Health professionals agree that eating a wide variety of foods is the best way to obtain essential nutrients. Supplements are a supplement to – not a substitute for nutritious foods in the diet.
In general, no vitamin and mineral supplements should be required if an athlete is consuming adequate energy from a variety of foods to maintain body weight.
Foods contain a variety of nutrients and other healthful components (i.e., fiber, phyto- chernicals) that may not be found in supplements. To make sure you get all the nutrients you need for health, use the Food Guide Pyramid to make healthy food choices to fuel your active lifestyle.
HOW MANY SERVINGS DO YOU NEED?
The Sports Nutrition Pyramid provides a range of servings. If you’re physically active, you’ll need the higher end of the ranges. Maintaining your weight during training is a good indicator that you’re meeting your energy needs. If you are losing weight, you may need to increase your calorie intake. Use this chart to see what’s right for you.
|Children, Teen Girls, Active Women, Less Active Men||Teen Boys, Active Men||Less Active Women, Older Adults|
|Calories||About 2,200||About 2,800||About 1,600|
|Milk Group*||3 servings||3 servings||3 servings|
|Meat Group||2 servings||3 servings||2 servings|
|Vegetable Group||4 servings||5 servings||3 servings|
|Fruit Group||3 servings||4 servings||2 servings|
|Grain Group||9 servings||11 servings||6 servings|
* Older children and teens ages 9-18 years and adults age 50 and over need 4 servings.
WHAT COUNTS AS A SERVING?
|Milk Group||Meat Group|
|1 cup of milk or yogurt
1 ½, oz of natural cheese
(such as Cheddar)
2 oz of processed cheese
(such as American)
|2-3 oz of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish
½ cup of cooked dry beans = 1 oz of lean meat
1 egg counts as 1 oz of lean meat
2 tbsp of peanut butter or 1/3 cup of nuts
= 1 oz of meat
|Vegetable Group||Fruit Group|
|1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
½ cup of other vegetables (cooked or raw)
¼ cup of vegetable juice
|1 medium apple, banana, orange, pear
½ cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit
¼ cup of fruit juice
|1 slice of bread
About 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal
½ cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta
HOW MUCH FLUID DO YOU NEED?
Active people need plenty of fluids. Dehydration not only affects performance, but can also leave you dangerously ill.
Here are some tips to stay hydrated:
– Consume at least 8 cups of water or other caffeine-free liquids throughout the day
– Consume at least 16 ounces of fluids two hours before exercising
– During exercise, consume 4 to 8 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes
– To re-hydrate after exercise, drink at least 24 ounces of fluid