Performance enhancing foods should be just that – enhancing, but not the backbone of your diet. You want to eat for energy, and you want to eat foods that maximize your performance as an athlete.
There is no one menu that someone can give you. There are, instead, guidelines to use. And then it is up to you, your coach, and your trainers to decide which tweaks to make so that it is best for you as an individual.
The basis of any food plan must start with water. First and foremost you must keep hydrated. Drink water straight, consume vitamin-enhanced waters, and eat water containing foods, such as vegetables and fruits. Alcohol is dehydrating, and it can affect your metabolism and your sleep. Coffee has caffeine. One or two cups a day is fine; more than that makes no sense in terms of athletic performance and health.
Once you have a plan to consume enough water, then your next focus should be on the macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. You need all three. You must eat carbohydrates in order for your cells to accept protein. One method is to follow the Zone diet, which recommends 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat, often abbreviated as 40-30-30. Another method is to follow the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) recommendations and consume, 55-65% carbohydrates, 20-25% protein, and 20% or less fat. A third diet, proposed by Scott Connelly, founder of MET-Rx, is to eat a diet high in protein and fiber, and very low in fat.
To move closer to a diet that meets your exact needs, it is best to keep a log. Record the amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fat you consume; the training you do; and how you feel. Then make tweaks over time to maximize your effectiveness.
Protein drinks, even Vegan based versions, are a fabulous way to get all the protein you need for muscle growth and repair. You can focus on eating fruits and vegetables during your meal, and boost the protein with a shake. Of course, shakes can be consumed before, during and after training or even an event. So listen to your mom and eat your veggies…just be sure to drink a well balanced protein drink!