top of page
  • Writer's pictureStefanie Rock

Eating Healthy vs. fueling for athletes

It seems simple, just "eat healthy," right? Except, when it comes to fueling athletes, eating healthy foods doesn't mean they're fueling appropriately for performance and recovery. And when it comes to youth and teen athletes, there's even more to consider.

There's no question that salad, beef, and avocados pack a nutritional punch. But, when we're considering fueling before and between practices and games, we have to look a little closer at our choices.

Salads are a popular between game choice for many athletes: they're loaded with nutrients and typically light enough to avoid feeling too full for the next game. But...

they're also light on the body's primary source of energy: carbohydrates.

Yes, vegetables are a carbohydrate, but they don't contain the quantities necessary for performance. Since youth and teen athlete bodies can't store as many carbs as and adult; and, since they're continuously using carbs for activity and growth, they can't afford to shortchange their plate!

Instead, when there's only 2-3 hours between games, build an energy & endurance boosting salad by adding

  • pasta

  • 1/2 sandwich

  • baked potato

  • quinoa / farro / rice

  • or add a tortilla for an easy wrap


  • a small portion of chicken, shrimp, tofu, or edamame to help fuel the body's endurance

What about our healthy higher proteins & fats like beef, dairy, eggs, and avocado?

While they definitely provide essential nutrients for performance, recovery, and growth, they also take a longer time for the body to digest. And, like our veggies, they're generally extremely low in our carbohydrate energy resource.

If possible, save higher protein & healthy fat options for when the body has 4 or more hours of digestion time before activity.

Can't wait until then? Try

  • roasted potatoes with an egg and side of fruit

  • English muffin or bagel and egg sandwich with a banana

  • sliced steak tortilla wrap with carrots and cucumbers

  • salad wrap with diced avocado

  • granola and berries with 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Fueling athletes isn't about restricting foods or only eating "healthy," but rather understanding the body's digestion process to utilize foods for performance and recovery.

Need more ideas for fueling before and between games? Concerned about your athlete's energy, endurance, recovery, or growth?

Let's chat! 

Reach out here with questions to see how Rock Performance can help your athlete and family. Or check out our NEW programs designed for youth/teen athletes & busy families HERE.


bottom of page