New routine means new eating habits for athletes

Posted on March 24, 2020 by

Our day-to-day routines and schedules play a huge role in determining what and when to eat. So when training schedules & energy demands change, it’s important for athletes to check in with their dietitian to reassess if current intake is appropriate and to apply nutrition strategies to suit the new demands.

Right now there is major disruption to almost everyone’s daily routine. That means it’s worthwhile to pause and look at what you are eating so that your diet habits are suiting the lifestyle and circumstances you’re in.

This may include considerations for less training, less incidental activity, more time at home and greater food abundance at home.

Your new routine will likely be very different from what you usually do. Its ok to be different and flexible to suit the day ahead of you to align intake with the amount of activity you are doing.


If you are doing less activity you should be eating less food

For some athletes consuming less won’t come easily as eating habits with high training loads are ingrained.

Continue to have healthy balanced meals, including regular lean protein, wholegrain and high fibre carbohydrates, plenty of fruit and vegetables and limiting processed and packaged food. Timing, quantity and sources will play a role in effectively managing your nutrition to fuel performance.

Below are some points to consider to maintain consistency in your eating habits while at home more than usual.


8 ways to manage diet when working from or more time at home


1. Focus

Think about what your outcome or focus is. It might be to stay healthy, have a strong immune system, maintain muscle mass or stay well mentally. This motivation will help to drive and guide your food choices when food is in abundance.

2. Plan

Having a plan for meals and snacks, and knowing what you might eat over the day will keep you in control of what you eat so bad habits don’t creep in.

3. Structure

Setting the times of when you will eat allows you to determine if you are eating because it is time to nourish your body or if you are simply bored or emotional.

4. Don’t use food to escape

Thinking about what to eat, eating it and then pondering if you should have eaten it can be an easy distraction. If you need to have an escape from what you are doing, take a break. It doesn’t mean you have to eat to justify taking that break. Try instead some non-food-related breaks, for example run up and down some stairs, do some sit ups, read a book or call a friend.

5. Awareness

Having some awareness of what you are eating is important so you don’t lose track of what you have consumed. Prepare and put meals on a plate, sit down to eat, turn the television off rather than eating right out of the box or fridge.

6. Be creative

With more time you can introduce flexibility and variety in what you eat. Take the extra time you have in the kitchen to cook or prepare a meal, roasting vegetables, trying new recipes or cuisines.

7. Timing meals

There’s a difference between grazing and structured snacking. Picking at a mouthful of something every hour or so might not give you enough protein and may be acting to pop up blood glucose levels. This could mean your digestive system doesn’t really get a rest. Instead have a balanced snack which will satisfy the body more and have longer breaks between meals to be eating every 3-4 hours if activity if low and every 2-3 hours if activity is high.

8. Be independent

If others in your house are eating something outside of main meals that may not suit your focus then its okay to decline. Try not to eat food just because its there.


Guide your home food choices with thought, focus and planning. Get creative, don’t use food as escapism or let others in your household affect your personal nutrition.


Receive nutrition information from NSWIS

Sign up to the weekly eNewsletter from the NSW Institute of Sport, which includes the latest nutrition blog from the NSWIS Nutrition Team. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.

No Comments

Leave a Reply