You are what you eat. Nothing rings more true than when trying to develop a diet while being sidelined with an injury. Think to yourself: what do I need to fuel and aid in my recovery process? It may be easy to think of decreasing your caloric intake due to your physical limitations, but you may need more and it may be more important to think about what to eat instead. For example, with less intense training look to decrease carbohydrates and fats in your diet and trade it in for lean meats and fresh produce. Here are some examples:
Steak—red meat is packed with iron & essential proteins to rebuild injured tissues
Lean hamburgers—similar advantages to steak and also easy to find 90% lean ground beef at the store vs going to a fast-food restaurant with all their hidden calories and temptations.
Seafood—fatty fish like tuna, salmon, & trout are packed with protein, Omega 3s, and healthy fats promote your body’s natural processes. Low zinc levels have been shown to slow healing, so add shellfish to increase zinc levels.
Eggs & Toast—breakfast is the most important meal. Fueling your body right first thing in the morning can start a nutritional cascade to your day. A combination of eggs and whole-grain toast provides protein, carbohydrates, fiber, healthy fat, and a mix of vitamins and minerals.
Mixed nuts—packed with rare minerals, protein, and healthy fats, mixed nuts are a healthy snack alternative to aid in recovery.
Mixed berries—berries are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and rare minerals that aid in the healing process. Fruit salads or fruit mixed berry-based smoothies would be great additions to your diet while recovering.
Citrus smoothies—adding citrus to your smoothies like oranges or pineapples can improve healing and the immune system. Compliment your smoothies with mixed berries, bananas, and yogurt.
Colorful salads—trade your traditional lettuce for spinach, kale, arugula, and other leafy greens to increase your calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D intake. Double your fun by adding colorful bell peppers, onions, purple cabbage, radishes, dried fruit, and mixed nuts to elevate your salad.
Sweet potatoes—a superfood rich with fiber, iron, calcium, selenium, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, beta-carotene vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C.
Broccoli—a versatile vegetable that is rich in fiber, calcium, and vitamin D.
Blog information by: Alyssa Small MS, ATC - West Side High School