The 9 Best Foods for Athletes

Sure, carbo-loading's important—but for top-notch performance, it's just part of the story. Supplement your training with these healthy eats that will help you build strength, sustain energy, and recover faster.

The 9 best foods for athletes     Photo: Shutterstock/Stefano Pareschi

The market is flooded with foods and supplements marketed toward fitness fanatics—if you use the term "food" loosely, that is. From energy gels to protein powders to meal-replacement bars, you can find something packaged and processed (and usually, quite pricy) for every type of athlete, whether you're an endurance runner or a power lifter. 

Eating for athletic performance, however, shouldn't just take place after the gym or right before a big event. It's something you should be conscious of at every meal and every snack, say sports nutritionists Barbara Lewin and Jill Pluhar, and your strategy should involve more whole foods and natural nutrition than the factory-manufactured kind. Here, 9 of their favorite eats for athletes, and tips on how to make the most of their nutritional benefits.   

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