Anyone who lives an active lifestyle needs to eat well. Yet, it can be difficult to know what exactly to eat to keep up your energy levels for longer. Here are some of the best types of food that every athlete should look to include in their daily intake.

The Best Foods for Athletes to Eat

Salmon and Tuna

Fish in general is highly recommended for athletes, due to the amount of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids that they contain. Salmon is an especially popular option, as it helps to reduce inflammation and cleans arteries too.

Tuna is another terrific fish for athletes to add to their diet. Canned tuna is extremely easy and convenient, as well as containing lots of protein, vitamin B12, potassium, and more. It also helps to improve muscle tone and efficiency.

Watermelon and Grapes

NFL and NBA stars are among the best-prepared athletes on the planet, and it is no coincidence that they consume a huge amount of fruits every week. For example, watermelon is perfect for refreshing you on a hot day, with its high-water content and antioxidants providing the perfect mixture.


Grapes are also refreshing and contain lots of valuable antioxidants. They are easy to eat wherever you happen to be working out too, meaning that they make for a highly convenient and nutritious snack at any time of day. If you bet on sports online, like the latest SuperBowl trends, then you will see the benefits fruits like this have on pro football players.


Beans aren’t just ideal for vegetarians. They are also a great addition to any sort of meat-based diet. They contain a lot of fiber but are free of saturated fat. It is worth making room in your diet for them at least one day a week if you can.

There are plenty of different ways of eating beans too. You can add them to a stew, sprinkle them onto a salad, or eat them with rice. There are many different varieties of beans to choose from, meaning that you should never get bored of eating them once you start exploring the different types.


Most people like pasta, so it is an easy option for filling up on carbohytdrates before a big sporting event. It is something that has traditionally been particularly popular with runners, who need to build up a big store of energy before a race.

White pasta is fine in moderation but other options such as whole-wheat pasta and spaghetti squash are worth considering. It is also important to avoid eating too much pasta, as it can lead to a heavy, bloated stomach. For athletes, variety in their daily diets is essential to unlocking their full potential.



Top-class athletes who play demanding sports such as football or ice hockey need to consume a lot of calories every day. This is why they need to find healthy snacks that are packed with energy and easy to eat.

Nuts fall into this category, as they have a lot of protein and fiber, as well as healthy fats. It is a good idea to combine them with carbs, as this is a way of making the boost from the carbs last for longer.



Kids tend to hate this vegetable, but athletes love it. Broccoli is a hugely nutritious food that gives you vitamin A and C, as well as lots of fiber and calcium.

You might be surprised at how many ways there are of adding broccoli to your diet. From adding it to a sauce, to eating it as part of a salad or with pasta, this is a more versatile and enjoyable vegetable than you might have thought it to be.

Don’t let your life as an athlete become boring because of the food that you need to eat. By eating the interesting, varied foods listed above, you can enjoy the pleasure of good food while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

(Last Updated On: March 11, 2021)

Annalise O'Conner is a Registered Dietitian and Personalized Nutritionist. She is a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, teaching nutrition in the School of Public Health and APAN (Asian Pacific Islander American Network) Email: [email protected]