Our approach to nutrition at Sparta is very simple. It is all about giving your body the nutrients that it needs to perform and recover. Rather than getting bogged down in macronutrient breakdowns and individualized meal plans, we educate our athletes on how to make good choices for themselves. These choices should always be focused around protein, vegetables, and hydration. By using this simple approach we can increase consistency, which is the most important factor in any nutrition strategy.
Hitting Your Goals – The Problem With Sandwiches
When are athletes are struggling to hit their goals for protein and veggies, the first thing we do is talk through their typical day and look for areas where we can make improvements. One of the common trends that we find is a lack of quality protein and veggies with the lunchtime meal. Many athletes pack a sandwich for lunch or stop by Subway to grab something quick. The common thought is that this is a healthy choice since it is better than stopping to grab a fast food burger and fries.
When it comes to educating our athletes, we use the positive approach of emphasizing their needs as opposed to telling them what not to eat. If the goal is to eat enough good things, there will not be any room for the bad.
- 1 gram Protein for every pound of bodyweight
- 8 servings of vegetables (fist sized serving)
- .5 oz water for every pound of bodyweight
So, when we look at sandwiches in terms of hitting our protein and veggie goals we realize that they are not a great choice. Sandwiches limit the amount protein and veggies that you can fit into your meal, plus the bread fills you up without providing any positive nutritional value.
The Salad Solution
Most people think of a salad as a light meal that will not fill them up, but that does not have to be the case. Salads are actually a much better choice than sandwiches because you can load them down with a ton of protein and veggies. The only limit is the size of your bowl…
How to Make the Ultimate Salad
- Start with a base of spinach or mixed greens
- Add additional veggies – peppers, carrots, celery, chopped broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber, etc.
- Load with protein – chicken, turkey, beef, pork, etc (leftovers from the night before work great)
- Top it off with olive oil, vinegar, seasoning, avocado
Simplicity and consistency are the foundation for good nutrition, but preparation is the difference maker for those for achieve their goals and those who do not. Rethink your sandwich, and plan ahead for success.