TOP 1O SUPERFOODS FOR ATHLETES
1) CAGE FREE EGGS
Scrambled, poached, fried, hardboiled, raw in a smoothie, are all great ways to eat this incredible superfood! The egg has a great protein to fat ratio. Please make sure you EAT THE YOLK as well! It can be EASILY argued that the egg yolk is the most important part of the egg because it carries far more vitamins and nutrients then the egg white. In a later separate post I will talk more about the importance of fat in our diets and how as a nation we are “fat starved!”
2) WILD CAUGHT SALMON
If it says farm raised, do not eat it!! Farm raised basically means genetically engineered. These farm raised salmon are pumped full of antibiotics and are fed a diet made up mostly of genetically modified corn, grain, and even chicken feces. Farm raised Salmon are also fed chemicals to give them a more desirable color. Wild caught Salmon have a much higher Omega-3 profile that is needed for optimal health.
3) ORGANIC SWEET POTATOES/ YAMS
Sweet potatoes are another versatile carbohydrate that never gets old if you are able to stay creative. Compared to their cousins, the white potato, they are much easier on your blood sugar. Sweet potatoes or yams have more of a slow release into your bloodstream where as white potatoes spike your blood sugar almost immediately thus wreaking havoc on your blood sugar levels and ultimately your waistline. A sweet potato is a terrific pre-workout meal that can be consumed in a variety of ways. You can eat it baked or boiled and it can be eaten for lunch or breakfast depending on how you top it. For breakfast I treat it much like my oats and top it with Greek yogurt, berries, almond butter, and cinnamon. For dinner, I like to treat it like a taco and top it with ground beef or turkey, Avocados, and salsa. Another one of our favorites is to chop them into French fries and bake them in the oven with your favorite oil and seasonings!
4) 100% GRASS FED ORGANIC BEEF:
Over the years beef has gotten a bad rap for being an unhealthy food. Which is so far from the truth, IF it is from a good quality source. Beef that is grass fed contains a healthy ratio of omega 3’a to omega 6’s. (Separate blog post to come in the future about omega 3’s & 6’s and what the ideal ratio should be) As well as an excellent source of protein and much needed healthy fats. Grass fed beef also contains high amounts of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), which has a host of health benefits with fat burning properties being it’s most popular and familiar benefit.
5) ORGANIC BERRIES:
Of all the fruits, berries contain the highest amounts of antioxidants. They also carry the lowest glycemic index rating, which means they affect your blood sugar the least. I use them in my smoothie everyday, put them in my oatmeal, and also instead of using store bought jams or jellies, which are loaded with added sugars, just mash up some berries and you have naturally sweetened jam.
6) ORGANIC LEAFY GREENS:
I live by the idea that you can never eat enough greens! Spinach, kale, chard, cabbage, arugula, and beet greens are a few of my favorites. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber I like to use several handfuls in my daily smoothie, cook them in my egg scrambles, eat them raw with my salads, or even blend them in my pancake mix. Spinach is great for smoothies because it has a very mild taste and usually goes undetected in a fruit smoothie. Even my 2 year old enjoys smoothies with large handfuls of spinach. Helpful tip: organic greens tend to spoil faster so when you start to think your greens are going bad just throw them in the freezer to use in your smoothies!
Forget the old saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away, I go by “an avocado a day keeps the doctor away! Avocados are loaded with healthy fats, vitamins, fiber, and actually have more then twice the amount of potassium then a banana! Everyone knows the common ways to eat avocados such as mashing it into guacamole or adding it to salads, eggs, and burgers. But one of my favorite ways to eat it is blended in my smoothie to add delicious creaminess. Another more creative way is to make avocado chocolate pudding by simply blending an avocado and 2-3 tablespoons of unsweetened cacao powder or cocoa powder.
8) ALL NATURAL NUT BUTTERS:
Probably the one food I cannot live without! Peanut butter and almond butter are the two most popular nut butters, but other nut butters such as cashew butter are gaining popularity. Your nut butter should be all natural meaning there is ONLY ONE ingredient: peanuts. A lot of big name brands such as JIF add sugars and hydrogenated oils to their nut butters which quickly turns your superfood into super crap. The best way to purchase your nut butter is from a grocery store that offers a grind it yourself option. This way you know for sure there is only one ingredient, plus the taste is far superior then pre-jarred type. Almond butter is my favorite because I prefer the taste over the others and almonds also carry a higher nutritional profile then peanuts. I enjoy my almond butter mixed into my oatmeal, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese. Or just by the spoonful for a delicious snack.
9) GLUTEN FREE ORGANIC STEEL CUT OATS:
This is one of my favorite foods because of its versatility. Steel cut oats can be eaten in a variety of different ways, which prevents you from getting tired of them. Some of my favorite things to add to my morning bowl of steel cut oats are berries, almond butter or peanut butter, cinnamon, coconut flakes, cacao powder, protein powder, and unsweetened Greek yogurt. Try to never add any sugar to your oatmeal!! The berries are your natural sweetener. Cooking it in a rice cooker provides for a more quick and effective way of preparing it.
10) ORGANIC PLAIN UNSWEETENED GREEK YOGURT:
Greek yogurt has become an increasingly popular health food over the past couple of years. The only problem is that large food industries have been taking this superfood and turning it into junk food by adding massive loads of sugar into it. Then uneducated consumers see “Greek yogurt” and assume it’s healthy without looking at the nutritional facts on the back. If consumers took the time to read the label they would realize that some Greek yogurts have just as much sugar in it as a can of soda. Make sure you always purchase it plain and unsweetened. You can sweeten it yourself with berries and nut butter.