Eat Like The Pros Do This Major League Baseball Opening Day
Calling all baseball fans! Opening Day for Major League Baseball (MLB) is today. Players on your favorite team have been preparing all spring for their time to shine in the April sun. That means they’ve also been paying close attention to how the foods they eat can impact their performance and recovery on and off the field. It’s easier than you think to eat like a big leaguer when you choose lean proteins like chicken.
When it comes to success in reaching goals, whether health or performance-related, there’s one thing fans, to those involved in little league on up to the pros all have to do; master what it takes to build a balanced plate.
Eat Like a Pro Step #1: Build a Balanced Plate
While everyone’s plate may look slightly different based on cultural, budgetary and personal preferences, the balanced plate of a major leaguer is most likely made up of four key areas according to the MLB:
Foods that Fuel: Whole grains and other healthy carbohydrates, like potatoes, give the body energy to fuel your day and benefit performance.
Foods that Build: Lean sources of protein (think chicken) are important for repairing and building muscles.
Foods that Prevent: Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that protect against disease.
Foods that Protect: Modest amounts of healthy fats (like nuts and olive oil) protect the heart and the brain and can help decrease inflammation throughout the body.
Let’s take a deeper dive into foods that build. When we think about these types of foods, one nutrient comes to mind that can support muscle health, endurance, performance and recovery over the MLB season which generally consists of 162 games – and that’s protein. To eat like a pro, know that protein is an important nutrient for active people of all ages and fitness levels because it has a range of important roles in the body.
Eat Like a Pro Step #2: Meet Your Protein Needs
Protein needs for active people are typically greater than those of non-athletes. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for athletes, depending on their activity level. For the average big leaguer who is said to be roughly 207 pounds, that’s about 113 to 188 grams of protein per day.
For most of us, the recommended daily value of protein is 50 grams per day. However, even people who are recreationally active people may need extra protein to help their bodies recover from the stress of training. Research suggests those folks would benefit from equal amounts of protein throughout the day. For most, this is approximately 20-30 grams at meals and, if snacking, a little less with snacks.
When it comes to recovery, 15 to 25 grams of high-quality protein after exercise (anywhere from 0 to 2 hours after exercise) can aid in muscle recovery and replenishment.
Eat Like a Pro Step #3: Choose Chicken
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine note that high-quality dietary proteins are effective for repairing and making new muscle in response to exercise. In fact, the International Society of Sports Nutrition specifically lists chicken as one of the best dietary sources of low fat, high-quality protein.
MLB players on teams from coast to coast also rely on meals like grilled chicken and roasted vegetables (cooked with olive oil) for replenishment after training sessions or games.
To eat like a pro, aim for incorporating evenly spaced servings of 3.5 ounces or more of protein foods (like a 3.5 ounce serving of chicken breast prepared in a healthier way) each day, to help reach any health or performance goal in mind.
A 3.5-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast that is roasted contains about 31 grams of protein. Adding a chicken breast to your post-workout meal and pairing it with healthy carbohydrates and vegetables is an easy way to get the recovery benefits that high-quality protein sources offer.
Eating like a pro may be easier than you think when you take simple approaches to building a balanced plate, powered by chicken for repairing and building muscles. Looking for recipes that go beyond brown rice, grilled chicken and vegetables while watching your favorite team? Check out some easy and tasty meal ideas here.