A chocolate bar, a sweet pastry, cakes or savoury snacks … Athletes too are entitled to an occasional treat! Providing of course that they know how to manage their intake of such sweets. Because while it’s true that such foods have virtually no nutritional value, what can be good for the mind can also be good for the body …
“Poor management of food treats is one of the main reasons for the impoverishment of nutritional density”, explains Dr Stéphane Cascua, from Paris who specialises in sports nutrition.
This is because eating products that are high in fat can upset the dietary balance and this is incompatible with high achievement in sport.
However, this doesn’t mean eliminating such things totally from the diet. The sense of psychological well being such foods bring should not be ignored. It is simply a matter of managing the frequency of intake.
Is that really so impossible? Not at all – you simply need to remember that cured meats and fried foods should not be eaten more than once a week. And the same is true of cakes, pastries and fizzy drinks.
So it’s entirely possible to have a little treat from time to time!
One last piece of advice: meals that are high in protein and in starch will stave off hunger pangs and the desire to snack.
Remember this when it comes to breakfast. And don’t forget to start the day with a proper meal. Breakfast should include a liquid element (tea, coffee, etc), a dairy element (yoghurt or soft white cheese), a portion of fruit and some slow-release sugars: wholemeal bread, wholegrain cereals … but with no added sugar.
And at teatime try eating dried fruit and oily nuts such as almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts.