. High protein powders, shakes, bars and even cereal declare that they can help build muscle and strength. While athletes certainly have a higher need for protein, how much do you actually need? Does it depend on what sport you play and what season of training you’re in? What if you’re injured? When is the best time to eat protein during a training season? What if you are a vegetarian athlete? These questions and more are answered in this protein-rich handout. Read on to learn up! For more information about understanding protein needs for athletes, click HERE.



Fats are the third macronutrient that provides us with energy. They have long been maligned by popular press as being unhealthy, but fats are essential for our body’s proper functioning and should be embraced by athletes for long-term health! There are many different types of fats, and some provide more benefits than others. Learn about the different types of fats, what myths about fats can be busted, and how to best incorporate fats into your diet in this handout.  For more informatin on healthy fats, click HERE.



Proper hydration is key for optimal performance. Hydration is important for every single cell in the body, and because of the intense demands of your life as an athlete, hydration needs are typically greater than an average adult. More than just drinking water, proper hydration depends on a balance of electrolytes, sweat rate, altitude and other individual factors. It is possible to be both dehydrated and overhydrated at different points without paying attention to your hydration strategy. Learn more about how to best work with your body and your sport to make sure you stay properly hydrated.  For more information about hydration, click HERE.


Balanced Snacks 

Snacks are an essential part of a college athlete’s daily eating plan! Easy to overlook, snacks should be considered “mini meals” that provide an extra opportunity to get extra nutrition and meet your calorie needs in-between meals. It’s important to make sure your snacks are balanced in nutrition just like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Get inspiration for how to combine protein, carbohydrates and healthy. For more information about balanced snacks for athletes, click HERE.



**Information on this page courtesy of Hannah Meier.  For more information please email:**