Eating a healthy diet; you know it’s the right thing to do. When peak performance is the goal, we must choose foods wisely. You wouldn’t feed junk food to a million-dollar racehorse or put cheap fuel in an expensive sports car. Yet many of us don’t give much thought to what we put in our mouths and how it might affect our body chemistry. As challenging as it is, eating right can be even more difficult on the road. Usually, there are not as many opportunities to shop or prepare meals. So, we often rely on restaurant and fast-food menus.
Most fast food and diner food is high-calorie and laden with fat and sugar. Fat comes in the form of fatty meats, hamburgers, shakes, fried foods, gravies, ice cream, and rich desserts. Aside from the fact that it contains more than twice as may calories as protein or carbohydrates, saturated fat tends to sludge up the bloodstream, impairing blood circulation and oxygen transport. I’ve seen the effects in fellow bandmembers who go on stage after a high-fat meal. They’re often lethargic and forget their parts.
Sugar is fine when it comes naturally in fruit. It provides quick energy. But when it comes in a large dose (nine teaspoons in twelve ounces of regular soda) it can play havoc with blood sugar and actually impair energy. The key is to make sure you are hydrated with water. An exception to the rule is after an exhausting, high-energy show when your muscle cells are screaming for sugar. To maximize recovery, consume a carbohydrate-rich sports drink or a high-glycemic food or drink such as fruit juice or an energy bar.
It is possible to eat healthy at fast-food restaurants. Major chains now offer healthy menu options. For example, instead of a Whopper with cheese try a grilled chicken sandwich, a veggie burger, or chicken salad. Instead of a bacon cheeseburger, have a classic burger and salad or a baked potato with broccoli and cheese (no butter). An important rule is to think vegetables and fruits at every meal. They are the superstars of nutrition.