Tips for combining good nutrition and physical activity
For youth and adults engaging in physical activity and sports, healthy eating is essential for optimizing performance. Combining good nutrition with physical activity can lead to a healthier lifestyle.
- Maximize with nutrient-packed foods
Give your body the nutrients it needs by eating a variety of nutrient-packed food, including whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat or fat-free dairy. Eat less food high in solid fats, added sugars, and sodium (salt).
- Energize with grains
Your body’s quickest energy source comes from foods such as bread, pasta, oatmeal, cereals, and tortillas. Be sure to make at least half of your grain food choices whole-grain foods like whole-wheat bread or pasta and brown rice.
- Power up with protein
Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle. Choose lean or low-fat cuts of beef or pork, and skinless chicken or turkey. Get your protein from seafood twice a week. Quality protein sources come from plant-based foods, too.
- Mix it up with plant protein foods
Variety is great! Choose beans and peas (kidney, pinto, black, or white beans; split peas; chickpeas; hummus), soy products (tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers), and unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Vary your fruits and vegetables
Get the nutrients your body needs by eating a variety of colors, in various ways. Try blue, red, or black berries; red and yellow peppers; and dark greens like spinach and kale. Choose fresh, frozen, low-sodium canned, dried, or 100 percent juice options.
- Don’t forget dairy
Foods like fat-free and low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, and fortified soy beverages (soymilk) help to build and maintain strong bones needed for everyday activities.
- Balance your meals
Use MyPlate as a reminder to include all food groups each day.
- Drink water
Stay hydrated by drinking water instead of sugary drinks. Keep a reusable water bottle with you to always have water on hand.
- Know how much to eat
Get personalized nutrition information based on your age, gender, height, weight, current physical activity level, and other factors. Use Super Tracker to determine your calorie needs, plan a diet that’s right for you, and track progress toward your goals. Lean more atwww.SuperTracker.usda.gov.
- Reach your goals
Earn Presidential recognition for reaching your healthy eating and physical activity goals. Log on to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition website to sign up for the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+).