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Published on December 21, 2021

holiday meal on a plate

5 Holiday Myths for Athletes

During the holidays, it can be hard to find ways to stay within your athletic goals but still enjoy your favorite meals.

Here are some myths that may influence how you enjoy your holiday season and what you can do instead.

Myth No. 1: Eating Desserts Will Ruin My Athletic Performance

Desserts are something to enjoy during the holidays and will not ruin your athletic performance. However, be mindful when you enjoy these desserts.

Desserts that have higher amounts of fat will give you more gut distress. What’s important is that you continue to focus on the performance plate during the holidays.

Myth No. 2: I Should Skip a Meal So I Can “Save” Calories for a Big Holiday Meal

Skipping meals can affect how you feel the next day. If you don’t consume enough one day, you can feel sluggish the next day.

That might lead to less energy for your workout or practice. It is better to go through your day with regular meal consumption so your muscles can recover from a previous workout.

It is also important to remember that feeling a little overfull is OK. Enjoy the food and time with family and friends. This is much better for your performance than restricting food and feeling poorly the next day when you return to practice or have a workout.

Myth No. 3: I Don’t Need Workout-Related Meals Because I Ate So Much

Calories from one day do not carry over to the next day. Everything resets.

It is better to go back to your routine the day after a holiday. Pre- and post-workout meals are necessary for proper fuel during a workout and recovery after the workout.

Myth No. 4: I’ve Been Grazing All Day So I Can Skip a Meal

Snacking and grazing can be such an easy thing to do during the holidays. Families usually have lots of snacks out while people wait for the big holiday meal.

When snacking, remember to grab items that contain protein, such as nuts, seeds or cheese as you enjoy your favorite carbohydrate-heavy snacks.

It’s important to remember to stick to regular meals before the holiday meal.

Myth No. 5: It’s a Holiday, I Can Eat Whatever I Want – It Won’t Count

Even though it may be a holiday, it is still important to have a balanced meal. It is still recommended to follow the athlete performance plate. To review, this includes:

  • Having ⅓ of your plate being color
  • Having ⅓ of your plate made up of protein
  • Including ⅓ of your plate with carbohydrates

An example could include turkey, white potatoes or sweet potatoes, some type of vegetable (green bean hot dish or a salad) or fruits. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert!

All food is good food in moderation.

Don’t forget: the holidays are meant to be fun and enjoyable, not something to dread. Focus on spending time with family and friends and having a good time. One meal will not make or break an athletic performance.

Happy Holidays! Learn how to achieve your goals all year long.

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