Many people find it overwhelming and challenging, especially when it comes to picking the healthiest, most nutrient-packed foods at the best price. But don’t stress! I’ve put together the Ultimate Grocery Guide for Triathletes to help you shop SMARTER and FASTER.
As a sports dietitian, I believe that nutrition is the fourth leg of triathlon. You have to swim, bike, run, and eat. My passion is to set you up for success now and in the long term, not just a quick fix. The grocery guide provides the foundations to help you structure your shopping trip to get all the things you need as an endurance athlete.
1. Go in with a plan
As a triathlete – your nutrition differs from the general population – you can’t throw anything in your trolley and hope for the best.
Make a choice for health and performance because nutrition is the make or break when it comes to a good training block or a bad one.
The number one tip for navigating the supermarket is to go in with a plan. Have you ever been hungry while shopping? You end up putting all these things in your cart that you don't need because you're starving. So, before heading to the store, make a list of the things you need, know your budget, and stick to it. Going in with a plan will save you time, money, and help you make informed, smart decisions.
2. Don't be afraid of carbs
Don't hate on Carbs!! Carbs are your friend, especially if you're an endurance athlete. They are the primary source of fuel for your body, and you need to understand how much you need for the different types of training days/sessions so you harness their amazing power to support your training program.
So, don't be afraid to add some carbohydrate foods to your cart, such as rice, pasta, noodles, couscous, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, legumes, fruit, dairy products, crackers, muesli bars, and raisin toast.
In the Ultimate Grocery Guide for Triathletes, I offer specific brands to guide you in making better choices.
3. Include protein in your diet
Protein is crucial for muscle repair and recovery. As a triathlete, you need to consume enough protein to support your training program and aid in recovery. But the amount you eat and the timing of when you eat them is key.
Some protein-rich foods you can add to your cart include lean meats, fish, eggs, tofu, tempeh, legumes, dairy products, and protein bars.
Notice I didn’t say protein shakes or supplements? It's easy to meet requirements from real food!
4. Don't forget about healthy fats
Despite being an essential part of your diet, healthy fats still get a bad rap! They are nutrient rich and help reduce the inflammation produced by training stress. Focus on consuming the good types and minimising the bad fats. Some healthy fats you can add to your cart include nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil and oily fish like salmon and tuna.
5. Read labels carefully
When shopping, it's important to read labels carefully to understand what's in the food you're buying. Colourful packaging, deceptive claims and hidden ingredients can confuse even the savviest shopper.
Look for foods that are minimally processed and have minimal added sugars, salt, and saturated fats. Avoid foods that have a long list of unpronounceable ingredients and confusing health claims.
6. Shop around the perimeter of the store
The perimeter of the store typically has fresh produce, dairy, and meat sections, which are the foundation of a healthy diet. You can find most of the nutrient-packed foods you need in these sections and avoid the processed, packaged foods in the centre aisles.
7. Eat the rainbow
Eat a wide variety of fruit and vege (of all colours) to ensure you're ticking all the boxes when it comes to the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Going into the supermarket with a plan, choosing carbohydrate foods, protein sources, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and hydration options are all essential elements to create a nutritious and dietitian-approved meal plan.
Grab my Ultimate Grocery Guide for Triathletes - it's an excellent resource for triathletes looking to shop SMARTER and FASTER. Available today for FREE - download your copy HERE.
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