5 Tips for Eating For High Performance

Nutrition, Nutritionist

5 Tips for Eating For High Performance

What, when and how much you eat can have a dramatic 
effect on your stamina, performance and recovery.  
Eat food that boosts your performance and helps with muscle recovery. 
Follow our tips through each food group and add more power 
to your work-out.

DID YOU KNOW? Flaxseed oil provides essential protein for the body and is considered to be a complete amino acid. Complete amino acids are essential for a healthy metabolism and can also help with the absorption of nutrients.
Replace salad dressing with cold pressed flax seed oil.

Carbohydrate -rich foods offer the best fuel for energy and are a perfect choice for athletes.
Carbs convert into blood glucose and provide energy if needed, or they are stored as glycogen in the liver and muscle. Note the difference between slow and fast burning carbohydrates.


o Eat carbs at every meal.
o Make breakfast important: Eat whole unrefined food like oats, muesli or peanut butter on toast
o Make lunch your main meal: Experiment with pasta, rice, grains, couscous, polenta, mielie meal, lentils and beans
o Snack in between: Choose carbohydrate-rich options like bananas, flapjacks, baked beans on toast, popcorn, hummus

Slow-burning carbs (low to medium G.I.)
These are carbs that are absorbed gradually into the body and will keep energy levels topped up for longer making them ideal for endurance and training. They include wholegrain breads; wholefood cereals like oats; pasta, pulses, Basmati rice; fruit and veg; nuts and seeds

Fast-acting carbs (high G.I.)
These are rapidly absorbed by the body and provide an instant energy rush. Not recommended for keeping sustained energy levels but can quickly replenish energy if needed. Honey, dates, raisons, glucose, energy drinks, sugar.

Vitamins and minerals are key when training a lot. They help you release energy effectively and keep immunity healthy. Use colour as a good indicator; choose a variety of brightly coloured fruit and veg to get an ample amount of anti-oxidants and important components like beta-carotene, vitamin C, fibre and folic acid

o Make fruit an integral part of breakfast
o Snack on a raw carrot, celery, plums or berries, dried apricots or even a yellow pepper, dip veg snacks into hummus for added taste
o Include salad ingredients with every meal, chop up a side salad or make sauces and pesto by blending fresh ingredients. Try fresh tomato and basil, mango and mint or slice cucumber and add yoghurt.
o Vegetable soups can be eaten cold or warm: try butternut, spinach, pea, carrot or a mixture of everything.

Protein helps repair damaged muscles and adds power to the body. Eat skinless chicken, lean meat or fish. If you are vegetarian go for eggs, cheese, nuts or pulses.

o Eat chicken, lean meat or fish at least 3 times a week
o Make it low fat by grilling
o Get enough iron with lean steak, mussels, liver or spinach
o Eat a handful of nuts daily or add seeds to salad or cereals

Are you getting enough calcium? It doesn’t have to be from dairy products although milk and cheese provide protein alongside Vitamins A and B12, molasses also have a store of calcium and minerals. Lots of soya based products are calcium enriched. If lactose intolerant you can fortify your diet with spinach, broccoli, oily fish and almonds.

o Use lighter cheeses like ricotta or cottage, add them to pasta or salads
o Make yoghurt the base of your dressings and sauces
o Use cow, soya, or rice milk to mix into smoothies
o If using cream and butter, make sure they are from free ranging, grain fed sources.

There are good fats and bad fats; choose unsaturated fats and avoid saturated fats.
Saturated means butter, full cream milk, ice cream, cheese and hydrogenated vegetable oils found in food like pastry, cakes and biscuits. If you have to eat these foods, keep them to a minimum as they can raise blood cholesterol and are generally not heart-friendly.
Good oils and fats
These are mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated Omega 3 and omega 6 (found in oily fish, nuts, seeds, cold-presses vegetable oils). These fats reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and many other disease conditions.

o Reduce pastries, ice-creams and food with saturated fats and increase the unsaturated fats.
o Eat oily fish like tuna and mackerel, make them into fish cakes if that’s easier.
o Use cold pressed oils to dress salads or vegetable dishes. Flax seed oil, walnut, avocado, rapeseed, olive and sesame are all rich sources of good fats.

Eat for performance

People often make the mistake of thinking that because they train they can easily afford to eat doughnuts and cheesecake. We love the idea of eating treats but believe the healthy versions taste just as nice. Try it out yourself by experimenting with ingredients like carob and cacao and add beneficial additions to your chocolate brownies like hemp, maca or flax seed.

Yes, you can have your cake and eat it. A whole range of gluten-free bakes cook into treats as delicious as their wheat free counterparts. Eat the treats you want like flapjacks, muffins and chocolate brownies without symptoms of intolerance.

BAKING TIP: If you love baking and want to decrease the amount of butter and oil – Chia seeds are the perfect solution. Soaked Chia seeds turn into a gel that can substitute half the butter in most recipes. The food will bake into the same consistency and will taste just as good. 
The anti-oxidants in Chia will help keep the food tasting fresh longer. Use this substitute for cookies, cakes, muffins, pancakes and waffles.

Find ways to use cacao powder, cacoa nibs, chia seeds, hemp powder, maca powder, spirulina and super powered additives. Raw cacao is a powerful anti-oxidant, hemp powder is highly beneficial to the immune system and Chia seeds help keep your colon clean and blood sugar balanced. Add them to smoothies, salads, sandwiches or whichever medium is taste appropriate.

Oats are filling, have a low glycaemic index and provide sustained energy. Nairns have a range of oatcakes, muesli and porridge for wheat-free goodness.

Flax seed powder can be added to cereals or smoothies for extra fibre. They are known to increase a feeling of satiation and are beneficial in weight loss. Flax will also keep the colon healthy.

Aloe Vera juice is the ultimate tonic. It has a soothing effect on the digestive tract and excellent for ulcers, constipation, haemorrhoids and colon problems.

Whole grains
Try alternative breads like rye, pumpernickel, linseed, muesli, mixed cereals and essene.
Mestemacher have international speciality breads with whole grains. All their breads carry organic certification.

Meat free
Lentils, rice and chickpeas can be made into satisfying dahls, breyani and stews, mixed with spices and herbs.

Check out our healthy recipes here

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