How to Create a Basketball Diet
There’s an old saying that you are what you eat and this is so true for basketball players and their basketball diet. There’s a little hyperbole there, but for the most part it rings true for almost everything in life. In particular, what a player eats will make a huge impact on athletic performance. We really are the sum total of the kinds of food we eat, and by making changes in our diet we can create changes in our performance. So the big question is, what exactly goes into creating a basketball diet?
First and foremost one needs to consider the issue of protein. Given that muscle is primarily created from protein, the importance in sports should be obvious. One common mistake that people make is from the idea that they can magically add muscle by adding protein to a diet. In reality, one’s activity level dictates how much protein the body will both need and use. Adding more protein on top of the existing needs will have minimal benefit.
The reason one should focus on that aspect of protein is because the sport’s world is filled with claims about protein supplements. Protein supplements can be useful, but when possible it’s always best to simply get one’s nutrition from food. You can build muscle without using supplements. Our body has lived in tune with nutritional sources in nature for the history of humanity. Often times what exists in nature has a balance to it that we only later find out we need. Again, to go with the protein example consider iron. Iron is as essential to forming blood as protein is to forming muscle. Most foods that are high in protein are also high in iron, and this helps work together to help our growth and performance. If either is taken in isolation however, the total effect can be lessened.
An issue with this strategy is that it can be hard to determine the best balance of nutrients from all sources. Something which surprises many people is that the answer isn’t to concentrate on meat sources. Instead, it’s the vegetable kingdom which will supply a large amount of one’s protein, vitamins and minerals in a basketball nutritional diet. In particular, the secret weapon to a great game is wheat germ and brewers yeast. These items can be somewhat hard to find in an average market. However, most health food related shops will stock them. In general stores which concentrate on nutritional supplements might also have either item. It’s important to look for it fresh rather than in a capsule though, to ensure maximum potency.
Two tablespoons of wheat germ combined with two tablespoons of brewers yeast will actually fill most of one’s nutritional requirements and deliver a boost of energy. One will probably want to mask the taste though, so it’s a good idea to mix it with milk. This will also serve to add additional calcium and protein to one’s diet. If one adds in an orange and banana, the mix can be tossed into a blender to create a drink that one could basically live on.
However, there’s still going to be some aspects of nutrition which need to be taken care of. The iron and protein issue will be helped by the shake, but it will still need additional sources mixed in. Eggs and beans can be good sources of both. It’s quite easy to scramble or boil eggs, and both can serve as important aspects of a day’s nutrition. So what’s a good example of a nutritionally packed meal that will lead one to peak performance on the court?
One should start the day with the shake containing fruit, brewers yeast and wheat germ. Traditionally, scrambled eggs are a good breakfast food. One could have a serving of scrambled eggs, and then add any additional items for the enjoyment factor. For lunch, a great way to eat well on the go is to make some boiled eggs in advance and bring them along in a zip locked bag to ensure there’s no odor. When one gets home at the end of the day, another shake can prove a powerful boost for the rest of the day. When dinner arrives, the vast majority of one’s nutritional requirements have already been met. While red meat has a somewhat bad reputation, in moderation it can be one of the absolute best sources of iron. The protein it provides is fairly significant as well. A nice juicy burger or steak can be a fantastic way to end the day and serve as a nice reward for doing so well with the rest of the nutritional needs.
An important aspect of measuring things out this way is that the heaviest meal is later in the day when one isn’t moving around as much. Through the earlier hours one is keeping the stomach at a fairly even state. One isn’t too full, nor is one too hungry. It’s that balance in a basketball diet which will keep a player able to keep their performance up at top level for the greatest amount of time. This is also one of the reasons for not concentrating too much on any one aspect of nutrition for breakfast, lunch or a snack. It’s all about providing the body with a normal nutritional level it can learn to expect. When one is really working with one’s body, it’ll learn to use things provided to it on a set schedule. This too will ensure that one can last at top form for longer periods of time. It’s all about building up and maintaining endurance.
Lastly, there’s a question about where one should purchase everything. In general, the actual food items can all be found at any general supermarket. It can help to look around for the best prices, and see if there’s any discount cards available. One common mistake people make is in assuming that price means quality. Plants are plants, and often times by looking around a bit one can find them at cheaper prices in smaller stores around town. The brewers yeast and wheat germ might also be found in a supermarket. The big box stores can be a good source, since they try to meet as many different needs as possible. Health food related stores will also often have both available to simply scoop into a bag, which can mean savings over a longer period of time. One might find themselves needing to order it online though.
A blender is essential for mixing the fruits, milk, brewers yeast and wheat germ together. As long as one is careful about cleaning the blender after each use, it’s not overly important to look for a deluxe or high powered model. Oranges and bananas are soft enough that even a fairly under-powered blender bought from a supermarket should work perfectly. Parents, one thing to think about your young basketball player is never too young to have a healthy basketball diet. When I played at Davidson College and professionally overseas, I stuck to a strict basketball diet, if I didn’t I wouldn’t have been able to perform at such a high level.