Navigating the Cafeteria

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In this article, you can learn about:

  • Which areas of the cafetera to avoid.
  • Which areas to frequent to achieve your athlete goals.
  • What foods to avoid to prevent inflammation.
  • Tips for hydrating at the cafeteria.

So, you read the first article, downloaded our Grocery Guide, and are realizing which sports foods are best for athlete performance enhancement. But in your school cafeteria, you’re realizing that real food is sometimes harder to come by than you thought. We are here to help.

6 ways to maneuver any cafeteria

1. The Salad Bar

A staple in every pro athlete diet. Take some of every veggie to create a rainbow for yourself! Options may be limited, or they may have the same options each day. But a wide variety of veggies are your most reliable tool to promote recovery and help you achieve your athletic goals. However, avoid processed salad dressings that are often made with poor quality inflammatory oils (soybean, canola, etc.). Instead, opt for olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with or without a squeeze of lemon.

2. The Fried Bar

Detour. There are better options out there! These foods are cooked in vegetable oils at high temperatures. This creates lots of oxidative stress that will negatively impact your recovery. Think about these fried nuggets as little crispy pieces of inflammation that move you away from your goals and objectives.

3. The Stir Fry Bar

A great option. Alright, for a pro athlete diet, we may not 100% approve of the oil (most likely soybean or canola) being used. But with stir fry, you get a full rainbow of vegetables, a smart carbohydrate (rice), and your choice of protein. Brown rice or white rice? It depends on what you like. Although white rice is typically easier on digestion. Ask the cafe staff if they have a gluten free/Tamari soy sauce for seasoning.

4. The Entrée Section

Another wonderful option. Cafe staff typically rotate entrées each night for variety. And our favorite part? It’s almost always all real, food-based meals! There’s usually some type of grilled protein, a smart carbohydrate (potatoes and other starchy veggies), and lots of roasted vegetables. An easy go-to for anyone with professional athlete goals, for sure!

5. The Sandwich & Pizza Option

Avoid. Any protein involving processed bread is not a good source of performance nutrition for athletes. As much as possible, refrain from sandwiching your protein between processed slices of bread. Instead, reconsider bullet point #4, and be sure to load up on colorful veggies.

6. The Soda or Pop Fountain

Skip it. Rather, opt for keeping your water bottle nice and full. No pro athlete diet is complete without proper hydration. Soda is swimming with added sugars and chemicals that promote inflammation. Try swapping it out with sparkling water and a splash of real fruit juice! This will send a powerful signal to your body to promote recovery, sleep, focus, and immunity. Additionally, pure water is a no-brainer—-feel free to add in a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to it. You can also introduce healing plants into your diet by drinking convenient and organic green tea concentrates sweetened with monk fruit. We love Rebellious Tea concentrates!

Conclusion

Selecting the right foods to fuel your pro athlete diet can be tricky. However, you can reach your performance goals in sports by sticking to colorful veggies, lean proteins, smart carbohydrates, and avoiding processed, fried foods. The top 6 tips and tricks outlined in this article by SportFuel experts are sure to improve your cafeteria experience!

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