Why Athletes Need to Start Cooking At Home
Eating fresh home-cooked meals allows you to stay within your student budget and keep up a healthy lifestyle that supports your rigorous training for your sport(s) as well as energy spent grinding on your school work
Obviously you as a student athlete are crazy busy between practices, games, studying, going to class and trying to balance all of this with a social life in order to stay somewhat sane. That being said, if you consider yourself a truly serious high performance athlete, you need to get your own groceries. It's just not negotiable.
When shopping, get loads of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and whole proteins. Follow a meal plan that is tailored to your specific needs as an athlete so know what to get at the store specifically, and what to eat to fuel your body properly.
The more you cook at home as a young high school or college athlete, the more nutrient rich and varied your diet can be in accordance with your meal plan.
Most local bars or fancy restaurants serve an enormous amount of food that is usually double and sometimes triple the standard portion size. Great if you are trying to bulk with no plan and rock the dad bod, but not so great if you actually want to be competitive and call yourself an athlete.
Portions DO matter.
Even though you are young and seemingly unphased by improper nutrition in most cases, your body actually DOES need the proper fuel so as to not feel lethargic or gain unnecessary weight. Don’t get dragged down, literally, by your crappy diet.
When we prepare our own food, we know exactly what we put into it. Many of your favorite local food spots drench their foods in low quality butter, cream, or sauces in order to make the dishes more flavorful for the consumer. Almost none of these places have someone like a high performing athlete in mind. If you want to be built differently, you have to eat differently.
The worst part is that those lovely premade meals that make life so easy, are also dangerous. There are many ingredients and additives in premade meals bought from the store or order online.
What even is that?
Partially hydrogenated oils, artificial coloring, monosodium glutamate, and artificial sweeteners are some of these additives that hurt athletes the most and those that you encounter most often in these premade meals.
Fix it: Start with following a nutrition plan that is in accordance with what your body needs and source your ingredients that way.
Delicious DOES NOT have to be excessively greasy, fatty, buttery, or loaded with who knows what chemicals.
3. Fights off cravings.
This one might not seem like a big deal because you are young and your metabolism is probably working overtime, so those late night snacks don’t seem to matter. Wrong. The cravings you get and associate food binges DEFINITELY matter.
Cravings tie back into the importance of proper portion sizes. If you crave, you binge. Usually later in the evening, or at night when your metabolism is slowing down and not processing foods properly. This can KILL your gains from the day and even affect your sleep for the night which will make that big test or morning practice the next day absolutely brutal.
By eating well balanced meals with protein, healthy carbs and fats, you will feel satisfied and no longer need to binge later in the day when practice, games, and classes are over. You’d be surprised how easy and how little time it takes to prepare, say, a large salad with a side of protein, lettuce wraps with turkey meat, or a veggie stir-fry.
Taking the time to plan and prepare your meals at home gives your body the necessary vitamins and minerals that you know it needs. Nothing can be left up to chance as an elite performance athlete. Thanks for reading :-)