High Five Your Meals!

09.28.2012 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness

Jane Jakubczak MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN; Redskins Team Dietitian

Many of my athletes know the foundation of a performance enhancing diet is three well balanced meals a day. However, I often hear them ask the all-important question “What exactly is a balanced meal?”

With the confusing nutrition information that bombards us on a daily basis, it is no wonder we are unsure how to fill our plate to best enhance performance, body composition and overall health. So, I will share with WOW members what I tell my players, a balance meal is as easy as counting to 5.

Here is a simple way to ensure a balanced meal:

Make an imaginary peace sign on your plate. I like this image not only for the proper proportion of nutrients it defines but also the reminder to make peace with food. A healthy relationship with food is very important for the wellbeing of an athlete.

1. CARBS: Fill one third of your plate with complex carbohydrates. This is the foundation of an athlete’s performance enhancing diet. Carbohydrates are high octane fuel for both muscles and the brain. Without adequate carbohydrates the body is forced to use other inefficient sources of fuel, causing one to slow down, decrease endurance, hamper recovery and diminish focus and concentration.

Complex Carbohydrates include:
• Whole Wheat Pasta
• Brown or Wild Rice
• Whole grain breads, bagels, rolls
• Whole wheat crackers
• Quinoa
• Oatmeal
• Whole grain cereal
• Potatoes
• Corn

To learn more foods that fall into the grain category, click here.

2. PROTEIN: Fill one third of your plate with lean protein. Protein is essential for building muscle and other lean tissue, keeping your immune system strong which helps fight off cold, flu and other infections, and keeps your stomach feeling full for a longer period of time.

Lean Protein includes:
• Skinless Chicken Breast
• Fish: Salmon, Tuna, Tilapia, Cod
• Skinless Turkey Breast
• Lean Beef: 93% lean hamburger, Sirloin Tips, Top Round (to learn how to choose lean beef, visit click here)
• Eggs
• Dried beans and lentils such as black beans, kidney beans or garbanzo beans (hummus) (to learn more about this category of protein, visit click here)
• Nuts and Seeds
• Soy: Tofu, Tempeh, edamame, etc.

To learn more food that fall into the protein category, visit:

Check out the WOW Nutrition Corner next week for the next three steps on how to high five your meals, focusing on fruits, vegetables and dairy.

“High-Five” to all the WOW members this week for striving for a balanced meal!

Leave your nutrition questions below and the Redskisn team nutritionist will answer them in an upcoming post!

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