The Meat & Potatoes of an Athletic Diet

Both meat and potatoes have been given a bad rap over the years. Red meat has been classified as a heart attack on the hoof and potatoes as pudgy pound packers. The truth is that it’s recently been verified that these foods are actually essential for athletes. Those participating in active sports or intense workout programs have different metabolisms and nutrient requirements than inactive folks, more greatly benefiting from a healthy meal of meat and potatoes.

Advantages of Red Meat

Many people have been brainwashed to cringe at the mention of red meat. It’s widely believed that red meat contains more cholesterol than other meats such as fish or chicken.

However, the meat fibers of all animals contain around the same doses of cholesterol in same-sized servings. The trick with eating red meat is to choose lean cuts because animal fat is a high storage facility for clogging cholesterol.

The reason you want to keep red meat as part of your nutritious diet is that it contains iron and zinc, two vital minerals necessary for optimum athletic output. Iron is used to strengthen red blood cells and combat fatigue while zinc is used by the body to heal wounds. You can take zinc and iron supplements, but these nutrients are best absorbed by the body when consumed in animal foods. Of course, red meat is also rich in protein, a necessity for building strong muscles.

Advantages of Potatoes

Potatoes provide a much needed portion of carbohydrates. The myth is that all those carbs in potatoes are fattening. However, carbs are not what make you fat, but an excess of calories that bulge the waistline.

Sure, there are some calories associated with the carbs found in potatoes, but a large potato provides around 200 calories from carbs, the same as a typical energy bar. The problem with energy bars and other man-made sources of carbs is that they also often include additives such as fructose, syrup, glucose, and other unhealthy sweeteners.

Potatoes also provide a good source of vitamin C and potassium giving them further nutritional value. Besides, when you eat your potatoes with the skin intact, you get a good dose of fiber. Potatoes can be a bit bland, but you can remedy this by using them in soups and salads, or topping them with healthy ingredients such as baked beans, herbs, or low-fat cottage cheese or chili.

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