An athlete’s diet should provide the appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals to maintain
optimal athletic performance. Fruits and vegetables contain their highest nutritional value when
they’re in season, which maximizes the quality of vitamins and minerals in your meal plan.
Seasonal produce helps you naturally diversify your diet and gives your body the fuel needed to
thrive in each season of the year.
Farm to Table Freshness
Freshness is more of a guarantee when you stock up on fruits and vegetables at your
neighborhood farmers’ market. Local farmers can afford to pick their produce for consumption
because it quickly goes from farm to table. The produce is harvested at peak ripeness, so its
nutrient density is higher and therefore more flavorful than its out-of-season counterparts.
Fueling for the Season
When you eat seasonal foods, your body receives the proper fuel for each season. It’s a natural
way to diversify your diet to maintain a healthy microbiome and support your immune system all
year long. In the fall and winter, we indulge in heavier dishes like sweet potatoes, soups, and
casseroles to keep us warm as temperatures drop. It’s no accident that citrus fruits peak in the
dead of winter. As primary sources of Vitamin C, citrus fruits boost immunity to fight off the
cough you caught one cold day at practice. Come spring and summer, lighter, sweeter, juicier
plates become more popular. Produce may contain higher water content for extra hydration as
you sweat in the summer sun.
Diversify Your Diet
Use seasonal ingredients as your inspiration for meals that excite you. If you’re lacking
inspiration, here are a few suggestions to incorporate into your diet as an athlete each fall:
Dates contain high amounts of potassium, magnesium, fiber, calcium, and iron to push you to
your limit. Dried dates are an exceptionally easy on-the-go source of nutrients, as they provide
energy and alleviate muscle cramps during sustained performances.
Cabbage has a low-calorie count yet is packed with an extensive profile of vitamins and
minerals, like Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B and Folate. This combination naturally boosts
your immunity and flushes out your gut to reduce inflammation and accelerate your workout
Beets have an impressive nutrient portfolio that promotes blood flow, lowers blood pressure,
and increases stamina. The complex carb make-up of beets makes this vegetable is great
pre-workout and post-workout duel for any athlete, especially endurance athletes.
Cranberries aren’t exclusive to Thanksgiving dinners. These berries are a great
anti-inflammatory and source of manganese, stabilizing blood sugar levels by metabolizing
glucose. In short, cranberries are a smart addition to your pre-workout smoothie or morning
oatmeal before practice.
Mushroom varieties are available all year round, but varieties’ peak seasons last from fall to
winter. Fall mushrooms usually contain healthy doses of copper, which helps the absorption of iron, and selenium, which enhances cognition. These vegetables make tasty additions to your
soups, pasta sauces and breakfast omelets.
For more guidance on improving your diet, schedule an appointment with our registered dietician, Alisha Parker.