Eat Like a Boxer | The Top Fall Foods To Add To Your Plate

Eat Like a Boxer | The Top Fall Foods To Add To Your Plate

A dietitian shares the healthiest fall foods boxers should add to their plate not only to boost flavor but also to improve performance at home and in the ring.

Published: November 4, 2021

Topics: Nutrition, Wellness

Author: Carolina Schneider, MS, RD

Fall...the season where the leaves change colors and pumpkin spice lattes go out of stock. Autumn brings around seasonal foods that not only pack a lot of flavors but also a lot of nutrition. In a boxer’s diet, we recommend fueling up on high-quality carbohydrates, including starchy and non-starchy vegetables, and fruits and whole grains, which provide energy prior to a workout and aid with recovery afterward. It just so happens that a lot of our favorite fall foods are nutrient-dense, good-for-you carbohydrates, which makes them a great addition to any boxer’s meal plan.

STARCHY VEGGIES

Butternut Squash Soup

Starchy vegetables fall under the “complex carbohydrate” category and are essential for providing long-lasting energy for training, especially those high-intensity boxing and kickboxing workouts. Fall is the season for bright-orange vegetables, such as pumpkins, carrots, and sweet potatoes, which are rich sources of beta-carotene (converted into vitamin A in the body), antioxidants, potassium, vitamin C, and gut-supportive fiber.

Health benefits:

Vitamin A from sweet potatoes and pumpkin is critical for vision health and immune support (Source), while vitamin C from squash and potatoes is a potent antioxidant that supports skin health and proper immune system function (Source 1, 2). Having supple skin and a strong immune system are priorities for everyone, especially boxers and athletes, in the fall and winter.

How to incorporate into your diet:

  • Make creamy, filling soups with pumpkin, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes

  • Add frozen butternut squash cubes into a blender with banana, almond milk, almond butter, and ice for a fall-inspired smoothie

  • Make pasta-type dishes using spiralized butternut squash or spaghetti squash

  • Air-fry or bake sweet potatoes cut into strips for a healthier take on fries

  • Make stuffed acorn squash filled with a protein and veggies

LEAFY GREENS

Fall Salad

Leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, arugula, Swiss chard, and collard greens are fall staples that should be consumed year-round due to being nutrient powerhouses. Leafy greens are excellent sources of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate. Popeye was right all along--spinach and kale are awesome! In fact, just one cup of cooked kale packs more than 100% of the daily requirements for vitamin A and vitamin K (Source).

Health benefits:

Folate is a B vitamin needed for the production of healthy red blood cells, which are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout all cells, tissues, and muscles in the body (Source). Vitamin K plays a role in the process of blood clotting, which is essential for proper wound healing and bone health. Some studies suggest vitamin K increases bone mineral density in people with osteoporosis and may even reduce the rate of bone fractures (Source).

Many of the most common boxing-related injuries include broken bones, fractures, cuts, and lesions, so ensuring you have enough of these nutrients can help you recover faster and prevent injury when training and competing in boxing.

How to incorporate into your diet:

  • Add a handful of spinach or kale into your smoothie

  • Sauté Swiss chard or collard greens as a side dish

  • Add any greens to a stir-fry

  • Include spinach or kale in wraps or sandwiches

  • Toss arugula with other greens in a salad

  • Add a handful of spinach to your morning omelet

  • Top your pizza with fresh arugula or sneak greens into a lasagna or casserole

FRUITS

Figs & Cranberries With Oatmeal

Seasonal fall fruits are a great pre-workout option for boxers due to delivering natural sugars, which the body uses as quick energy to power through those punches when you’re training on the heavy bag. Fruits also offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial for boxers to recover after training, as well as water for hydration.

Health benefits:

Rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers, apples are great for gut health and digestion. They are also a source of vitamin C, which supports the immune system and helps with maintaining glowing skin. Cranberries and figs are sources of anthocyanins and other antioxidants, protecting our cells from damage and oxidative stress (Source 1, 2).

How to incorporate into your diet:

  • Fruits are very versatile!

  • Enjoy apples with nut butter for a nutritionally balanced post-workout snack

  • Blend cranberries into a smoothie for an antioxidant boost

  • Top a salad with chopped apples

  • Enjoy fresh or dried figs as a dessert

  • Start your day with apple cinnamon oatmeal

SPICES

Ginger, Turmeric, & Cinnamon Spices

What is fall without spices and some seasoning? From allspice to ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, and cumin, spices are the signature of the fall season. For boxers, spices are important not only to add flavor to meals but because they provide important health benefits that can help lower inflammation and relieve joint and muscle pain.

Health benefits:

Several studies have found turmeric and ginger to be effective at lowering joint pain and muscle pain. Some even suggest turmeric is as effective as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (Source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Cinnamon, the superstar of antioxidants due to being a rich source of polyphenols, also has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown cinnamon to be able to lower blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels (Source 1, 2).

How to incorporate into your diet:

  • Top your oatmeal with cinnamon

  • Give your hot chocolate a twist with a sprinkle of powdered ginger

  • Add fresh ginger to smoothies and green juices

  • Enjoy allspice in a warm spiced apple cider or in a pumpkin pie

  • Mix turmeric with milk for a hot turmeric latte

  • Use turmeric in curry dishes

  • Give your hummus a generous pinch of cumin

Now that you know which foods to focus on this fall, remember to incorporate them into your regular diet, trying to consume both raw and cooked forms of vegetables, making fruits a part of your pre-workout routine, and enjoying spices with warm drinks and dishes as sweater weather approaches.

To learn more about how you can enhance your at-home boxing and kickboxing training, upgrade your diet to give you the stamina and energy you need, and workouts that will get and keep you in fighting shape, visit the FightCamp YouTube Channel and Blog.

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Carolina Schneider, MS, RD

Carolina Schneider, MS, RD is a registered dietitian specializing in plant-based nutrition and wellness. She is passionate about evidence-based nutrition and educating individuals on how to eat well for good health.

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