Have you ever wondered what goes into fueling an athlete or the impact that it may have on their daily performance? Milk nutrition.
Student-athletes can spend 15-30 hours a week breaking their bodies down from practice, lifting, competition, or extracurricular activities.
Think of nutrition like a mechanic. When your car breaks down, your instinct is to bring it to the shop to get it fixed. Fueling, sleep, and hydration work similarly to allow athletes to optimize their recovery and put their bodies in the best possible position to be ready for the next day of training.
Dairy products can assist athletes in fueling and recovering! Key nutrients dairy provides include protein, which helps build muscle, carbohydrates to energize the body, and vitamin D and calcium to help promote bone health.
Whether eating at home or dining out, here’s how you can add more dairy fuel to your day.
Milk Nutrition for Every Part of Your Day
Build your own Greek yogurt parfait for breakfast. If you’re in a rush, grab a whole-grain bagel topped with cream cheese for on-the-go fuel. Eating at a restaurant? Look for high-protein options like breakfast sandwiches made with eggs and cheese.
Keep snacks on hand to stay fueled between meals! There are lots of great grab-and-go dairy options like string cheese, yogurt cups, and shelf-stable milk. Pair with carbohydrates from fruit, granola bars, nuts, or pretzels/popcorn for a high-energy combo.
Pack more protein in your lunchbox by adding cheese to your favorite wrap or sandwich and pairing yogurt dip with fruits and veggies. If you’re eating in the cafeteria, grab milk to drink for an instant protein boost.
Smoothies are a refreshing way to refuel and rebuild muscle after a practice, workout, or game. Try this Georgia Peach Smoothie made with milk and Greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt is versatile and a great way to add more dairy to your dinner plate. Try it in this tzatziki sauce served with a grilled chicken gyro.
A glass of chocolate milk makes a great after-dinner treat. The protein will help keep you full so you can sleep sounder and wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the next day. For an additional protein boost, add a scoop of whey protein powder.
A student athlete’s daily schedule can be jam-packed! Including protein-rich foods like dairy will give you the fuel you need to take on and recover each day. For those with lactose intolerance, there are many lactose-free dairy options on the market so you can still benefit from the nutrients of dairy.
Milk’s Nutrition is Vital to a Healthy Diet
Want more ways to fuel your day with dairy? Click on the link for recipes.
Shawn Pitcher is an Atlanta-based registered and licensed dietitian with a Masters in Human Performance & Recreation and a bachelor’s in Dietetics & Nutrition. He was formerly a Division 3 football player. Shawn has experience working with athletes ranging from high school to the pros. He is originally from upstate New York, from a small town called Endicott. His passion is to live, learn, and pass on his knowledge and tools to athletes to allow them to build the appropriate habits to make them successful in athletics.