EATING HEALTHY EVERY DAY
    Due to concerns about weight control, some wrestlers choose to skip meals or excessively
    restrict their daily food intake. Those practices can be detrimental to their health, as well
    as academic and athletic performance. In order to maintain the high energy levels
    needed for their intense workouts, wrestlers need to eat a healthy, balanced diet on
    a daily basis. If wrestlers make food choices that are high in carbohydrate, low in fat, with
    moderate amounts of protein, they will be able to eat a healthy, balanced diet without the
    need to be overly concerned about weight.
    Carbohydrates can be in the form of “complex” carbohydrates or “simple” carbohydrates.
    Complex carbohydrates are found in breads, grains, and cereals. Simple
    carbohydrates come from foods containing refined sugar such as pop and candy,
    and from foods containing natural sugars such as fruit. Getting sugar from natural
    sources, such as fruit, is preferable to candy and pop because it will satisfy one’s
    sweet tooth while providing the body with nutrients and fluid at the same time.
    Energy from carbohydrates is converted into glucose. Glucose provides immediate, short term
    energy. Unused glucose is converted into glycogen and stored in the muscles or liver,
    or converted to fat and stored as fat tissue. A variety of high carbohydrate foods must be
    eaten every day to ensure one is getting a variety nutrients necessary for peak
    Wrestlers should understand it is impossible and undesirable to eliminate all fat from
    one’s diet. While excessive fat is unneeded and contributes greatly to weight gain or the
    difficulty in losing weight, fat is needed for many of the body’s processes which are
    essential to athletes. Fat content in foods can occur because of naturally occurring fat
    or fat that is added. By eliminating excess fat, but not eliminating all foods containing fat,
    a wrestler can maintain or lose weight while still being healthy.
    The following practical ideas for high carbohydrate, low-fat, moderate protein foods are
    provided to assist wrestlers, their parents and coaches in choosing appropriate foods.
    Drink at least one 6-ounce glass of your favorite juice
    Drink at least one 8-ounce glass of water
    Bagel, English muffin, or whole-wheat toast spread with peanut butter and topped with a
    sliced banana, or jam
    Bowl of cold or hot cereal with low-fat milk, topped with fresh fruit
    English muffin, or whole-wheat toast spread with jam
    French toast, pancakes, or waffles topped with low-fat yogurt, applesauce, syrup, or jam
    Fresh or canned fruit
    Homemade milkshakes made with low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, and fruit
    Leftover vegetable pizza
    Poached egg
    Stir cold breakfast cereal into low-fat yogurt
    Drink at least one 8-ounce glass of water
    Drink at least one 8-ounce glass of low-fat milk
    Whole-wheat or pita bread with turkey, chicken, lean roast beef, or lean ham, and Swiss
    cheese, and vegetables. (Tomatoes, green peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, onions,
    and sprouts are all great!)
    Tuna or chicken salad sandwich with low-fat mayonnaise.
    Baked potato topped with low-fat sour cream, mozzarella cheese, salsa, or skim milk
    Vegetable pizza
    English muffin topped with pizza sauce and melted cheese
    Chicken noodle soup
    Fresh fruit
    Graham crackers
    Vanilla wafer
    Pudding made with low-fat milk
    Low-fat yogurt
    Always include at least one serving of vegetables and fruit with lunch
    Drink at least one, 8-ounce glass of water
    Drink at least one, 8-ounce glass of low-fat milk
    Baked potato with low-fat topping
    Baked turkey, white meat without skin
    Bread, muffins, or rolls
    Broiled chicken, white meat without skin
    Brown or white rice
    Cooked vegetables
    Instant pudding made with low-fat milk
    Lean beef or pork
    Oriental stir fries with rice
    Pasta with tomato sauce or low-fat meat sauce
    Tortillas with low-fat refried beans and salsa
    Tuna-noodle casserole made with water packed tuna
    Drink at least 1 8-ounce glass of water with your snack.
    Air popped popcorn Low-fat yogurt
    Animal crackers Low-fat pudding cups
    Bagels Low-fat fruit bars
    Baked snack crackers and cheese Oatmeal cookies
    Blueberry muffins Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
    Chicken or turkey sandwich with low-fat mayonnaise Pretzels
    Fresh fruit Pudding pops
    Fruit Newtons String cheese
    Fruit bread Vanilla wafers
    Fruit bars Vegetables and dip
    Ice milk or frozen yogurt
    Meats: The following meats are low in fat and have approximately 120-150 calories, per
    3 ounce serving.
    Lean roast beef
    Lean ham
    Lean ground beef - (Rinse ground beef to reduce the fat content)
    Skinless, white chicken
    Skinless, white turkey
    Water-packed tuna
    When cooking meat, it should be broiled, baked, or grilled to keep the fat content to a
    minimum. Choosing leaner cuts of meat will help in keeping the fat content low.
    Breads: The following breads have approximately 50-100 calories per serving.
    1 biscuit 5 saltine cracker squares
    1 slice bread 1-6" corn tortilla
    ½ English muffin 1-4" pancake
    ½ hamburger or hot dog bun 1-4" waffle
    1 dinner roll
    Adding butter, mayonnaise, or margarine greatly increases the calorie content.
    Honey, jam, or low-fat peanut butter are a better choice.
    Calorie content of various spreads:
    Butter (hard) - 34 calories per teaspoon Margarine - 34 calories per teaspoon
    Butter (whipped) - 27 calories per teaspoon Mayonnaise - 33 calories per teaspoon
    Catsup - 10 calories per teaspoon Mustard - 4 calories per teaspoon
    Honey - 21 calories per teaspoon Peanut butter - 31 calories per teaspoon
    Jelly/jam - 17 calories per teaspoon
    Fruits and vegetables vary greatly in calories, but they are all low in calories compared
    to most other foods. They are also fat free, with the exception of avocados, unless they
    are topped with margarine, butter, or high calorie dressings. They are very high in
    Baked potato with low-fat toppings
    Bean or chicken burrito
    Cheese or vegetable pizza
    Chicken sandwich, with low-fat mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, or honey mustard
    Roast beef sandwich
    Side salad with low-fat dressing
    Skim Milk
    (Refer to the fast food handout for additional ideas.)
    Animal crackers Low-fat chocolate milk
    Fruit Low-fat bean burrito
    Fruit bars (ie. Fig bars) Nutri Grain bars
    Granola bar ( not chocolate covered) Pretzels
    Juice boxes String cheese
    Low-fat yogurt V-8 juice

    LOW-FAT MENU IDEAS FOR WRESTLERS (Serving sizes indicate one serving from that food group)
    Milk Meat Vegetable Fruit Grain
    Breakfast Choose 1 Choose 0-1 Choose 0-1 Choose 1 Choose 2-4
    8 oz. low-fat milk 4 oz. peanut butter 6 oz. tomato juice 6 oz. fruit juice 1 bowl cold cereal
    1 slice Swiss/Amer. cheese Poached egg 6 oz. V-8 juice 1 cup raw fruit ½ Bagel
    8 oz. Low-fat choc. milk 1 piece fruit ½ English muffin
    Leftover cheese pizza ½ cup canned fruit 4" Pancake
    8 oz. low-fat milkshake 4" Waffle
    8 oz. low-fat yogurt 1 slice whole wheat toast
    8 oz, blended milk/fruit beverage (equals 1 milk + 1 fruit) 1 slice cheese pizza
    1 oz. Swiss, cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby cheese ½ cup hot cereal
    Lunch Choose 1 Choose 1 Choose 1-2 Choose 1 Choose 2-4
    8 oz. low-fat yogurt 3 oz. water packed tuna ½ cup canned veg. 6 oz. fruit juice 1 slice bread
    8 oz. low-fat milk 3 oz. roast pork 1 cup raw veggies 1 piece fruit pita bread
    1 slice Swiss/Amer. cheese 3 oz. Lean roast beef 1 med. baked potato 1 cup raw fruit ½ hot dog or
    8 oz. low-fat choc. milk 3 oz. lean ham ½ cup mashed potato½ cup canned fruit hamburger bun
    ½ cup ice milk 3 oz. chicken or turkey 6 baby carrots 1 dinner roll
    1 oz. Swiss, cheddar, (skinless) Spaghetti sauce 5 saltine crackers
    Monterey Jack, Colby 3 oz. broiled/baked fish 1 - 6" flour tortilla
    cheese ½ cup pasta
    Snack Choose 1 Choose 1 Choose 1 Choose 0-1 Choose 2-4
    Yogurt 4 oz. peanut butter 6 oz. tomato juice 6 oz. fruit juice ½ English muffin
    8 oz. low-fat milk 3 oz. lean ham 6 oz. V-8 juice 1 piece fruit ½ bagel
    1 slice Swiss/Amer. Cheese 3 oz. chicken or turkey 6 baby carrots 1 cup raw fruit 1 slice whole wheat toast
    8 oz. low-fat choc. milk (skinless) 1 baked potato ½ cup canned fruit 5 saltine crackers
    ½ cup ice milk 3 oz. water packed tuna 1 - 6" tortilla
    1 oz. Swiss, cheddar, 1 bowl cold cereal
    Monterey Jack, Colby cheese
    Supper Choose 1 Choose 1 Choose 1-2 Choose 0-1 Choose 2-4
    8 oz. low-fat yogurt 3 oz. water packed ½ cup canned veg. 6 oz. fruit juice 1 slice bread/pita bread
    8 oz. low-fat milk tuna 1 cup raw veggies 1 piece fruit 1 - 6" flour tortilla
    1 slice Swiss/Amer. cheese 3 oz. Lean roast beef 1 med. baked potato 1 cup raw fruit ½ hot dog/hamburger bun
    8 oz. low-fat choc. milk 3 oz. lean ham ½ cup mashed potato½ cup canned fruit 5 saltine crackers
    ½ cup ice milk 3 oz. chicken or turkey 6 baby carrots 1 dinner roll
    1 oz. Swiss, cheddar, (skinless) Spaghetti sauce 3 slices veggie pizza
    Monterey Jack, Colby 3 oz. broiled/baked fish (equals 1 milk, 1 veggie,
    cheese 3 oz. roast pork 3 grains)
    ½ cup pasta
    TOTAL SERVINGS 4 3+ 3-6 2-4 8-16
    NOTE: To maintain hydration drink at least one, 8-ounce glass of water with each meal and snack.
    Wrestlers may not often think about pre-competition meals because of early morning
    weigh-ins. After they have “made weight,” they often eat anything that is available and
    worry about the consequences later! By following these guidelines and those in “EATING
    HEALTHY EVERY DAY” wrestlers will find it easier to fuel their performance and control
    their weight.
    Here are some basic guidelines for eating before competition.
    Avoid foods high in salt as they cause water to leave the muscles where it is needed it
    to aid performance.
    Drink at least two, 8-ounce glasses of water with your meal.
    Eat 3 - 4 hours before competing.
    Eat familiar foods that will not cause indigestion.
    Eat foods that are high in carbohydrate and low in fat and protein.
    Keep the pre-competition meal small.
    Food ideas for after weigh-in:
    Drink at least one 8-ounce glass of water
    Bagels, English muffins, or toast topped with peanut butter and jelly or fruit
    Cold or hot cereal with low-fat milk
    Fresh fruit
    Fruit juice
    Low-fat yogurt
    Pancakes topped with fruit
    Waffles topped with fruit & low-fat whipped topping
    Ideas for pre-competition meals:
    Drink at least one 8-ounce glass of water
    Baked potato topped with salsa or other low-fat topping
    Bread, muffins, rolls topped with honey, jam or other low-fat topping
    Broiled fish
    Cooked vegetables
    Fresh or canned fruit
    Fruit juice, unsweetened
    Lettuce salad with low-fat dressing
    Low-fat milk
    Pasta without meat sauce
    Rice, white or brown
    Skinless, white chicken or turkey
    Any breakfast ideas are also excellent choices for pre-game.

    It normally takes your body 24 - 72 hours (1-3 days) to convert complex carbohydrates into
    useable forms of energy. Eating a high carbohydrate meal 15-30 minutes after
    exercise, and definitely within 1 hour after exercise, can reduce the amount of time
    needed to convert carbohydrates into useable glycogen to as little as 12 hours (½
    Foods and drinks to consider as post-competition, or post-practice, snacks are:
    Fresh fruit
    Fruit juices
    Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
    Sports drinks
    Carnation Instant Breakfast
    If an athlete chooses to drink only fluids immediately after exercise, a high carbohydrate
    sports drink, may be the best choice. These drinks are not high protein “weight gainers,”
    but high carbohydrate supplements. A high carbohydrate meal should be consumed
    within two hours of competition.
    Following competition, avoid foods high in fat and sodium as both will cause weight
    gain over the next few days due to water retention.

    Every day our body loses about 10, 8-ounce cups of water through normal body
    functions. These ten cups do not include what we lose through sweat during exercise! To
    maintain optimal performance, it is essential to replace the water that is lost.
    The advantages and disadvantages of replacing fluids by drinking various beverages are
    listed below. The beverages are also ranked in order of preference, with water being the
    beverage of choice. With the exception of water, beverages consumed should contain
    nutrients (vitamins and minerals) the body needs for performance.
    Beverages consumed within an hour prior to exercise, or during exercise, should not
    contain more than a small amount of sugar and should always be caffeine-free.
    The most essential nutrient for athletes.
    Is necessary to release energy from other nutrients.
    Should always be readily available.
    Sugar and fat free.
    SPORTS DRINKS - should contain no more than 70 calories per 8-ounce serving
    Designed for events lasting more than one hour in duration.
    Electrolytes from sports drinks may be needed during times of excessive fluid loss or
    during two-a-day practices.
    May cause more fluid to stay in the muscles during exercise.
    Most contain the optimal amount of sugar for use during exercise, no dilution necessary.
    Taste may cause people to drink more than they would with plain water.
    Apple, orange, and cranberry juices are highest in sugar and should be avoided within one
    hour of exercise.
    Provides many nutrients.
    Sugar content should be diluted if used within one hour prior to exercise, or during
    Good source of carbohydrates, calcium, and other nutrients.
    Great beverage for pre-competition meal, 3 - 4 hours prior to competition.
    Milk does not cause cotton mouth.
    Carbonation may cause stomach upset in some athletes.
    Contains no nutrients.
    Even diet, caffeine-free pop has many added substances that need to be digested which
    may slow the rate of fluid absorption by the body.
    May contain caffeine which increases urine loss & risk of dehydration.
    Regular pop contains high amounts of sugar.
    NOTE: An athlete should drink at least 10, eight ounce cups of these
    beverages each day!

    During all-day tournaments it is important to stay energized throughout the entire
    day without feeling “weighted down.” That necessitates athletes “grazing”
    throughout the day by eating, and drinking, small amounts frequently. It is extremely
    important for athletes to drink an adequate amount of fluids during a tournament.
    Energy and fluid needs can be met by drinking juices and sports drinks. Energy needs can
    also be met by eating easily digested foods that are also high in complex carbohydrates.
    Time period between events: Best foods to eat:
    1 hour, or less Water or sports drinks containing
    no more than 70 calories per 8
    ounce serving.
    1 - 2 hours Water, sports drinks, unsweetened
    fruit juices, vegetable juice, fruit such
    as apples, oranges, watermelon, or
    2 - 3 hours Water, sports drinks, unsweetened
    fruit juices, vegetable juice, fruit such
    as apples, oranges, watermelon, or
    grapes, bagel, whole-wheat
    bread with jam, muffin.
    3 - 4 hours Water, sports drinks, unsweetened
    fruit juices, vegetable juice, fruit such
    as apples, oranges, watermelon, or
    grapes, bagel, whole-wheat
    bread with jam, muffin, bread with
    peanut butter or cheese, bowl of
    cereal with skim milk, low fat yogurt.
    4 hours, or more Any of the above, or lean meat
    sandwich, or pre-competition meal.
    Examples of foods to eat at a tournament include:
    Animal crackers
    Bagels with jam
    Fresh fruit
    Fruit bread
    Fruit bars (ie. Fig Newtons)
    Graham crackers
    Low-fat fruit bars
    Low-fat yogurt.
    Low-fat pudding cups
    Oatmeal cookies
    Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
    Popcorn, air-popped
    Sports drinks
    String cheese
    Turkey sandwiches with low-fat mayonnaise

    Eating a healthy, balanced meal at a fast food restaurant can be a challenge for anyone.
    Wrestlers may think it is impossible for them to eat fast food without gaining weight. In
    reality, there are choices at fast food restaurants that can fit into a wrestler’s diet
    plan. While fast food should not be the mainstay of anyone’s diet, by following the ideas
    given below it is possible for wrestlers to occasionally eat fast food.
    Here are a few ideas to help ensure a lower fat content in fast foods.
    Avoid mayonnaise and special sauces on sandwiches.
    Avoid fried items such as fish, chicken, chicken nuggets, French toast sticks, and french
    Choose Swiss cheese as it is lower in fat than American.
    Don’t add gravies to foods.
    Don’t order foods with extra cheese or bacon added.
    Drink low-fat milk.
    If you have no choice but to order fried foods, remove the skin as it contains large amounts
    of fat.
    Order salads with low-fat dressing.
    Some food preparation methods can also help keep the calorie content from getting too
    high. Low fat cooking methods include steaming, roasting, poaching, broiling, baking, and
    cooked in its own juice.
    The following is a comparison of high fat and low fat meal choices.
    Low fat choices High fat choices
    Bagels Bacon
    English muffin with jam or honey Hash rounds
    Hot or cold cereal Sausage & egg sandwiches
    Orange juice
    Pancakes with syrup, but little butter
    Low-fat milk
    Toast with jam

    Low fat choices High fat choices
    Baked entrees Any deluxe sandwiches
    Broiled meat Chicken nuggets
    Low-fat bean burrito Crispy shell Mexican dishes
    Chef or side salads with low fat dressing French fries
    Grilled lean hamburgers w/o special sauce Fried chicken
    Grilled chicken w/o mayonnaise Hot dogs with cheese/chili
    Lean meat sandwiches Nachos Supreme
    Low-fat milk Sandwiches with cheese
    Low-fat yogurt cones Whole milk
    Pizza with thin or hand tossed crust
    (Avoid pepperoni, sausage, extra cheese)
    In summary, while everyone should be careful when eating at fast food restaurants to avoid
    foods high in fat content, wrestlers must be very careful. There are healthy choices to be
    made at fast food restaurants and being prepared ahead of time will help in making good

    Sodium is a mineral essential for good health and athletic performance. For
    optimum muscle functioning during exercise, one’s body must have the proper
    balance of sodium and water. However, too much sodium can lead to fluid
    retention because extra sodium requires additional water for dilution. Fluid
    retention results in weight gain and impaired athletic performance.
    Excessive amounts of sodium in the body can be caused by consuming too much
    sodium in one’s diet or through fluid loss, especially by sweating. If this lost fluid is
    not replaced, it increases the sodium concentration in one’s body. This triggers the
    thirst response which is why one usually drinks more water during exercise. If the
    body is deprived of water it becomes dehydrated. In a dehydrated state the
    muscles cannot contract properly and are fatigued more easily.
    According to the National Research Council, 1100 to 3300 milligrams of sodium per
    day is adequate. Most Americans consume 2-6 times that amount! Sodium is most
    commonly found in table salt. A teaspoon of salt contains approximately 2300
    milligrams of sodium.
    Follow these hints to reduce sodium in your diet:
    1. Avoid the salt shaker! Salty food is an acquired taste. After 2-3 months without
    the salt shaker, it won’t be missed.
    2. Eat foods whose label’s state “unsalted,” “no salt added,” “without added
    salt,” or “low sodium” often. Be careful of foods stating they have “reduced
    sodium” because they may have started with extremely high amounts of sodium.
    3. Eat pickles, ketchup, mustard, and special sauces sparingly as they often
    contain high amounts of sodium.
    4. Eat processed foods like ham, bacon, and sausage sparingly.
    5. Eat sparingly of foods listing salt or sodium as one of the first items on the
    Here is a list of the sodium content in ten common foods:
    Food Milligrams of sodium
    Dill pickle, whole 928 mg
    Tomato juice, 6 ounces 658 mg
    Low fat cottage cheese, ½ cup 459 mg
    Italian dressing, 2 Tbsp. 300 mg
    Corn Flakes, 1 cup 281 mg
    Potato chips, 1 ounce 216 mg
    Instant pudding, ½ cup 161 mg
    White bread, 1 slice 129 mg
    Skim milk, 8 ounces 126 mg
    Cocktail peanuts, 1 ounce 118 mg

    There is nothing a wrestler can eat between the time of weigh-in and his first match
    to compensate for a poor diet and drastic weight loss during the days before a
    match. The handout titled, “Nutrition Ideas for Wrestlers: Eating Healthy Every Day,”
    contains ideas about what wrestlers should be eating on a daily basis to keep their energy
    levels high. The key to having adequate energy to wrestle effectively is to eat a
    healthy, balanced diet every day.
    Between the time of weigh-in and competition it is extremely important for wrestlers to drink
    water, a sports drink, fruit juice, or vegetable juice. Recent research has shown drinking
    fluids as little as 30-60 minutes before exercise will improve performance.
    Here are some ideas of what wrestlers could eat and drink between the time of
    weigh-in and competition. Those wrestlers who will wrestle within 60 minutes after
    weighing in should limit their intake to fluids, probably sports drinks and water.
    apple peaches
    apple juice pears
    banana sports drink
    grapes vegetable juice
    orange water
    orange juice yogurt, sweetened
    It is also important for wrestlers to eat high carbohydrate foods which will quickly replace
    the energy used during practice or competition. Within 15 - 30 minutes after practice, or
    a match, wrestlers need to eat to replenish their fuel supply.
    Examples of foods to eat immediately after exercise are:
    angel food cake pretzels, especially low sodium
    bagels raisins
    bananas rice cakes
    carrots Rice Krispies*, with low-fat milk
    Cheerios*, with low-fat milk Shredded Wheat*, with low-fat milk
    corn bread or muffins sports drinks, especially high carbohydrate
    Corn Flakes*, with low-fat milk (These may cause stomach upset if one
    graham crackers is not used to drinking them.)
    Grape Nut Flakes*, with low-fat milk watermelon
    grapes wheat cracker
    low-fat, fruit yogurt white rice
    orange juice white or wheat bread with honey
    pineapple or pineapple juice
    potatoes; baked, instant, or mashed * = brand name product
    By eating these same foods between matches during a tournament, wrestlers can keep
    their energy levels high throughout the day.
    Especially after practice or competition, avoid foods high in fat and salt. Both of
    these will cause weight gain over the next few days due to water retention.
    It is also very important for wrestlers to drink plenty of water during and after workouts, and
    during tournaments. Lack of water reduces physical and mental performance much
    more quickly than lack of food. Drinking during the day at school, before workouts,
    during and after workouts, and during tournaments will help prevent wrestlers from
    becoming dehydrated.