Fast Foods for Gymnasts
Fast foods are often FAT foods! Too many fat calories
get in the way of eating enough carbohydrates. If you
eat too few carbohydrates, you lose energy for sports
performance. Carbohydrate foods include bread, rice, pasta,
fruits, vegetables and beans. Fat takes longer to digest
than carbohydrates, which means you should cut down on
high-fat pre-game snacks or meals. You don’t want to be
sluggish, throw up or have stomach cramps during sports.
Thick crust pizza tastes great and provides lots of carbohydrate.
The cheese also gives you calcium. Pepperoni or other
greasy meats add fat, so try veggie varieties, meatballs
or plain cheese.
Try to order burgers with extra tomatoes and lettuce.
Hold the sauce. If you’re in the mood for fries, choose
the small size.
Roasted or grilled chicken dinners are definitely better
than fried chicken. But there’s still a lot of fat in
the skin. So remove the skin before you start munching.
Pasta (spaghetti or noodles with meat/poultry/veggies),
chilli, hearty soups are mmm good!
Salad bars can offer healthy high carbohydrate meals.
Ask for extra broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, beans or other
colourful veggies on top of your salad. Go easy on the
salad dressing; you may add nearly 400 calories of fat!
Or try diet dressing. Enjoy whole grain rolls or pasta
salads. Be careful of cream sauce.
When you order deli sandwiches, emphasize the bread and
veggies. Go light on the spread. Choose whole grain breads
to add fibre.
Wraps and pita sandwiches are a new trend in fast foods
and they can be low or high in fat calories depending
on the ingredients. Choose wraps that are filled with
lots of fresh vegetables, as well as meat or cheese. Watch
out for high fat toppings which soak the wrap with calories.
• DON’T supersize it! Supersize means more high-fat food
and extra calories! Don’t get sucked into the trap of
ordering food you don’t want or need, even if it seems
like a bargain. Let a teammate supersize while you order
a simple sandwich. Then you can both share the fries.
• Soft drinks are high in sugar, but do provide energy.
Diet drinks supply fluid, but no nutritional value. Better
choices are juices, seltzer, and low-fat milk, hot cocoa
or just plain water! As an athlete, it’s important to
keep well-hydrated. If you like soda pop, caffeine-free
(non-cola) types are best. Ask about low-fat shakes; if
it doesn’t say milkshake, there’s no milk in it!
• Order things “your way". Ask for salad dressing
on the side, extra veggies and bread, or "hold the
sauce". This will lower your fat intake and guarantee
the freshness of your meal. Why? Because a special order
must always be made on the spot.
• Everyone knows fresh fruits and vegetables are good
for you. But it’s hard to find them at fast food restaurants.
Baked potatoes are great, but can be sabotaged with gobs
of sour cream, bacon or other high-fat spreads. Go light
on the toppings (just enough to add flavour or try hot
sauce/salsa, mustard, veggies or light cheese on top).
Don’t be afraid to bring fruits or juices with you to
• Don’t scarf the meal down! If you take your time, your
stomach will holler "I’m full!" before you overeat.
• Fast foods are often high in salt (sodium), which may
cause you to retain fluid. This can temporarily increase
your weight, making you feel bloated. The carbonation
in soft drinks can make you feel bloated too! Balance
fast food meals with healthier, fresher food choices.
• What about breakfast? Pancakes with syrup or hot/cold
cereal are great breakfast choices. Eggs and toast/ biscuits
are good too; just limit the fatty bacon or sausage.
• If you go to a certain fast food place all the time,
ask for a nutrition breakdown of their food, so you can
make smart choices. Sometimes you’ll find a chart posted
on the wall. If you eat an overall healthy diet and only
occasionally go to fast food restaurants