What an athlete eats in a day



Football player and track runner Roman Laster (10) holds out his essential whey vanilla protein powder and favorite snacks: Gatorade Whey Protein Bar and Nature’s Garden Snack Mix.

Imagine you are a track runner and you have a big race tomorrow. What are you planning to eat for breakfast? What about the night before? Are you going to pack snacks?

It is important to start off the day with a nutritious meal, so Roman Laster (10), who plays football and runs track, makes sure his most important meal provides fuel for his body and brain.

“[I eat] three main meals and snacks in between, [but for breakfast I eat] whatever I cooked: sausage, eggs [and] toast,” Laster said.

Since athletes like Laster have sports practices and games after school, it is important to eat and have energy because a lack of nutrition causes dizziness and lightheadedness which leads to fainting. Consuming a balanced amount of key vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins and fats can optimize one’s performance and improve their overall health. 

“I used to eat school lunch, but after a while, I started packing my own lunch which consists of sandwiches whether it’s ham and cheese or peanut butter and nuts, fruits and protein bars,” Laster said.

Some people do not recognize the importance of eating dinner. After a long day of activities and movements, the body is able to refuel through carbohydrates which provide essential energy. Studies have shown that a healthy dinner is the source of stable blood sugar, good sleep and lower inflation.

“[I prefer] to eat chicken, bacon and beef [because] they have a lot of carbs,” weightlifter Marco Villa (10) said.

Eating a healthy snack increases nutrient intake and balances glucose levels between meals. Snacks are easy to carry around in backpacks and lunchboxes, making it convenient to consume some nutrition during school hours.

“[For snacks] I mostly eat fruit snacks or nuts such as pumpkin seeds, almonds and cashews,” Laster said.

Suggestions from parents, coaches and experts can be beneficial in creating a balanced diet.

“My parents suggest that I eat healthier and not always snack on chips,” Laster said. “My coach says the same things but gives more specifics, [such as eating] something that has more carbs.”

Getting enough protein is also necessary for those who want to strengthen their muscles. Lifters such as Justin De Guzman (11) believe that consuming some type of protein will help them gain muscle mass. 

“I drink my protein shake after a meal two or three times a week,” De Guzman said. “I see it as an easy way to get protein in and [help] my muscle recovery.”

Villa customizes his own shake by adding the essentials and fruits he enjoys. 

“I try to drink a protein shake once every two days,” Villa said. “I [like it with] banana, milk, protein powder and ice.”

Avoiding or limiting high-fat dairy or excess sugar can help to maintain a balanced diet. Eating too much of such food may lead to stomach discomfort and heartburn. The feeling of sluggishness limits the athlete’s performances at their sport events.

“I try [to avoid] chips, sodas, ice cream and candies [to minimize my sugar],” Villa said.

However, an athlete’s diet is not always limiting and cutting all delicious foods. There are tasty foods that are still nutritionally adequate. 

“[My favorite meals are] mac and cheese, catfish, salmon and rice because those consist of things I need and plus it tastes good,” Laster said.