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Top Athlete Nutrition Foods for Greater Performance and Energy Maximization.

As the athlete nutrition section states, what you eat can help you to become a better player as well. Here are some top athletic foods that are a few of my (as well as my past trainers') recommendations...
"Whole" Top Sports Nutrition Foods Overview
  1. Acai Berry
  2. Bananas
  3. Oranges
  4. Yogurt
  5. Oatmeal
  6. Salmon
  7. Tuna
  8. Whole-wheat Pasta
  9. Sweet Potatoes
  10. Blueberries
Note: Lists in No Particular Order

"Combination" Top Athlete Nutrition Foods Overview

  1. Smoothies
  2. "Superfood"
  3. Protein (GNC/Muscle Milk)
  4. Instant Breakfast

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"Whole/Natural" Top Foods for Athlete Nutrition

Bananas are a diverse fruit that can be added to a number of your dishes. Because they can be combined with other sports foods (along with their sole benefits) makes them one of the top athlete nutrition foods. They are also one of the more filling fruits that can be enjoyed alone to help you between your larger meals. An average banana would have about 108 calories, and is a good source of carbs and fiber (27+g and nearly 3g, respectively).

It's greatest nutritional value, however, may be the banana's 467 mg of potassium, helping to prevent cramping and promote cardiovascular health, as well as bone health. Other benefits include protecting your eyesight and promoting kidney health. They are also available year-round for reasonable prices.

Oranges provide both a quick energy boost and energy that sustained for a period of time to help you through your game or workout, this is the main reason for them being included on the list of athlete nutrition top foods. Oranges are a good source of energy-sustaining fiber and vitamin C, as well as phytonutrients that have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Of course, as most know, oranges will also help your immune system.

When you have a choice, though, choose to consume the fruit instead of just the juice, especially those filled with sugar and aren't 100% juice. The spongy inner layer (somewhat white in color) that lies directly under the skin of the orange has a great deal of the nutrients, so make sure to eat that part to.

Yogurt is somewhat of a "superfood" in its own right. Perhaps the most diverse of the top athlete nutrition foods, yogurt gives you energy, helps prevent fatigue, boosts your immunity, helps build and strengthen bones, and helps to rebuild muscle. The regular ones are fine, as they're already 99% fat free, and you want the calories available. Make sure to get yogurt with "live active cultures," to. It is available year-round at inexpensive rates and a very convenient, tasty snack at any time. You can also add other top athlete nutrition foods to this nutritious food.

As with yogurt, you can also add other top sports foods to oatmeal. Oatmeal by itself, though, is very beneficial in terms of athlete nutrition. First, it provides a great deal of energy producing carbohydrates (the kind that sustains energy for longer periods of time). It also helps to prevent and/or reduce the effects of not only diabetes, but also asthma, a common problem among youth athletes. Finally, cardiovascular health (of course important for athletes) is promoted.

The aforementioned are, of course, more geared toward athletic benefits, but other overall health benefits include lowering cholesterol, boosting immunity, and protecting against breast cancer.

Salmon is also a great food for athletes. Not only is it packed with protein, but also the "good" fat that is mentioned in the caloric intake breakdown that athletes need. This good fat is the Omega Three Essential Fatty Acids that promote health, but can't be produced by the body.

Salmon is on most all lists of top foods for athletes. This is mostly from the excellent source of Omega Three Essential Fatty Acids, but it also provides protein (as mentioned), niacin, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and B12. All of these contribute to salmon promoting overall cardiovascular health and preventing things such as stroke and heart attack.

Tuna is another of the fish foods on the top athletic foods list. As with salmon, this is because tuna is a great source of Omega Three Essential Fatty Acids. It is also a nutrient-dense food full of protein, magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins niacin, B1 and B6. Tuna has pretty much the same benefits that salmon does of cardiovascular health improvement and stroke and heart attack prevention.

Whole-Wheat Pasta
This is somewhat of a general top sports food. I say this because you can pick and choose what type of whole-wheat pasta you use in your meals, such as spaghetti vs. penne. I've been eating whole-wheat pasta for a few years now, and I can tell you that I can't taste the difference (and couldn't when I first switched over).

Whole-wheat pasta is best for athletes when they are loading on carbs one or two days before their event. "True" whole-wheat pasta will provide good carbs, fiber, fiber, and a little protein (but you should add a protein to your pasta with something like the tuna or salmon previous mentioned). There are also some studies suggesting that whole grains will help prevent and reduce the effects of childhood asthma.

Just be aware that products may not be "true" whole-wheat. Check the package to make sure that the ingredients don't include "enriched" wheat flour, which strips the nutrients away.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes may sound like a strange vegetable to be included as one of the top athletic foods, especially since it isn't a green vegetable. Sweet potatoes are very rich in nutrients, one of the most important being iron, which is important to your body to help produce oxygen during exercise. They also help aid in muscle recovery through their anti-oxidents such as Vitamins C & E. They also are the best source of beta carotene (more than any other fruit or vegetable).

Blueberries are similar to Acai Berries, but much easier to obtain (especially in whole fruit form). Blueberries have both energy-providing and energy-sustaining fiber and carbohydrates. They also provide a great deal of antioxidants to enhance immunity. As with other sports nutrition top foods, they can be mixed or added with other foods to make a more nutritious meal.

Other Good Choices
Green vegetables (spinich, broccoli, romaine lettuce, etc.); apples; grapes; lean chicken breast; cottage cheese; hard-boiled eggs; other fruits and vegetables.

Top "Complex" Top Athlete Nutrition Foods

Smoothies are kind of a "catch-all" for a number of top athlete nutrition foods. They usually consist of some kind of berry, yogurt, bananas and ice (or frozen fruit). Because the nutritional benefits of berries such as the acai (you can usually find them in smoothie frozen fruit blends) or blueberries are combined with the potassium and energy of bananas and the live active cultures of yogurt, smoothies are a great combination food for athletes.

Not only are smoothies most often combinations of top healthy foods, they are a tasty alternative to less healthy foods such as ice cream. This healthy alternative is like a treat that can feed your sweet tooth.

The other great thing about this athletic food is that you can also get creative and make any kind of smoothie that you want, so there's some variety. Have fun with it and find unique blends that you like. One other thing you can do is add grains or oatmeal (yet another top athlete nutrition food) to make them more of a "meal replacement."

Enough about the benefits, explore some smoothie recipes here to make one now or later.

Get your Wheybolic Protein from GNC.com below. Search "Stack" for great deals on complete workout bundles.

Recommended: the "Get Strong" stack. It's a great deal!

You can also get Muscle Milk from GNC.com below. Search for flavor or type (light, etc.)

Protein (GNC or Muscle Milk)
Protein is very important for athletes, especially if you're training. I have two favorites: GNC Ampliphied Wheybolic and Muscle Milk. I really just get what's got the best deal at the time I purchase.

GNC Pro Performance Wheybolic
I actually started using GNC Pro Performance Amp protein after making a trip to my local GNC and speaking with the salesman there. It happened to be a better deal at the time so I gave it a try, and now I'm hooked. It actually tastes really good (at least the Chocolate one), and mixes fairly easily. I'll even have it as a meal replacement sometimes, usually at breakfast. And it happens to be in a lot of the workout stacks (much better deals) at GNC.com.

Now for the technical stuff: Everything about this protein is designed to get you better results. The ingredients are blended for ideal muscle absorption, both through faster absorption of everything, as well as a higher percentage of absorption of the beneficial ingredients. The absorption provides more fuel for the muscles, supporting muscle growth and recovery.

All of this leads to a more effective supplement that helps to increase strength, muscle size, and stamina. They actually claim 30% increase in strength and 100% increase in exercise efficiency (in other words, you can get the same results in half the sets on this stuff as you would without it). I'll leave the rest of the description to GNC and the product to speak for itself. I love it, and I recommend it.

Muscle Milk
Now on to Muscle Milk -- Muscle Milk is a protein from CytoSport. When I say Muscle Milk is one of the best athlete nutrition foods, I'm actually talking about a number of Muscle Milk products, it just depends on your goals. There are a few products:

  1. Muscle Milk® (original)
  2. Muscle Milk® Light (less fat and fewer calories)
  3. Monster Milk® (more protein for bigger muscle gains)
These Muscle Milk products taste great, and I've also used them as a meal replacement for breakfast at times when I've been running late for work. Three things I love about these products are that they have a wide variety of tasty flavors, they have some convenient "on-the-go" products, and that you can choose to either mix them with water or milk, depending on the amount of calories and nutrients you want.

Muscle Milk® is an evolutionary muscle formula that promotes efficient fat burning, increased strength, lean muscle growth and fast recovery from exercise.

Designed after one of nature's most balanced foods: human mother's milk, Muscle Milk takes the guesswork out of high performance nutrition, delivering a precise blend of ultra-premium proteins, complex carbohydrates, functional fats, vitamins and minerals. No matter what your goals may be - building lean body mass, toning your physique, or weight control, Muscle Milk delivers on both results and taste!

Instant Breakfast
Instant breakfast is a powder that you add milk to to create a "complete nutrition" drink, usually in the morning. It is convenient and provides a great deal of nutrition for athletes. It's great for right before or after workouts, as well as a quick breaksfast. A great deal of carbohydrates are provided for energy, as well as some protein for muscle recovery.

You can also create instant breakfast "smoothies" for lack of a better word. My friend had a great idea by throwing a banana and ice in a blender with instant breakfast and milk to make it a little more filling and provide a little more nutrition. It's just another convenient nutrition-rich food that you can get creative with and include in your diet.

More Top Athlete Nutrition Food Info...

Note that another great source for more top nutritious foods and their benefits is so comprehensive, I can't really provide nearly the in-depth information without just referring you to the website for you to find more healthy athlete nutrition foods. Check out the recommendations here, then go to the world's healthiest foods.

Sports Supplements
Supplements can help you with your athlete nutrition, check out these top legal supplements.

Smoothie Recipes
Help get yourself a combination of the top athlete nutrition foods with these smoothie recipes.

Go to Sports Nutrition
If you missed it, check out some sports nutrition tips on caloric breakdown for optimal performance.

Basketball Conditioning
Take your new-found stamina/endurance from sports nutrition further with some basketball conditioning.

Core Exercises
As with conditioning, core strength can also improve your performance along with your sports nutrition.

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