Ultimate Recipes For Combat Athletes
Healthy Eating Habits For The Combat Athlete
Generally speaking, most combat athletes realize that what they put into their mouths while training for competition has a great effect not only on weight but energy as well. The majority of athletes, short of the heavyweight category, have to closely monitor the type of food they are consuming.
Personally speaking, I walk around at a training weight of 142-146, but when competition is shortly (5 weeks or less), I lean down to 132-135. In this article, I will go over a few recipes that give an example of healthy eating habits for an athlete.
Out of experience, I have found some basic, important factors for an athlete to follow when trying to stick to a good diet. Depending upon your family structure (kids/wife), and your budget (eats out a lot/can’t afford it), there are some simple pointers I can offer.
I’m going to explain this in a not-so-technical manner, but still, give you a basic idea of good eating habits and a better understanding of what you’re consuming. First things first: READ LABELS! One thing commonly overlooked is the label/nutritional facts and what they mean. Granted, there is a lot of information on the label, but as an athlete, there are a few things that stand out.
Check for calories first. To put calorie consumption into perspective, I know that to burn 100 calories, at a body weight of 142, I need to run a 10-minute mile. So eating a few pieces of licorice from my kids’ Easter basket is truly not worth the one minute of pleasure, because, to me, that equals 10 minutes/100 calories of pain! Not all fat is bad, but too much fat is!
Check the fat content and try to keep each meal to a minimum of nine grams per meal. Next, check the amount of carbohydrates, which fuel your energy stores. Your body will take carbohydrates and store them for when you need them (which turns into fat when not used).
When trying to lose weight, monitor the amount of carbohydrates to consistently burn what is consumed and dip into stored carbohydrates for energy, causing weight loss. Look at the amount of protein, which feeds the muscle. Carbs feed your fat/energy stores; protein feeds the muscle, making it very important to take in enough, so as not to break down what we are trying to build up.
Sodium content is another important variable, especially close to fight time. Sodium makes you retain water. The last thing I do before weigh-ins is dry out, if I am eating excessive sodium, my body will hang onto the water. Last but not least, and commonly misread, is the SERVING SIZE.
If you pick up a can that says it has 60 calories, you are assuming that’s what you’re getting, but check the serving size. More times than not, the serving size will be 2 or 2.5, which means you’re getting 120-150 calories. It truly defeats your purpose if you don’t educate yourself on labels and what they mean to your diet.
Note that most of the recipes that I have provided will take a minimum of 5-10 minutes and are simple to prepare, and the ingredients are easy to find. Now that we have a basic layman’s knowledge of how to read the nutritional facts on labels, let’s get cooking.
Mini Foccacia Rounds
Bridgford Parkerhouse Rolls
Serving Size 1 roll Calories Fat 1.5g Carbs 30g Protein 5g
Virgin Olive Oil
Serving Size 1 tbsp Calories 140 Fat 14g Carbs 0 Protein 0
Serving Size 1/4 cup Calories 30 Fact 0 Carbs 2g Protein 5g
(Note the sodium content of 430 mg, if water retention is a concern)
Serving Size 2 tsp Calories 20 Fat 1.5g Carbs 0 Protein 2g
1 medium Calories 25 Fat 0 Carbs 5g Protein 2g
- This is a quick and easy recipe that even the most basic cook can make.
- Take a Ziploc sandwich bag, and add 1 tbsp of Virgin Olive Oil.
- Add the desired number of dough rolls, straight from the freezer.
- Add fresh garlic, thyme, basil, oregano, or any Italian spice for taste.
- Squish the mixture around so the rolls are covered with oil and spices.
- Leave alone in a warm spot for approximately 30 minutes to an hour, or until the dough has thawed. The dough will rise slightly.
- Next, heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Take out each roll, and smash it down into a circle, it doesn’t have to be pretty.
- Next take a freshly sliced tomato-thinner is better-place it on the dough.
- If you want to add protein, take a pinch of clams and spread it over the tomato.
- Finally, add a pinch of Romano or fat-free Parmesan cheese on top.
- Place in oven and bake until the side/bottom is light brown.
Tuna Salad (sans mayo!)
Lettuce (ice, green or red leaf)
The two items above contain minute calories and can be included in your diet without affecting the overall calorie content. They still provide small amounts of minerals and vitamins, as well as fiber.
Serving size 1 can=2.5 Calories 150 Fat 1.5g Carbs 0 Protein 39 g
- Fill a plate with chopped lettuce, top with green onions, and 1 can of water-packed tuna, well-drained.
- Top with 2 Tbsp of homemade Balsamic, Honey Mustard, or Garlic dressing.
- If you are using the Balsamic dressing, add 2 tsp of Romano cheese.
- Take a standard cruet that you would mix up a salad dressing with.
- Fill up to the “v” with vegetable oil (1 tbsp=120 calories/14 g fat/0 carbs/o protein).
- Next, add Balsamic Vinegar up to the “o” line (1 tbsp= 10 calories 0 fat/2 carbs/0 protein.
- Finally, add a packet of Good Seasons Dry Italian Dressing Mix.
- Shake and refrigerate, so it thickens up a bit.
- Fill standard cruet up to the “v” with Seasoned Rice Vinegar (vons 24 ounces/$3.99)(1 tbsp= 20 calories/0 fat/5 carbs/o protein.
- Add mustard to the “w” line (1 tsp= 0 calories/0 fat/o carbs/o protein).
- Finally, fill up to the “o” with Fat-Free Mayo (1 tbsp= 15 calories/o fat/2 carbs/o protein).
- Add 1 packet of sweet and low or NutraSweet, a pinch of dill, garlic, and pepper to taste.
- Shake well and refrigerate.
- Fill the cruet up to the “w” line with Fat-Free Mayo (See above**).
- Add Seasoned Rice Vinegar to the “o” line (see above).
- Add 2 tbsp free garlic and 2-3 packets sweet and low or Nutrasweet.
- Shake well and refrigerate.
Mixed Chicken Veggies with a low-carb wrap
Foster Farms Breast Tenders
Serving size 3 tenders Calories110 Fat 1 g Carbs 0 Protein 25 g
Farmers Harvest Veggies
Serving size 1 Cup Calories 25 Fat 0 Carbs 4 g Protein 1 g
La Tortilla Factory Torts
Serving size 1 tort Calories 60 Fat 2 g Carbs 12 g Protein 5 g
Serving Size 1 C cubed Calories 50 Fat 0 Carbs 17 g Protein 0
Serving Size 1/4 medium Calories 50 Fat 0 Carbs 17 g Protein 0
- Take your chicken straight out of the freezer, and place it in a skillet with 2 tbsp of water and a pinch of fresh garlic to taste.
- Cover and let the chicken cook thoroughly, turn occasionally, and add more water if it evaporates.
- The water is a substitute for oil and will steam the chicken accordingly.
- When the chicken is white all the way through, add your vegetables and cover, turning off the heat.
- Let sit until veggies have softened.
- Heat wraps in the microwave if you prefer, then place chicken and veggies in a wrap or eat individually.
Cream Cheese Grapes
Green/Red or Black Grapes
Serving Size 1 Cup Calories 100 Fat 0 Carbs 25 g Protein 0
Fat-Free Cream Cheese
Serving Size 2 Tbsp Calories 35 Fat 0 Carbs 2 g Protein 5 g
- Wash grapes thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Place grapes in the freezer for approximately one hour.
- Before serving, take cream cheese out of the refrigerator and let soften, or if you’re in a hurry, place it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
- Stir the cream cheese into the bowl of grapes.
- The cheese will adhere to the grapes.
- Keep stirring so it gets evenly distributed.
- Place grapes back into the freezer to let cheese harden or serve now.
Serving Size 1/2 Cup Calories 10 Fat 0 Carbs 0 Protein 1 g
Fat-Free Cool Whip
Serving Size 2 Tbsp Calories 15 Fat 0 Carbs 3 g Protein 0
- Prepare according to the instructions on the box and you have a pre-made, overlooked, simple dessert that is readily accessible for the bad craving days!
I Can’t Believe This Isn’t Bad Mousse
Serving Size 1/2 Cup Calories 80 Fat 0 Carbs 8 g Protein <1 g
Fat-Free Cool Whip
- Prepare according to the instructions on the box, (make sure to use Fat-Free Milk).
- When the Pudding firms a bit, add 1/2 container of the Cool Whip and stir thoroughly.
- Separate and mix evenly into six glasses, topping with a minimal amount of the leftover Cool Whip.
- This recipe is great to try with different flavors.
- Chocolate tends to be very rich, while vanilla is lighter.
- A strawberry for garnish also adds an “Ultimate” invitation to devour without guilt!