Helpful Easy-to-Digest Tips for Sports Nutrition

Posted Aug 23, 2017

The Vikings place an emphasis on nutrition during game weeks and throughout the year.

The team has a nutritionist who works directly with the training and culinary staffs to tailor plans for each player to help achieve individual goals and enable players to fuel their bodies for their individual training goals.

A fairly simple system of green dots (the best nutritional choices), yellow dots (proceed with caution) and red dots (consume in moderation) color codes food choices in the Vikings cafeteria at Winter Park.  

If people are investing money in training, coaches, gear and competition, it’s essential that you also look at how they are fueling your body.

Sport-specific nutrition habits can help athletes and active individuals maximize their power and endurance as well as their overall health and performance. Nutrition demands vary with experience and age, so here are some helpful tips for each group:

Youth athletes: This age is all about practicing “color variety” and teaching good habits for the future. Different-colored fruits and vegetables provide different amounts of vitamins and minerals, so eating a different color of the rainbow each day of the week is a fun challenge.

Early competitive athletes: Youth athletes advancing beyond recreational play are ready to take nutrition to the next level. Now, the emphasis should be on reducing junk food and opting for healthy after-school snacks. Snack choices such as pretzels with grapes, string cheese and almonds, bananas and peanut butter or cucumber ham discs are all smarter choices than snack crackers to fuel early competitive athletes.

High school competition: People at this age often fail to consume a well-balanced breakfast and consume enough healthy calories at this age. Understanding the role of protein, carbohydrates and a healthy fat to start the day is beneficial for these athletes, as well as knowing the consequences of poor performance if they go into practice under-fueled. Eggs with avocado toast, Greek yogurt with granola and oatmeal with a berry walnut topping are a few delicious and balanced options.

Active adults: This age group should be focusing on nutrient-dense foods that help with optimal performance, efficient recovery, decreasing inflammation and reducing risk of disease. Oatmeal, salmon, blueberries and spinach are loaded with antioxidants and nutrient-rich components to enable active adults to perform at the top of their level.

Collegiate and pro athletes: Focusing on proper nutrition can provide a competitive advantage over opponents. Implementing a detailed nutrition plan specific to individualized needs will enhance all aspects of performance. Nutrient timing, fuel-specific training demands, protein-to-carb-recovery ratio and specific supplementation are all areas to address for improving performance at this age group.

Nutrition solutions

A registered dietitian who specializes in sports performance can help athletes of all ages and active adults cater nutrition plans to specific sports, training schedules and performance goals.

TCO offers nutrition solutions at its Burnsville and Eden Prairie locations that are customized to improve sports performance, energy, bone health, weight and overall physical well-being. The experienced dietitians take a scientifically proven approach that complement TCO’s innovative physical therapy services. To learn more, check out the Sports Performance page on the TCO website or email