Whether competing recreationally, at an amateur level or professionally in front of the world, proper nutrition is a key component of any athlete’s performance. A variety of nutrients come into consideration, but one seems to get the highest level of attention: protein.
Because protein helps build and maintain muscle and body tissue, it's important for active individuals to eat enough. Snacking on protein-rich foods and eating meals packed with protein can help support an athlete's physical wellness so they can reach their goals.
Here are a few recommended practices for athletes to lead the pack with their meal routines:
Pre-workout fuel for sustained energy: Before practice or a workout, load up on whole grains and protein with hard-boiled eggs and a granola bar to keep you fueled longer. A nutritional powerhouse with only 70 calories, one large egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and nine essential amino acids. Remember, your muscles rely on mainly carbohydrates, but also protein for sustained energy during activity.
Recovery and repair post-workout: After physical activity, include eggs and other protein-packed foods in a post-workout sandwich or wrap to help your recovery. Research indicates eating a mix of carbs and protein — ideally about 20-30 grams of protein — has been shown to promote muscle repair and optimal recovery.
Not only are eggs delicious, nutritious and versatile, they are also one of the most affordable sources of high-quality protein. This makes it easy for athletes to maintain an optimal diet that is heavy on the results and light on their wallets.
Previous misconceptions had many people just eating egg whites, but today eating the yolk offers loads of nutritional benefits. That’s because the yolk contains more than 40 percent of the protein in an egg and most of the egg’s nutrients, like choline, vitamin B12 and selenium.
Want to fuel yourself to be the best you can be? The Incredible Egg has a collection of protein-packed egg recipes to help you get inspired. For athletes always on the go, there are also quick and easy egg recipes to please any palate. For example:
Microwave Cheese & Pepper Coffee Cup Scramble
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped tomato
1 teaspoon minced pickled jalapeño pepper
Pinch each salt and pepper
Whisk together eggs, milk, cheese, tomato, jalapeño, salt and pepper.
Pour into well-greased, 12-ounce microwave-safe mug.
Microwave on High for 30 seconds, then stir. Microwave for 70 to 80 seconds or until eggs are puffed and set.
For more information and egg recipes fit for any athlete, visit IncredibleEgg.org.