Nutrition Can Help Student-Athletes Get a Competitive Edge

Are you looking to improve your athletic performance? Nutrition can help support both your growth and training. There are a few nutrition strategies that you will want to add to your routine:

Start your day well fueled by eating a balanced breakfast.

This doesn’t need to be complicated – a bowl of cereal, milk, a banana or some Greek yogurt, granola, and berries are quick and nutritious options. Visit The Dairy Alliance recipe page for more breakfast ideas.

Fuel your training sessions with a snack.

You’ll want to make sure your snack has some carbohydrates to provide quick energy. Examples of pre-practice snacks could include a PB&J, pretzels, and a cheese stick, a granola bar, an apple, and peanut butter, or trail mix.

Consider how you hydrate.  

Dehydration can not only be dangerous, but it can also negatively impact your performance. Start by sipping on water throughout the day. You can also white or chocolate real dairy milk to improve hydration and ensure that you are getting 13 essential nutrients. Save sports drinks for high-intensity activities that last more than 1 hour. 

Fuel for a better recovery with chocolate milk.

Studies suggest that chocolate milk is a great post-practice recovery drink because it has a 3:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio. The protein helps you build muscle, carbohydrates provide energy and replenish your glycogen stores, and electrolytes replace what you lost in sweat. Milk can also help make your bones strong because it has calcium and vitamin D.

Just one 8-ounce glass of milk provides 8 grams of quality protein!

Be sure to adjust your nutrition plan to get the most out of your workouts. Fuel your body for optimal performance with a balanced breakfast, a pre-practice snack, good hydration, and intentional recovery.

Ashley Delk Licata, PhD, RDN, LDN, CSSD is an Assistant Professor at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. She is a sports dietitian who has worked with athletes of all levels, and her research focuses on the effects of nutrition timing on body composition in athletes. She is passionate about helping people apply evidence-based research to their everyday lives.

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