Sports and Nutrition-The Winning Connection
Don't Let Your Diet Let You Down

Your Training Table Guide

myPyramid.govHow can you tell if your diet is stacking up? Nutritionists have developed a food-guide system in the shape of a pyramid that can help you rate or evaluate your diet. This guide divides food into five groups on the basis of the nutrients each group provides. By eating the recommended amounts of food from each group daily, you can greatly increase your ability to get all the nutrients your body needs--and that will improve your ability on the playing field.

Here is some additional information about the food groups that can help you improve your diet.

Food Group Major Nutrients Supplied Recommended Amounts for Teenbage Athletes
Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese Group (Milk, yogurt, and all types of cheese) Provides calcium. Also contains protein, vitamin A, and riboflavin (B2). 3 servings daily.

1 serving is

  • an 8 ounce glass of milk
  • 8 ounces of yogurt
  • 1 1/2 ounces of natural, unprocessed cheese
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts Group (Beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish, eggs, dry peas, dry beans, peanuts, peanut butter) Good source of protein. These foods also contain thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin, iron, and zinc. 2 to 3 servings daily.

1 serving is

  • 3 ounces of lean, cooked meat
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of cooked dry beans, peas, or lentils
  • 4 tablespoons of peanut butter
Vegetable Group (All vegetables--including dark green, deep yellow, and starchy vegetables--and their juices) Provides vitamins and minerals that complement other food sources. Good sources of Vitamin C include tomatoes, broccoli, and brussel sprouts. Good sources of Vitamin A include carrots, broccoli, spinach, greens, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes. 3 to 5 servings daily.

1 serving is

  • 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables
  • 1/2 cup of chopped raw vegetables
  • 1 cup of leafy raw vegetables such as lettuce or spinach
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) of juice
Fruit Group (All fruits and their juices) Good source of many vitamins and minerals. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits and their juices, melons, and strawberries. Apricots are good sources of vitamin A. 2 to 4 servings daily.

1 serving is

  • 1 whole fruit such as a medium apple, banana, or orange
  • 1/2 grapefruit
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) of juice
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of berries
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of cooked or canned fruit
  • 1/4 cup of dried fruit
Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta Group (All whole-grain and enriched breads and cereals, such as cooked or ready to eat cereals, bread, macaroni, grits, spaghetti, crackers, noodles, and rice) Contributes complex carbohydrates (starch and fiber) and significant amounts of protein, B vitamins, and iron. 6 to 11 servings daily.

1 serving is

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1/2 hamburger bun or English muffin
  • 1 small roll, biscuit, or muffin
  • 3 to 4 small or 2 large crackers
  • 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta
  • 1 ounce ready-to-eat breakfast cereal

*To meet increased energy needs, most teen athletes require more than the minimum number of servings listed. In some cases, a teen athlete may need more than the recommended number of servings. For most athletes, the increased energy should come from the vegetable group and the bread, cereal, rice, and pasta group. Foods in these two groups contain a lot of starch, which is an excellent source of food energy. Athletes who participate in very high levels of physical activity and/or who have the largest body stature will require the highest intake of food energy.

Nutrient-dense foods in the Grains, Fruit and Vegetable, Dairy and Meat groups provide the essential parts of a healthy diet.  In addition to these foods, there are foods that are more like treats or special occasion foods. They provide calories and some nutrients. But not as many nutrients per calorie as other low-fat foods. These include foods such as butter, margarine, sweets, jellies, and high-fat snack foods. Go easy on these foods and get your energy from foods that are more nutritious. Your body needs the additional vitamins and minerals to help it use energy. Make the MyPyramid ( system the basis of your training table.

Next: Questions Asked by Young Athletes



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