Certain foods can help improve your skill on the field. But, did you know there are some that can drastically hinder it?
Here are some foods every marching athlete should pass-up if they don’t want to end up on the sidelines:
While carbohydrates are an athlete's main source of fuel, eating them alone can cause a spike and drop in your blood sugar which will send your energy levels plummeting. To prevent this carbohydrate “crash” make sure to include protein, fiber, and healthy fat in your meals and snacks. Balanced meals equals balanced energy! So don’t your carbohydrates overtake your plate, give them some other macronutrient teammates to round them out.
Was the casserole in the back of the fridge made last week or the week before? If you aren’t certain don’t risk it! Food-borne illness from spoiled food can cause major gastrointestinal issues like vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea. Don’t rely on the “smell test”, most leftover food should be eaten within 3-4 days, any longer than that and you could risk spending your day in the bathroom rather than at practice.
Check out the CDC’s website for more information on food safety and how to protect yourself against food poisoning: Four Steps to Food Safety | CDC
Even if you are of legal drinking age, any alcohol should be avoided by marching athletes. It provides no nutritional benefit and can inhibit muscle recovery, impair motor abilities, and suppress the immune system. It also dehydrates you and makes it difficult for your body to bounce back from those long hours practicing drill.
Do yourself and your group a favor, exchange the pre or post performance celebratory “Cheers!” with high fives.
As a marching athlete proper nutrition is vital. That means you need to be maximizing the nutritional benefit of every bite. Instead of reaching for 100 calorie snack packs of crackers or a sugary granola bar, go with foods that are full of nutrients to strengthen and fuel your body. Fruits and vegetables are a great go-to as they are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients to help you reach peak performance. Pair them with a good source of protein like hummus, hard boiled eggs, peanut butter, turkey jerky, or Greek yogurt and you have a snack that will make you unstoppable!
Meals too full of fat
Save the double bacon cheeseburgers for the off-season! While fat can help you feel full and keep your blood sugars steady, a super greasy meal can make you feel sluggish during rehearsals. Avoid meals primarily made of fatty meats, creamy sauces, and fried potatoes or other starches. In addition to these foods slowing you down on the field, eating them frequently can have long term negative impacts on your heart and general health. Try to choose sources of healthy fats like nuts and seeds, avocados, fatty fish, and olive oil more often.
Remember, as a marching athlete what you do off the field is just as important as what you do on it. Make smart choices on what you eat during marching season, your body and director will thank you!