Nutrition is important in general but especially so for high performance athletes. The rigorous training grapplers put their bodies through requires good nutrition to rebuild. After hard training toiling in the kitchen is the last thing I want to do, so I focus on meal planning and preparation.
Strategic Meal Planning And Preparation
Plan the next 5 day’s meals.
Planning ahead on meals minimizes frantic emergency grocery store runs, eating out, and nutritional imbalances. I cook meals in a big enough portions to have leftovers to help fill in other days with convenient home cooked food.
When preparing meals I focus on ways to save cook time. If I am making chicken enchiladas one day, I may chose to make Chicken And Dumplings the next. The 30 minute process of boiling chicken can be done on the same day, and I can just refrigerate the extra portion to use on the Chicken and Dumplings.
I always keep a few “quick meal” options on hand. (One of my current favorites is frozen pasta that can be ready in 10 minutes, or a tub of chicken salad which can become a sandwich in seconds) They aren’t always the healthiest, but sometimes my meal planning won’t work out how I imagined and they are cheaper and healthier than eating out.
Balance Your Nutrition
I am not a dietician but I try to lay out well balanced meals as I understand them. My meals are about 1/4 protein, 1/2 fruits and veggies and the remaining 1/4 carbohydrates during intense training. Sometimes I will shift the protein to the largest portion if my body is feeling depleted.
Most of my protein is chicken or fish. It seems to digest faster in my system. Once every few weeks I crave red meat and eat that as well. I use ground turkey instead of ground beef in almost everything I make.
I avoid processed food as much as possible (enriched, bleached, processed). A good piece of advice is eat mostly just the food found around the edges of a grocery store. These tend to be fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy. The middle aisles is where things like Cap’n Crunch live which have minimal nutritional value because of processing and don’t belong in meal planning.
Have your groceries delivered
Ordering my groceries from Hy-Vee and having them delivered to me was one of the best decisions of 2016 for me. Every time I go to the store it seems to take an hour and a half to 2 hours by the time I drive, shop, checkout, and unpack.
Now I can order everything online in 20 minutes, and have it delivered to my door the next day (for FREE if it is less than $100, or 5 measly dollars otherwise). That extra hour and a half I don’t have to spend at the store is an entire extra class every week or two I have time to attend!
If you aren’t currently having your groceries delivered spend some time doing research to see if there is somewhere in your area that does. Seriously. Don’t wait. This is one of the biggest payoffs to making a meal plan in advance.
Protein / Meal Replacement Shakes
I am not really a breakfast person. It seems I can be awake for a few hours before I start to feel like I even want any food. Because of my fast metabolism I find that if I don’t get breakfast I crash later in the day.
I found that I could drink protein or breakfast shakes in the morning before I was hungry. This helps get my body going early and also helps give me the calories I will need. Before I started drinking some of my nutrition I found that I would occasionally run out of gas in training because I hadn’t eaten enough.
I take a handful of vitamins every morning. These include a multivitamin and a cocktail of other vitamins that I find lacking in my diet.
If I didn’t prepare the vitamins ahead of time, I would probably never take them. I prepare a month at a time. I lay out a counter full of small zip lock bags and fill each bag with the vitamins for a day. In the morning there is very little friction to taking my vitamins so I am more likely to do it.