Two simple fixes for eating better starting today

One of the biggest battles with young athletes these days is trying to get them to eat healthier.  Notice that I said healthier and not “healthy” because eating “healthy” is defined by someones standards.  Healthy means that you have crossed a certain point and what you do is now good for you; this makes it all seem too much like nutrition is black and white where as in fact it is mostly gray.  Having said that, I think that one of the most simple adjustments that athletes can make is simply by keeping in eye out on labels and making better choices off of that.

1) Labels don’t lie:  Therefore if you learn to read them you can make better decisions based on the situation and not simply off of what you expect to see.

Things to avoid: 1) Trans fat.  Plain and simple, avoid it like the plague, if it’s on a label don’t eat it (it’s also in fried foods).  2) Avoid processed carbs.  If it comes out of a box and has lots of carbs (ie boxed mac and cheese) push it aside for better options. 3) Sugar. It’s everywhere and in everything, minimize it’s consumption.

2) Count the grams of sugar:  On the label under carbohydrates you will see where it says sugar.  Regardless if it’s high fructose corn syrup or if it’s pure cane sugar, an abundance of it can have very negative effects on the body.  Too much will cause insulin spikes, lagging energy, and fat gain.  None of that is very cool, especially when you can have direct control over the consumption of it.

Here are a few common mistakes in trying to eat healthier with regards to sugar:

1) People often assume that if they pass on the soda that they will have made a better choice by simply choosing a drink with a piece of fruit on it.  Sample: Minute Made Lemonade (20 oz.) has 67g of sugar in it!  That’s almost as much as any soda you will find.

2) The whole organic craze has gotten out of hand.  With people assuming that if it says organic or comes from Whole Foods that it’s automatically good for you.  Prime example: Naked Protein Zone Banana-Chocolate drink.  While it has 32g of protein, it also has 70g of sugar!  I do understand that a great deal of it is from fruit, but I promise you that you will be better off finding a protein source and a fruit source separately and calling it good.

Remember, read the labels and watch out for sugar!

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