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Optimal Nutrition for Triathlons and Triathletes

Sundowner Sprint Triathlon

Being healthy is a lot more than the absence of obvious diseases or “not being sick” – it’s about having a vitality and energy that allows us to achieve everything we want out of life. Healthy living starts with optimal nutrition & healthy eating…

We all know that ‘nutrition’ is anything we eat or drink, but what about optimal nutrition? Optimal nutrition can be defined as a diet that supplies all the required nutrients for tissue maintenance, repair, and growth, without excess energy intake. It is a healthy diet that contributes to our present and continued good health, and also gives us the enjoyment and social aspects of eating food.

Food is the most powerful drug we can take! Healthy nutrition recognises the major impact our diet has upon our lives because what we eat affects our mood, our immediate health, levels of energy, long term health, sense of wellness, the vitality of our body, our ability to fight disease, and our longevity – to name a few! A focus on good nutrition is one of the best things you can do for yourself now, and in the years to come.
With hundreds of different foods, and thousands of ways of combining them, not to mention the multitude of tastes we all have, it is evident that the ‘perfect diet’ doesn’t exist! However, there are some guiding nutritional principles that will allow you to make positive healthy choices to improve your nutrition, as well as your life…

 Nutritional principles for a healthy diet:

  • A balanced serving of protein, carbohydrate, and ‘good’ fats in each meal and snack
  • At least 5 servings of whole vegetables per day
  • 2 servings of whole fruit per day
  • Carbohydrates that contain a low glycemic index
  • Lean cuts of meat (organic is best)
  • Fish at least twice a week
  • Low or zero amounts of added sugar and salt
  • Organic or unprocessed foods are superior to chemically altered or highly refined foods
  • Avoid smoking
  • Only include a low level of saturated fat – the ‘bad’ fat
  • Include a moderate level of unsaturated fat – the ‘good’ fat
  • Consume 2-3 litres of water (preferably filtered or purified) per day
  • Moderate your alcohol consumption
  • Eat slowly and at a table without distractions
  • Avoid pre-packaged convenience foods and prepare meals in your own home more frequently than you eat out
  • Ensure you eat enough, starting with breakfast, but don’t overeat to excess

Getting the balance right to lead a healthy lifestyle may be a challenge at first but the benefits far outway the initial challenge!