Many athletes who pay attention to the fuel they put in their bodies at meal times tend to eat clean, likely without realizing that they're doing so. Athletes who eat simple meals, such as grilled organic chicken with broccoli and carrots over brown rice, and eat frequently to fuel and recover from workouts follow some of the principles of clean eating.
The clean eating lifestyle emphasizes the consumption of whole foods in as natural a state as possible, suggests cutting back on processed foods, and recommends eating well-balanced meals and snacks 5 to 6 times a day to avoid huge spikes and drops in blood sugar levels.
As long as athletes avoid most bottled sauces, salad dressings and other prefab convenience foods with added chemicals, sugars and preservatives, preparing nutritious, clean meals isn't very hard or time consuming. Clean eating can be hard to commit to when hunger strikes and you're unprepared—for example, when you're heading to the gym after work and forgot to pack a snack—or when you're racing and need a quick energy boost. Here's a list of packaged snacks with the cleanest ingredients, and suggestions for quick clean eating snacks that you can pack in your to-go bag.
Packaged Training and Race Fuel With Clean Ingredients
According to die-hard clean eating devotees, mass-produced, packaged convenience foods go against the tenets of the lifestyle. But life happens, and the time and energy demands that come with balancing work with training, taking care of yourself and your loved ones sometimes make it too hard to make all of your food from scratch. Everybody has those days, so when you need to grab ready-made nutrition, look for products made with as many wholesome, recognizable ingredients as possible. Here are some suggestions:
Bars: Good for pre- and post-workout fuel
*Pure Organic Fruit and Nut Bars
*Glenny's Fruit and Nut Bars
*Amazing Grass Green SuperFood Bars