Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Packing Gold-Medal Nutrition for the Olympics

The opening ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympics is fast-approaching. Most athletes arrive on-site weeks early in order to acclimate to the time change as well as any major differences in weather (including temperature, altitude, and humidity). Before American athletes even set foot in the host country, many - with the help of Olympic Sports Dietitians - have spent weeks not just training, but also planning what food they will take along. Olympic athletes are used to traveling for competition, but travel overseas means new challenges such as lack of familiar food and potential food safety issues. Often entire pieces of luggage are sent over with the athletes - solely filled with food. Teams bring their own chefs and dietitians to the games to make sure this good nutrition continues while there. While there is no lack of food inside Olympic Village, there is often a lack of familiar and performance-enhancing choices. The Olympics are not a time to try new things! In lieu of going out to eat, food needs to be quick, easy, and something that can be cooked inside of a hotel room in a sanitary way. Combine this with the fact that many Olympians are on a pretty tight budget (most don't have sponsors and are paying their own way) and you have some definite challenges!

Here are a few foods that the Olympians take on their travels. You might incorporate these into your own travel nutrition competition plan as well!

Cooking Equipment
Travel Water Heater
Hot Pot
Power Adaptor
Heat-resistant spatula
Can opener
Plastic or real utensils, plates, bowls

Ingredients for Meals
Tuna packets or cans
Pre-cooked chicken 
Canned chicken or salmon
Canned veggies
Canned/packed fruit
Canned beans
Jelly, jam, honey
Peanut Butter
Bread, bagels, tortillas
Dry ready-to-eat cereals
Minute rice, couscous
Instant noodles
Shelf-stable entrees (i.e. Healthy Choice)
Spices: salt, pepper, oregano, basil, rosemary
Dehydrated powdered or condensed milk
Shelf-stable boxes of milk (individual-sized if no frig in the room)
100% Fruit Juice Box
Powdered sports drink
Powdered liquid meal supplements

Ingredients for Snacks
Dried Fruit
Nuts & seeds
Bars - variety of kinds

Be Extraordinary & Go Team USA!


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