The following is a list of what to do as a daily regimen.
* Eat approximately every three to four hours to maintain steady blood sugar and aid in physical and mental recovery.
* Eat complex carbohydrates (starches). Starchy foods such as pasta, wheat bread, whole grain cereals, brown rice, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, and vegetables provide a major energy source to fuel your activities. These foods are also a source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients – the health protective substances in plant foods. The more fiber the better.
* Choose protein sources from turkey, chicken, eggs, fish, lean cuts of beef, tofu, low fat cottage cheese.
* Choose healthy fat sources from nuts, avocadoes and cold-water fish. Eat 40 to100 grams of fat per day. If you do not get enough of these, take an essential fatty acid supplement or fish oil supplement (one to two tablespoons each day).
* Keep drinking water or sport drinks to maintain hydration while training. Try to avoid water-like substances such as Kool-Aid, sodas, juice or lemonade. Although these may contain water and some carbohydrates, they also contain a greater amount of the wrong type of carbohydrate source (table sugar and/or fructose), which can ultimately lead to gastrointestinal distress (i.e. diarrhea) and decreased performance.
* Eat a diet that consists of a wide variety of foods by keeping in mind the basic food groups. It is the best insurance for getting needed nutrients.
* Consume 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. High fiber foods include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and cereals. Read labels, and be aware of fiber content in everything you eat.
* Avoid high-fructose corn syrup and excessive table sugar, even when trying to gain weight. These include candy, juices, desserts, baked goods, etc. This will ultimately result in excess body fat.
* Use meal replacement shakes, fruit smoothies or bars whenever possible. Always keep bars available, such as in a book bag, gym bag, purse, glove compartment, locker, or wherever poor nutrition might be the alternative such as at a competition. Try an assortment of brands to see which you like.
* Limit alcohol consumption, including red wine, to one drink per week. The potential antioxidant benefits of red wine do not out way the risks of gastrointestinal cancers and liver distress. A daily intake of many veggies and some fruit will take care of that much better.
* Take a multivitamin/mineral supplement in the form of a gel capsule, not a tablet or liquid.
Once you have accomplished the above guidelines as a lifestyle, you will be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
When shopping, you should rarely find yourself going down the aisles. No more than twice, and that should be to buy a high fiber cereal or an occasional diet soda. Also, just because cold beer is on the outside of the supermarket does not make it fair game (see above recommendation regarding alcohol).