Any athlete worth their salt will stress the importance of diet when it comes to physically excelling in the sporting arena. To achieve breathtaking feats, Olympians are prescribed strict diets by nutritionists, with foods specially designed to improve performance. But if you thought that an Olympic diet is all boiled and no fun, think again.
With the sheer amount of calories burned during training, athletes rely on a variety of foods to replenish their bodies. Here are 5 foods we've spotted in a myriad of Olympic diets.
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Oatmeal is an excellent breakfast option — it's rich in fibre, which helps to stabilise your blood glucose levels, keeping you fuller for longer and less prone to snacking. U.S. long distance runner Shalene Flanagan kickstarts every morning with a bowl of oatmeal mixed with almond butter, bananas, berries, nuts, honey and dried fruit. It's a tasty way to elevate oatmeal's uninspiring flavour.
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Not just a staple for frequent gym-goers, protein shakes are an important source of post-workout fuel for Olympians. Instead of just mixing it with water or milk, their renditions of protein shakes are mixed with a myriad of delicious ingredients. Olympic women's soccer player, Nicole Banhart, has a smashing recipe for her post-training protein smoothie — bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango, pomegranate juice, coconut, milk, almond milk, flax seed, whey protein, peanut butter, and energy powder. MuscleTech Whey Protein Plus ($72) is the protein powder of choice for most juice bars, including the Pure Fitness juice bar, for its high protein content, easy mixability and texture, and fantastic flavor.
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Athletes need healthy sources of sugar and fibre and many enjoy incorporating dried fruits into their diet, which are nutritious sources of anti-oxidants. Rower Seth Weil enjoys a mid-day snack of dried cranberries and pretzel chips for a hefty boost. Whole fruits like bananas, apples and blueberries are also common snacks.
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If you're not a fan of your greens like Olympic snowboader Kelly Clark, you can turn to juices to get the nutrients you need. She has a juice prior to workout, and reaps all the vitamins and fibres she needs from a cup of green juice alone, instead of munching on bundles of kale. Blend whole fruits to get the full nutritional benefit and keep the fibre content up. Mix it up with frozen berries and bananas to improve the taste.
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Regularly scheduled cheat meals are imperative to keep one's spirits up, and let's be honest, who can live without letting loose once in awhile? Zack Test, an Olympic rugby player, spends his cheat days going off the hook. Pizzas, waffles soaked in syrup, mac and cheese, whipped cream and more all fall into the player's cheat day menu. Michael Phelps is also a massive fan of pizza, and he takes a couple slices on the regular to compensate for the massive calorie burn each training session. Treat yourself!
- August 14, 2016
- Beatrice Bowers