What is food-first nutrition?
Every athlete wants to reach their peak performance, which often means pushing harder and longer in training and in competition. In the quest to reach their maximum potential, many athletes know that good nutrition is critical, but they may also look to the latest supplements and trendy diet regimens to give them that extra boost.
Some athletes, on the other hand, have found that a food-first approach is all they need to achieve peak performance. While some athletes may need to supplement their dietary intake because of a medical condition, many athletes can properly fuel their bodies and meet all their bodies’ needs with the right food.
In the Food-First Nutrition series, Olympians, Paralympians, and elite athletes share how they maintain the strength and energy they need to compete at the highest levels of sport through a food first approach. For more information on the best foods for athletes, check out the TrueSport Nutrition Guide.
From Lauryn Williams: My Breakfast Strategy
The word breakfast means to BREAK A FAST. People forget about that. When you get up in the morning, it’s time to eat!
THE SCIENCE: Athletes who train early in the morning, before eating or drinking, risk developing low blood glucose levels, as well as a poor performance, due to a decreased ability to concentrate and an increased perceived exertion...
After a good night of rest, breakfast is about prioritizing getting your body enough fuel. It’s really important to have that balance of protein and carbs, along with fiber and healthy fats. My approach is to keep it balanced, but light. I also like to keep it local. It’s ideal to do a lot of local fruits and buy what’s in season.
THE SCIENCE: Lean animal sources of protein (i.e. dairy and meats) are more efficiently digested and absorbed by the body. Learn more about Protein’s role as a team player..
I’ll usually start the morning with a bowl of tropical fruit to get my fruit in early. For protein, I also make some boiled or scrambled eggs. Eggs are the easiest thing to do! They hardly take any time and you can always boil eggs the night before. This combination of fruit and protein helps me refuel in the morning, but it’s also light, so I don’t feel like I need to go back to bed after eating because I’m so weighed down.
THE SCIENCE: Fat is a primary fuel source for light to moderate intensity exercise. Learn more about Dietary Fat.
My overall approach to food – and life – is to focus on the opportunities, not the obstacles. People tend to focus on what they can’t have, and that creates stress, but it’s really about focusing on what you can do. When you think about it, there are so many options, so many fruits and veggies for example, and so many recipes and ways to prepare things. Do what works best for your body and don’t deprive yourself!
About Lauryn Williams