March is National Nutrition Month, but I bet you didn’t know it is also National Deli Meat Month.
OK, I can hear you asking, “How can deli meats be a healthy choice for swimmers?”
One of the biggest obstacles to healthy eating for busy athletes and their parents is time: time to shop, time to cook, and time to eat. Enter deli meats. They are convenient, pre-cooked, and packed with protein. There are many options at the deli counter that are low in fat, low in sodium, and even some that are American Heart Association certified. In addition, some selections are organic and grass-fed.
For swimmers, I suggest focusing on the beef options like roast beef, London broil, top round, eye of round, or pastrami. A 3-ounce serving of roast beef has 21 grams of protein and 6 grams of fat. Twenty grams of protein is recommended as a recovery dose after a hard workout, so a roast beef sandwich is a tasty way to get replenishing protein. Beef is nutrient-rich, containing the minerals iron and zinc in a more bioavailable form than is found in vegetables, grains, or beans. Beef is also a good source of vitamin B12, needed for making healthy red blood cells and nerve cells.
Here are some easy and quick ways for using this prepared meat to boost good nutrition:
Disclosure: I was at a sponsored conference that served beefshi at lunch, but I was not asked to write about it or paid to do so.
Christine Rosenbloom is a registered dietitian, sports nutritionists, and nutrition professor emerita at Georgia State University. She welcomes questions from swimmers, parents and coaches at firstname.lastname@example.org.