Playing a long day of Pickleball requires the right fuel. Food that keeps you going strong and prevents your muscles from cramping during or after the game.
Here are 5 superfoods the top athletes are eating to make sure they are playing at their optimal level:
"I used to think Super Foods are the foods with weird names that athletes buy in the specialty food stores. Now I see how simply 'sprinkling' these into my existing diet can improve my game."
Let's start off with something we've all known and loved since we were kids. Bananas aren't just delicious, they also pack a ton of energy. Consuming two bananas before a Pickleball game can last you 1 to 2 hours of energy. They are high in potassium (reduce blood pressure), Vitamin B6 (for metabolism, mood), Vitamin C (for your liver, immune system, skin) and fiber. Some fun ways to incorporate bananas into your diet include adding slices to your cereal, blended into smoothies, and baked into bread.
These vegetables and potato alternatives are not only deliciously nutritious, they are also an excellent source of fiber, Vitamin A (for your eyes), and Vitamin C (for your liver, immune system, skin). Sweet potatoes help regulate blood sugar levels which is essential for Pickleball athletes. Consuming the right kind of energy will eliminate blood sugar level spikes that we often get from other workout beverages. These potatoes can be baked and added to salads, served as wedges, or even mashed.
If you're feeling hungry between Pickleball games, this one snack will give you energy while staving off those food cravings. One handful of almonds (8-9 nuts) is is about 1/8th of your protein needs for the day. These nuts are high in Vitamin E (for skin), Vitamin B (for metabolism), Calcium (for your bones, teeth), and Magnesium (for blood pressure, stress relief). Best way to add these nuts into your diet are snacking as is, adding almond milk / butter into smoothies or slivered into salads and cereals.
These ancient grains have been eaten since the time of the aztecs and they are small but mighty. Chia seeds are high in fibre, iron (for your red blood cells), and calcium (for your bones, teeth). They are also sources of protein which enables a slow release of energy as you play Pickleball. Though they are tiny grains, these seeds can absorb up to 27 times their weight in water which helps you feel fuller for longer. Chia seeds can be sprinkled on cereal and salads, soaked into pudding, or blended into smoothies. Two tablespoons a day is all that you need. A word to the wise - chia seeds absorb water and should not be eaten "dry". When adding to food make sure they have a couple minutes to soak up the surrounding liquid in the food. When eating chia seeds with medication, test out how your body will react by eating a little at first.
These nutty flavored seeds are full of protein and iron (for your red blood cells). Unfortunately, you cannot get high off of the hemp seeds. They are purely used for energy and nutrition. You can buy these seeds as "hemp hearts" or "hemp seeds" at any large grocery chain stores. They can be sprinkled into cereal, yogurt or salads. For a fun recipe you can also add them into dessert energy bites with this no bake recipe.
Just like you wouldn't put lower grade gas into your car, your body requires higher level fuel from "super foods". We presented several top Super Foods that athletes consume today to play their best at Pickleball.
What super foods keep you going all day? Comment below with your suggestions.