Sports nutrition, what to eat?

A well-balanced diet is recommended for the entire population. This is even more true when one practices a lot of sport, whether on a regular or more intensive basis. Let’s see together the best foods to add to your special sports nutrition menu.


L’importance des repas pour les sportifs


Food meets a vital need of our organism which is represented from the first floor of Maslow’s pyramid. The diet will be different for each individual according to his or her lifestyle.

Sports nutrition is specific in the sense that the body requires more energy than a person who does not practise sport.

Some people forget to eat well, yet eating properly allows your body to perform better during exercise.


The food, the fuel of your body


More than just food, what is on your plate is real fuel for your body and for your workouts. So don’t neglect the different types of ingredients. Here are the different categories of food to make sure you organize your meals well..




There are 7 food categories:

— Seasonal vegetables and fruits;

— Starchy foods;

— Fats and oilseeds;

— Milk and Cheese;

— Sweet products, in small quantities ;

— Water and low-sweet drinks.

To adopt good sports nutrition, these 7 categories must be included in your daily diet, some in good quantities, others in moderation.

Fruits and vegetables provide you with many essential vitamins for good health. Dairy products and cheese provide you with calcium, which is especially good for your bones.

Not all fats, which should be used in moderation, are bad. Fats, which should be used sparingly in your diet, especially oils (olive and nut oils), are excellent for your health.

Sweet products should not disappear from your daily diet either, unless a specific diet forces you to do so. Treating yourself from time to time helps to keep your spirits up and keep you motivated.


Drink enough water when doing sports: hydration is essential.


Water is also an essential element that your body needs to function well and to achieve optimal recovery after sport. Water impacts the muscle component of your body, as well as your skin and brain.

Your body’s water needs can vary depending on the frequency, intensity and duration of your effort. Practicing sports should encourage you to always have a drink nearby. The sensation of thirst occurs when dehydration has already started: don’t wait until you feel the need, your body will be better!

Discover our articles on the best food and drinks for athletes

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Proteins and carbohydrates at the heart of sports nutrition


For optimal nutrition, here are the items to be added to your menus first.


Carbohydrates, essential for the practice of sport.




This is nothing new, as sports nutrition places carbohydrates at the centre of the diet. The proportion of carbohydrates needed by a sportsman or woman is higher than for a sedentary person. Favour complex sugars to give your body long-term energy. Pasta, rice, bread and potatoes provide resources that will be distributed throughout digestion, ideal for training and better recovery.

Starchy foods will help you feel less exhausted, which usually occurs within the first hour of your workout. On the contrary, a boost of energy will allow you to surpass yourself.

Prefer complete starchy foods. Rather than ready-made foods, it is possible to buy wholemeal flour to prepare your recipes.


Protein, for balanced meals.


Proteins are also to be favoured in sports nutrition.


Opt for animal proteins




Many pieces that are often overlooked can be delicious when cooked well, such as blood sausage, which is very rich in iron.

Fish and shellfish (mussels, clams, cockles, shrimp or seaweed) are all foods that we don’t always think of, yet they are beneficial to our health.

Fish provides many nutrients, so prefer fresh fish and occasionally treat yourself to smoked fish, for example. Don’t forget eggs, which can also provide good protein.


Vegetable proteins


Many vegetable proteins exist and can be good complements to animal proteins for a perfectly balanced diet. Vegetable proteins are mainly found in foods such as kidney beans, soy and some “fortified” drinks..


Iron is worth its weight in gold in nutrition and especially in sports.


While these foods provide iron, you will also find this valuable nutrient in dark chocolate. It is up to 99% cocoa, but the taste is bitter and will not suit every palate.

You will also find iron in other foods such as:

— almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and other oilseeds;

— spinach (cooked rather than in salads);

— legumes in general (beans, chickpeas, etc.).

Discover our articles on the best nutrients for sport

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Avoid foods that are difficult to digest


Foods that are likely to ferment could disturb your digestion, especially during exercise. This is why it is best to avoid including them too often in your diet. You should also avoid overly rich dishes eaten in winter, such as those with sauces. These will not provide your body with the right nutrients and will be difficult to metabolise.

Therefore, opt for lighter dishes, while making sure to include items from the different food classes on your menu.

Good nutrition is mostly a matter of common sense and good habits. Don’t hesitate to try foods that seem new to you if they can provide you with good nutrients. Adopting correct sports nutrition is not so difficult and allows you to stay at the top of your game on a daily basis!

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