Cheerleaders sometimes overlook diet as a key component for peak performance. As with any athlete, nutrition is important for staying healthy and energized. Eating small but frequent meals and snacks about three hours apart can help cheerleaders keep a consistent energy level throughout the day. Each meal should contain a combination of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat. Some good sources of each of these nutrients are:
- Proteins: Chicken, yogurt, lean meats, milk and eggs.
- Carbohydrates: Apples, bananas, baked potatoes, pasta, rice, whole grain cereals or breads and oatmeal.
- Healthy fats: Olive oil, nuts, olives, avocado and certain types of fish, such as salmon and tuna.
When gearing up for a long practice or big performance, it is a good idea to eat a quick snack one to two hours before the event and again within 30 minutes after the activity. These snacks should contain a good amount of carbohydrates to give the active body the fuel it needs:
- Crackers with peanut butter
- Broccoli or carrots with low-fat dip
- String cheese with an apple
- Granola bar and milk
- Fresh fruit with low fat yogurt and a sports drink