The beautiful proverb “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” shows that our stomach plays an important role in our body.
Every one of us knows it: If unpredictable things happen or we are excited, then the stomach rebels.
“It’s not good to work on an empty stomach,” is another saying which has some truth to it as well. Because it indicates that without food you also can not perform.
And probably everyone knows it: Especially when competitions are coming up, stomach problems are particularly likely to occur. But even in everyday (training) life, problems like this are anything but rare.
In this blog you will learn what a stomach-friendly diet for athletes can look like!
Your stomach can digest food better if you spread several meals throughout the day.
If you think you won’t get your desired number of carbs in a workout day unless you eat a huge serving of pasta, eat one more snack instead.
For example, (sports) bars such as our
PORRIDGE BARs, which fit in any jacket pocket, are very well suited for this purpose.
Also, take your time eating and chew thoroughly. Your food as well as your beverages should be consumed neither too hot, nor too cold.
If you do the cooking for yourself, it is best to use gentle cooking methods, i.e. those that are low in fat and roasting substances, e.g. steaming, stewing, blanching or cooking in foil. Use only small amounts of fat when preparing food.
Natural fried foods are preferable to breaded meat and fish dishes. Vegetables are often better tolerated by the stomach when cooked and thoroughly chopped, as opposed to eathing them raw.
Bread and baked goods that are at least one day old are more digestible than fresh baked goods.
All food groups can and should be eaten. Depending on tolerance, of course, also dietary fiber should also be included – but there is a chance that this might upset the gastrointestinal tract. Find out how to integrate fiber into your daily training routine in our Rest day blog.
The following is a list of dietary options for each food group that are easy on the stomach and those that are better left alone during stressful times.
Eggplant, fennel, carrot, pumpkin, chard, parsnip, parsley root, beet, celery, asparagus tips, spinach, rutabaga and zucchini are alleasily digestible vegetables.
Avoid hard-to-digest and flatulent vegetables, e.g. cabbage vegetables (including white cabbage, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale) leeks, olives, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, sauerkraut, savoy cabbage, onions; as well as spicy vegetables: radishes, legumes such as beans, peas and lentils.
Easily digestible fruits are ripe, low in acid and fresh. This includes apples, pears, bananas, strawberries, raspberries and melon. Also easier to digest are cooked and strained fruits.
Avoid unripe, sour and hard to digest fruits, such as citrus fruits, avocados and stone fruits (e.g. cherry, apricot, plum).
Toast, rusks, and crispbread are often well tolerated, as are most fine-crumb whole-grain breads, especially sourdough breads made from rye flour, and bread and rolls from the day before.
However, it is better to avoid coarse whole-grain breads, wheat products and high-fat pastries (e.g. croissants, doughnuts), as these put more strain on the digestive tract.
Well digestible side dishes are rice, pasta, boiled potatoes, soaked or cooked cereal products from semolina and rice, as well as polenta and millet. Oats and cereal flakes are equally well tolerated.
Sounds logical, but should be said again: avoid high-fat preparations (such as fried potatoes) or sauces (such as mayonnaise).
Prefer low-fat, cooked cuts of meat (e.g. chicken or turkey breast fillet), as well as low-fat fish: trout, pollock, plaice or cod
It is better to avoid high-fat meat (e.g. pork belly), raw meat and strongly spiced, smoked or cured sausage (salami, liver sausage, bacon). You’d also better not use breadcrumbs when preparing it.
Kitchen herbs such as parsley, dill, basil, rosemary, as well as cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg and salt (in moderation) are recommended.
However, it’s best to avoid horseradish and hot spices such as pepper, curry and chili.
You won’t like reading or hearing it: Limit your alcohol consumption, because it is and remains a toxic poison. If you notice that coffee, for example as a latte, causes discomfort, then do without it as well.
As described at the beginning of this article, stomach issues mainly arise in situations in which we are excited and/or under particular stress. And that is of course very often the case with athletes.
Be it an intense session or a competition: we are excited, which can already worry the stomach. Added to this is the physical stress to which our gastrointestinal tract is exposed during athletic exertion.
It is therefore crucial to pay special attention to stomach-friendly nutrition during such intense training and/or competition phases.
That’s why we place the utmost focus on top compatibility in our sports nutrition products, even at high dosages. To achieve this, we avoid artificial additives, which only put unnecessary strain on the stomach, and instead focus on high-quality ingredients containing a high percentage of natural fruit.
You will find Mango in our GEL 40 and in the RECOVERY 8. Coconut water in POWER CARB HEAT contains coconut water and POWER CARB contains pineapple. The POWER CARB shakes are therefore also the favorite drinks of many of our top athletes.
By the way: HERE you can read more detail on how to avoid gastrointestinal problems in competition.
You may find that you personally don’t tolerate even some of the here recommended foods – after all, every person, every athlete is different.
So feel free to try it out and draw on your individual wealth of experience. A food diary is often helpful here.
If you have found a diet that is easy on your stomach in everyday life, then you can start the next competition feeling at ease!
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V. (DGE) (2021): Angepasste Vollkost. 3. Auflage.
Hauner, H. et al. (2019): Leitfaden Ernährungstherapie in Klinik und Praxis (LEKuP). Aktuelle Ernährungsmedizin 44: 384-419.
Höfler, E.; Sprengart, P. (2018): Praktische Diätetik. Grundlagen, Ziele und Umsetzung der Ernährungstherapie. 2. Auflage Stuttgart: Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH.
Kluthe, R. et al. (2004): Das Rationalisierungsschema 2004 des Berufsverbandes Deutscher Ernährungsmediziner (BDEM) e. V., der Deutschen Adipositas Gesellschaft e. V., der Deutschen Akademie für Ernährungsmedizin (DAEM) e. V., der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Ernährungsmedizin (DGEM) e. V., des Verbandes der Diätassistenten – Deutscher Bundesverband (VDD) e. V. und des Verbandes der Diplom-Oecotrophologen (VDOE) e. V.. Aktuelle Ernährungsmedizin 29: 245-253.
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