Many find it challenging to follow a sustainable, effective, and safe diet plan, especially athletes. That’s because what you put inside your body will drastically affect physical performance. You might also have to look for a personalized diet that fits your specific fitness goals or nutritional needs. Fortunately, you can find numerous programs and diet plans offering suitable options for every athlete.
If you’re an athlete, you’ll have to look for diet plans that are:
- Easy to Follow: Meals under this criteria have clear guidelines that are easy and simple to follow.
- Effective: Most studies show that these plans or specific elements are effective and might provide you with health benefits.
- Sustainable: You can follow these diet plans safely for months or years because they’re not overly restrictive.
- Nutritionally Balanced: Diet plans in this category are balanced and can supply the nutrients needed to reach your peak athletic performance.
Below is a list of programs and diet plans that athletes can follow.
Most Recommended: Mediterranean Diet
Mediterranean diet plans take after the traditional restaurants in countries like Greece, Spain, and Italy. It lessens your processed food intake, motivating you to eat whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. It’ll also encourage you to increase your intake of heart-healthy fats like seeds, nuts, and olive oil.
That’s because they’re rich in nutrients that are highly important for athletes, including calcium, magnesium, and iron. Besides, another study shows that following this diet will help strengthen physical fitness and athletic performance.
Best for Female Athletes: DASH Diet
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet developed by the National Institutes of Health is a plan that centers on your heart’s well-being. It encourages nutrient-dense whole foods like low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. It’s a well-rounded diet rich in nutrients and perfect for female athletes, especially those usually at higher risks of developing bone disorders.
In fact, this diet also encourages you to increase your intake of calcium-rich foods, like low-fat dairy, to fortify bone health. It can help increase bone density based on a study.
Best for Weight Loss: Noom
Noom is an innovative diet app designed to help you achieve long-lasting, sustainable weight loss while promoting behavioral changes. Upon signing up, you’ll have to answer a series of questions that allows the app to collect data about your lifestyle and diet. It’s an excellent option for athletes looking for a more tailored approach that considers their training. You’ll also get access to a virtual coaching team.
That access provides extra motivation and support. Instead of avoiding a specific food group altogether, Noom encourages you to eat nutrient-rich foods like lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. You’ll only have to use your smartphone because it’s completely virtual, making it an excellent option for jam-packed athletes.
Most Convenient: Trifecta
Using Trifecta is the best solution if you’re looking for an easy means of eating healthy meals and improving athletic performance without dealing with the hassle of doing the preparations yourself. Trifecta is perfect for athletes because they offer entrees that include nutritious vegetables, complex carbs, and lean proteins.
This meal-delivery service company uses high-quality ingredients, including free-range chicken, grass-fed meat, wild-caught seafood, and organic produce. It can also cater to different diet plans, including plant-based meals, keto, and paleo, while offering flexible subscription plans. You also have the option to order a la carte items to more easily include protein into your diet while training.
Trifecta also offers protein packs rich in prepared poultry, fish, or meat.
Best Meal Plan: Green Chef
Green Chef is another excellent platform for athletes aiming to improve their physical performance and cooking skills by preparing healthier, homemade meals. It’s an organic meal plan company that will provide you with the ingredients needed to cook and prepare high-quality, nutritious entrees at home, along with simple steps. It offers a variety of menus, including keto and paleo, plant-based, and balanced living meal plans.
Each meal offers a list of detailed nutritional information and ingredients that might be helpful for athletes who are worried about their macronutrient intake. You can also pick your meals weekly to create your menu, allowing you to choose options with higher healthy fats, carbs, and protein. But that should depend on your fitness goals.
Finding the proper diet that fits your fitness goals can be challenging, primarily due to the many options. In picking a diet plan, you’ll have to choose a flexible program or a more structured diet plan with specific guidelines on which meals you’re only allowed to consume. It’s also essential to look for a diet plan that matches your food preferences and dietary restrictions that you might have. Lastly, check if your chosen diet plan is an excellent option for your athlete goals.