Aug 29, 2016
From Science to Training Table: Optimal Eating Guidelines

  • Make your calories count. Eat a wide variety of foods, even within food groups and selection, to get the most vitamin and mineral bang for your buck. Some brands may also just work better for you.
  • Choose at least five colors a day (preferably each meal) for your plate, representing all the food groups on a daily basis. Include foods from the Legally Lean Guide in the Core Performance Program for bonus vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrient compounds shown to accelerate speed, endurance, and recovery from training and promote optimal health.
  • Don’t skip! Eat at least three meals and two to three snacks throughout the day to sustain energy levels, manage blood sugars, and assist with pre-workout and recovery fuel.
  • Choose wholesome and fresh foods. Whenever possible, limit additives, colorings, flavoring, and/or processing. If you have limited access to fresh and wholesome foods, go for frozen, organic, or without sauces/seasonings. The next best choice after frozen would then be canned, (BPA free), low sodium, and/or rinsed.
  • Making Wise Food ChoicesTable 5 shows specific strategies for building nutritious meals, explaining the benefits of selecting the suggested choices.

Table 1. Nutrient-Dense Food Recommendations

Choose This Instead of This Nutrition Benefit
100% whole grains such as cereals, brown rice, bread, crackers, pasta) White, processed grains, baked goods, cookies, cakes, croissants, muffins More B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and zinc; less fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium
Beverage: water, natural sparkling water, 100% fresh juice, unsweetened green tea Powdered juice or ready-to-drink juice drink, soda, energy drinks, sweet tea Less added sugar and caffeine; more vitamins and minerals in fruit juice
Fresh, frozen, canned unsweetened fruit Canned or frozen fruit with syrup, dyes, artificial colors/flavors; fruit-flavored frozen pops, candy, or treats Less added sugar; more vitamins, fiber, minerals


Fresh, frozen, canned low-sodium vegetables Canned or frozen vegetables with sauce, cheese, or in cream sauces and creamed soups Less sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol
Low- or nonfat dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese High-fat flavored yogurts, milk, or cheese Less fat, saturated fat, cholesterol
Lean protein, no skin, limited fat: chicken, turkey, eggs, lean beef, turkey/veggie burgers, tofu Processed luncheon meats: bologna, salami, frankfurters, bacon, sausage Higher quality protein, less fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol
Healthy fats such as olive or canola oil, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanut butter, avocado Butter, vegetable shortening, cashews, palm oil, margarine More essential omega 3 and 6; less saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol

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